Ecuador’s Coffee, Chocolate and Flower “Routes”
The suggestion of Ecuador travel planners at Surtrek is to consider theme-based tours in which you will follow the most exquisite aromas and flavors of the different regions of Ecuador. These tours — called coffee, chocolate and flower “routes” — are journeys on which you will enjoy dazzling scenery while sipping a tall cup of rich South American coffee or a hot cup of chocolate with its fine cocoa aroma. You can visit the best rose plantations in the world and marvel at colorful orchids growing in the fields of this wonderful little South American country – recognized as one of the most diverse in the world.
ECUADOR’S COFFEE ROUTE
Ecuador is one of the countries that produce and export excellent quality coffee, though in small amounts for exclusive niche markets, particularly those in Europe. The different ecosystems of the country allow this fruit to be grown in several regions of Ecuador, even in the Galapagos Islands. Growers in this country specialize in varieties such as “Arabica Lavado,” Natural Arabica, Caturra and Robusta coffees, which are highly valued for their quality, aroma and of course their taste.
Given all this, what better is there than to follow the aroma of one of the finest coffees in the world to understand the land where it’s grown? Various “Coffee Routes” run through the different regions of the country, each designed to inform travelers about the process of planting, growing, producing and marketing this product.
These Ecuador travel tours are designed so that they can be enjoyed in every sense. In most places these include visits to farms, ranches and coffee communities, allowing the traveler lose themself in the greenery of fields, involve themselves in the process and, of course, taste the different varieties of coffee. Promoted by local governments, these tours also allow you to experience the dining culture and cuisine generated around this product, in addition to permitting you to discover the human side of an activity that employs more than 100,000 families in Ecuador.
Some of the Ecuador travel destinations where coffee tours are organized include the following:
THE CHOCOLATE ROUTE
Cacao seeds are also known in Ecuador as “gold nuggets,” both for their color and for the value these have had for the development of this product in this country. Ecuadorian cocoa – the source of mouthwatering chocolate – is recognized today as one of the best in the world. Similarly, its main derivative (Ecuadorian chocolate) has received international awards as the best in the world. Currently, Ecuador is the largest producer of “fine” or “flavor cocoa,” with more than 70% of the world’s production concentrated here.
But in our Ecuador travels, we at Surtrek go beyond these success stories. We journey through the geography where these plantations are located, with their microclimates and of course the people who have devoted the best years of their lives to deliver the raw material. Learn up close about the universe of cacao and, of course, taste it as many time as you please - the best chocolate in the world is our suggestion in the “Ruta del Cacao.”
In “choco-lodges” located near the cocoa plantations, Ecuador travelers can listen to stories and legends about cocoa production. These visitors can also go on guided tours that demonstrate harvesting techniques, participate in the process of making chocolate, and taste delicious cocoa syrup and other delicacies made from this fruit.
THE FLOWER ROUTE
The world’s most beautiful roses and orchids grow in Ecuador. Their size, color and fragrance make them so special that celebrities, kings and princes around the world request them for their special events. Through Ecuador travel, you can learn about the conditions in which they grow, and also visit the beautiful landscapes in which these precious flowers are grown and picked, is another way to tour this small South American country called Ecuador.
An Ecuador traveler can start from Quito, the capital, and continue along the “Avenue of the Volcanoes,” named for this stretch lined by 14 volcanoes, many of them active. A bright landscape, with the sun reflected on the snowy mountains and the colors of the crops in the fields of the Andean highlands, is the perfect setting for a journey to the land in the middle of the world.
Ecuador travel offers mountain lovers a unique panorama, with flower farms located in these highland valleys, themselves situated over a mile (between 2,000 and 2,800 meters) above sea level
These routes take visitors to rural areas of the Andes through guided tours to observe and learn about the process of planting and cultivating these beautiful flowers. But in addition to this, these trips offer the chance to tour the region, interact with people from local communities, tour the region by train, and visit farms, indigenous markets, volcanoes and hot springs. During your Ecuador travel, you can stay in the old colonial-era haciendas that have been transformed into comfortable B&B’s without losing their traditional charm. And, of course, you can taste the delicious cuisine of each locality.
A visit to a rose plantation lasts between one and three hours. These visits can be combined with adventure sports, a train ride, or a visit to an indigenous market, a national park and more.
In Cayambe you can visit flower grower and, on some tours, you can even sample from menus that use edible roses. These tours can be combined with visits to the beautiful lakes in the Imbabura Province, such as San Pablo, Mojanda and Cuicocha... bodies of water that have earned this area the name of “The Province of Lakes.”
Another interesting Ecuador travel stop is at the Otavalo market, a colorful square where beautiful handicrafts, garments and fabrics handcrafted by indigenous communities in the area are sold.
You can also find other attractions such as the Cochasqui Pyramids, one of the oldest archaeological sites in the country.
But not only are Ecuadorian roses famous. Increasingly, orchids grown in this country are being marketed around the world, as Ecuador is the home of four of the five major subfamilies of orchids on the planet.
There are several Ecuador travel routes designed around the production of these wonderful flowers.