Imagine a journey that takes you from an elegant family hotel in the busy capital of Quito to the untamed depths of the Amazon rainforest. Such an adventure promises something transformative… perhaps transcendental! A change from luxury and city life to the overwhelming purity of the most biodiverse corner of our planet, in only one morning! This extraordinary journey is made possible thanks to the visionary team behind Ikala Quito Hotel, who have extended their commitment to providing the best hospitality in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon with Yacuma Ecolodge.
Hotel Ikala Quito: A haven of elegance
Our trip begins in a hidden gem in the heart of Quito: Ikala Quito Hotel. Its colonial features, the restoration of an old house, from the early republic that is combined with the modern design and dynamism of the surrounding city. Upon entering this “boutique” bubble, an atmosphere of refined sophistication is palpable at every step.
With 44 well-appointed rooms, each meticulously designed to provide the highest level of comfort, Ikala reveals its commitment to detail in space, amenities, and service. From the room windows and, above all, the terrace, you can also enjoy panoramic views of the imposing Pichincha volcano and the capital city in which history, culture, the impressive contour of the Andes and contemporary Latin American life intertwine.
Exploring the cultural treasures of Quito
Ikala’s central location in the “Floriscal” neighborhood (a contraction of Quito’s iconic northern neighborhoods, La Floresta and La Mariscal, between which the hotel is located) is an ideal base for exploring the modern side of the city. Sure, one can, in 15 minutes, walk through the historic center (UNESCO World Heritage Site); but at a much shorter distance, and on foot, you can visit emblems of art and culture such as the National Museum of Art and the Mindalae center. You can go shopping at the Artisanal Market, ideal for last-minute souvenirs, or discover the neighborhood’s many pop-up restaurants, including Chakra, a “conscious” dining experience, or Marcado el Camino, for upscale dining at affordable prices. All within walking distance from the hotel.
And now, the main course: Yacuma Ecolodge
After an immersive experience in the charms of Quito it is time for a dramatic change of environment. Your trip will continue to the green universe of the Amazon, first by car and then by canoe towards the heart of the Ecuadorian jungle.
Yacuma Ecolodge: a nature refuge
Your destination, Yacuma Ecolodge, is a charming ecolodge located on the banks of the Chontayacu River, one of many tributaries of the mighty Napo River. This excellent operation, owned by the same visionary team as Ikala Quito Hotel, offers complete disconnection from the contemporary world and immerses you in the heart of nature.
At Yacuma Ecolodge, you will find yourself surrounded by the tallest trees in the country. With rustic and comfortable cabins that blend harmoniously with the natural environment, each space is well-equipped, providing a cozy retreat after a day of intense exploration.
Encounters with a new world
Your days at Yacuma Ecolodge will be exciting from start to finish. You will explore the jungle with guides from the local indigenous communities, a variety of fauna and flora including colorful macaws, parrots, hummingbirds, playful monkeys, and mysterious caimans. You’ll embark on boat rides along winding rivers, watch stunning sunsets over the jungle, and experience the pure magic of a stretch of trees of incalculable biodiversity. Participate in cultural immersions with indigenous communities who will share with you the joys of their daily lives; return home with local crafts made with local products made by the hands of Kichwa women; participate in piranha fishing and night walks; and learn about medicinal plants from the most impressive natural pharmacy in the world.
A journey of transformation and great experiences
The transition from Ikala Quito Hotel to Yacuma Ecolodge is an experience of unparalleled contrasts, a testament to the versatility of our country as a destination, offering both urban elegance and natural beauty in its purest state. This trip offers one of the best ways to explore the diverse landscapes of our amazing country; two opposing worlds in a single extraordinary itinerary.
Text: Ilán Greenfield
Photos: Juan Fernando Ricaurte / Carlos Puga