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LATIN AMERICA ECUADOR


“Quito was the first city in the world to be named a Unesco World Heritage Site”


to their former glory. The name La Danesa refers to the Danish family that has owned and run this particular farm for the past 60 years. The original homestead dates back to 1860, but it only opened its doors to overnight guests two years ago. And with just six immaculately designed rooms onsite, it cultivates a real sense of intimacy.


RIGHT: Clients can pick their own cacao fruit and make chocolate with it at La Danesa


BELOW: Ecuador’s capital Quito is 2,850 metres above sea level


CAPITAL ADVENTURE Even in Ecuador’s concrete capital there’s greenery to be found, if visitors know where to look. The TeleferiQo gondola, for example, is one of the world’s highest aerial rides, reaching a giddying 4,100 metres above sea level. From the cool summit, on the active volcano of Pichincha, you can eye the urban sprawl that spills out of the valley and creeps up surrounding mountainsides, gradually giving way to nothing but verdant slopes topped with wispy white clouds. On a clear day, the so-called “Avenue of Volcanoes” can be seen in all its snow-capped glory on the other side of the valley. Quito has several more superlative attractions to its name. The world’s highest capital, it was


the first city in the world to be named a Unesco World Heritage Site. Its old town is one of Latin America’s best-preserved Spanish colonial cities and is awash with baroque churches, cobbled streets and wide squares lined with cafes and restaurants. Although Ecuador has made great strides in


improving public safety, petty crime remains a problem in some areas of the old town, and English isn’t always widely spoken, so it pays to book your clients onto organised tours. Abercrombie & Kent can work a number of exclusive day trips into an itinerary including weaving your own Panama hat (contrary to popular belief, it’s an Ecuadorian creation) churning your own helado de paila (a typical, fruity sorbet), honey-tasting in Quito’s botanical gardens, or visiting the atelier of a local artist. It’s easy to emulate the small scale of the hacienda in the big city too. At cosy Villa Colonna in Quito’s historic centre, there are just six rooms and uber-personal service from manager Fabrice, who is only too happy to book taxis, make restaurant reservations, or even take care of laundry. Formerly the Turkish embassy, this boutique


ECUADOR


Smarter Because of Ecuador’s altitude, it can get really cool: make sure your clients pack plenty of warm clothes and take time to acclimatise to the new elevation.


Better Ecuadorian food may not have the same prestige as neighbour Peru, but the local culinary scene is incredibly diverse. Suggest at least one ritzy, innovative Quito restaurant, such as Zazu, URKO or Terra.


Fairer Many Ecuadorians still live below the poverty line – encourage your clients to buy from local vendors wherever possible, in order to pump money straight back into the local economy.


42 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020


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