<Where to stay, where to eat
Where to stay, where to eat in Ecuador

Hotels can range from 5 star luxury to seedy pay by the hour dives. The latter are unlikely to do much advertising, but if you are searching for a cheap place in the centre of a city, try and have a look at the other clientele.

It is possible to find furnished apartments for short and long term rents, especially in Quito.


After the Spanish conquest huge areas of land were apportioned to the men who fought and assumed control of the territory in the name of the Spanish crown. Many of these estates survived independence and remained in the hands of a few families until the 1960´s when they were broken up as part of agrarian reform. The families retained their country houses and a still substantial area of land.
Since then, several families have decided to open up their haciendas to tourism. It is possible to travel along the spine of the Andes staying in these houses, which usually offer a quite luxurious experience. Apart from the comfort, you can enjoy a sense of history, beautiful countryside and excellent food.

The haciendas on the coastal region were built as the homes for the owners of first cocoa and latterly banana plantations. Some are now open for tourists. They offer the opportunity to be immersed in a tropical ambiance, while learning about the cultivation process of these traditional products. In most cases, the owners of the haciendas themselves welcome tourists and are glad to show them around You can have a tour of the property, learn about the cultivation process and enjoy other activities such as birdwatching, horseback riding, milking cows, kayaking, canoe rides, etc.
Accommodation Listing: Haciendas

If you just want to visit a hacienda for a day you can find further options on the agrotourism page

There is not much hunting in Ecuador and it is certainly not for activities. So lodges tend to be more resort hotels in rural locations that offer comfortable accommodation and a base to explore the surrounding countryside, be it cloud forest with fantastic birdwatching opportunities, or rainforest, with its vast flora and fauna.

The most literal translation of posada is inn. Some posadas are also quite old and contain stables and various buildings. Some are newer but can usually be found in a rural location and offer very comfortable lodging.

Spa resorts
Spa (from the Latin Salutem per aqua - health through water) resorts have grown up in many countries to provide a form of hydrotherapy. You can visit for a day or stay several nights and be thoroughly pampered, receiving treatments not only with water but also with clay, aromatherapy, medicinal plants and massages.
The Ecuadorian Andes are full of hot springs which feed pools where people can swim in mineral-rich thermal waters. There are also a number of spa resorts in these areas which give an extra touch of comfort to visitors.

Cabañas (Cabins)
In some establishments you can find that all the accommodation is in individual cabins or cabañas which can range from the very rustic to quite luxurious (in which case it might be considered a lodge). Individual cabañas usually have an en-suite bathroom and are made from local materials which can help you feel a little more in harmony with the nature around you.

Hostales (Hostels)
A hostel, in the traditional sense, differs from a hotel in that in addition to private rooms it has communal dormitories. It might try to create a more communal atmosphere and organize activities and excursions. However in Ecuador, so called youth hostels are only a small part of this category and are better translated as albergues. Therefore I have grouped them under another category. An Ecuadorean hostal can vary considerably in quality and size, from those which focus on creating the communal atmosphere (more abundant in Quito and Cuenca) to those which have a dormitory and a communal space but focus on creating a more relaxed, hotel-like atmosphere to attract more mature travelers (as well as the riff-raff if they´re willing to pay a little more).

Youth Hostels (Albergues)
There aren´t many hostels in Ecuador which are limited by age. However there are some which I consider are designed for young people. That said, you´re as young as you feel so if you like bright colours, lying on cushions to watch films and plenty of noise don´t hesitate to apply.

A residencial is normally a building where a family live but which also has rooms for rent. Long-term guests such as students might reside here. In my experience they are cheap and grotty and only to be considered as a last resort, to the extent that many tourist offices don’t even mention them.

Family Stay
You can also stay with a family in their house. This can be arranged in cities, especially for those who are studying Spanish or have another motive for a long-term stay. It is most interesting if you wish to visit a small community in rural Ecuador as you gain a real insight into a way of life which is probably very different to your own.

Camping is not a particularly popular leisure pursuit in Ecuador. In the highlands you can find a few people who like to do it but in the lowlands it is almost unheard of. Camping is obviously necessary when you are trekking through the wilderness. There are a number of hostels which allow you to camp in their grounds. Otherwise, you can sometime camp outside villages, though its best to check with someone first to make sure it´s safe. You will not find a dedicated camp site or facilities.

Motor homes are yet to catch on in Ecuador. No-one has one, you cannot rent one and there are no sites to cater for them.


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