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An adventurer’s guide to Ecuador: Swimming with sea turtles to conquering volcanoes

By Bruce Poon Tip

An adventurer’s guide to Ecuador: Swimming with sea turtles to conquering volcanoes
Bruce Poon Tip is the founder of adventure travel company, G Adventures. Born in Trinidad, raised in Canada, he fell in love with travel on a backpacking trip in his 20s which inspired him to start his own company.

What three words best describe Ecuador?

Spiritual would be the first one – Delfin, who runs the homestay we stay at in the Amazon, is like a brother to me and he’ll often call me back for a spiritual cleanse. It’s like he senses it’s time!

It’s also diverse – there are so many different experiences to have in Ecuador, whether you are on the mainland or the Galapagos, which is one of the most magical (that’s my third word) and untouched places on earth.

The natural beauty of the landscapes and native wildlife which is so well protected is unlike anywhere else on earth, and cruising through the islands is an unmatched experience.

What is unique about Ecuador’s outdoor experiences?

The first tour we ever offered was to Ecuador to learn about Quechuan culture and life in the Amazon jungle with our friend and partner Delfin. To this day, more than 30 years later, we’re still working with Delfin. When you stay with him and his family you’ll experience the strong indigenous culture and connection of the local people to the land.

There is such a deep understanding of how humans can be at one with the natural world and this is woven into many outdoor experiences, like jungle hikes and riverboat trips on the Amazon and its tributaries.

Also the strong sense of community travellers will feel as they travel through the country – it really is one of the finest examples of community tourism and how to create meaningful cultural exchanges through travel.

What local dishes should people try?

Ceviche! There’s a big debate between our Ecuadorian and Peruvian colleagues at G Adventures as to which country has the best ceviche. I have a strong preference but I don’t want to bias anyone’s opinions, so I say try them both for yourself and decide!

Hidden gems to discover?

Post Office Bay on the island of Floreana in the Galapagos. It works on an honesty system, so you leave an addressed postcard and when someone visits from nearby they will take it back and deliver it! If you see one you can deliver to someone who lives near you, you do the same. The first mention of this post office is from the early 19th century and the system still works!

What are your top adventurous activities?

  • Stay with a local family in the Amazon jungle and experience a shamanic healing ceremony.
  • Take a boat trip through the Galapagos archipelago.
  • When you’re there, snorkel with the sea turtles.
  • Climb Cotopaxi, an active stratovolcano located in the Andes Mountains.
  • Zip-line or go canyoning in Baños


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