"I've paddled in Honduras, Mexico and Costa Rica.
DAK and Ecuador offer the best whitewater and scenery, the best guides
and the best cultural experience."
- Ann Halverson, IL
Ecuador is much more than a boater's Mecca. This small country, the size of Colorado, is renowned for it's colorful indigenous markets, world-class alpine peaks, rugged coastline and the Galapagos Islands. As one of the most species-rich nations on earth, Ecuador offers an incomparable glimpse into the natural environment. For those who want a birding or jungle tour, to visit the Galapagos, or to climb some of Ecuador's incredible snow-capped volcanoes, we recommend arriving before, or staying after your week of paddling. Contact Freddy Ramirez to arrange your trips. He can also assist you with tours to the Otavalo market for woolens & weavings, or a mountain bike adventure.
It is worth checking out El Monte Sustainable Lodge. Located in the cloud forests of Mindo in the western Andean slopes, it is great for birding, butterflies and hikes. Black Sheep Inn is an eco-friendly lodge. Ask about the high Andean hike to the Quilotoa Volcano. El Sani Lodge offers Amazonian tours to an indigenous jungle village and comes highly recommended.
Settled on the northwestern shoulder of South America, Ecuador lies south of Columbia and north and west of Peru. There are three major climatic zones. Starting in the west is the coastal region. Moving inland the land rises from sea level to the Sierra, the spine of the country. The tallest of many climbable peaks, Chimborazo, sits over 20,000 ft! From this continental divide, the rivers tumble down to the Oriente (the east), falling to an elevation of 2000 ft. before meandering across the continent of South American almost 2000 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. This makes for some of the most runnable, continuous whitewater found anywhere in the world!
The Ecuadorian coast shows evidence of a developed civilization as far back as 3200 BC. The Sierra and Oriente have also been settled for thousands of years. By the 14th century AD, several tribes had formed an alliance that peacefully controlled the country until the expansion of the Incas from Peru. In the 15th century the Inca Empire gained control of the area, only shortly before the arrival of the Spaniards.
The Spanish colonial period lasted through the 1700's, leaving behind a legacy still evident in the architecture of Old Town Quito. The beautifully woven tapestries and intricate embroidery found throughout Ecuador areanother legacy of the Spaniard colonists.
Combine this diverse cultural blending of Spanish and indigenous heritage with Ecuador's varied geography and climatic zones, and you have the perfect backdrop for a winter kayaking adventure. Warm weather boating, similar to early summer in California and Colorado, in remote tropical cloud and rainforests is what you can expect from your Ecuador vacation.