Thursday, June 9, 2016

Introducing Tropic Ecuador

Tropic Ecuador joined the Kusini Collection in January 2015 so it's about time we gave them a proper introduction and welcome!

As is the trademark of our clients, Tropic is an owner-operated, boutique tour operator with a focus on conservation travel, both culturally and environmentally. Led by Jasci Carvalho and his team of creative and experienced travel consultants (meet the Tropic team!), Tropic specializes in tailor-made FIT arrangements throughout Ecuador, designed to your client's specifications.

Tropic also offers several expedition-style adventures which allow their guests to discover the spirit of Ecuador through authentic, immersive and active journeys in the Galapagos, Andes and the Amazon. Part of Tropic's ethos is a connection to people, and their trips connect travelers with locals and directly benefit these host communities. National Geographic recognized this ethic when they awarded Tropic the World Legacy Award for Engaging Communities in 2015. Their respect for the environment and cultural preservation is present in everything they do.

In April I spent two weeks traveling around North America with Jasci. His passion for sustainable tourism and philosophy of "using tourism as a tool for conservation" resonated with and inspired everyone we met. Please read on to learn more about this pioneering ecotourism company in Ecuador!



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Gretchen's Top 5 Ecuador Highlights! 

One of the many beautiful underwater views in the Galapagos
Ecuador is best known for the Galapagos Islands - a 'once-in-a-lifetime' trip for many travelers. But Ecuador offers much, much more. It's home to stunning beaches and charming towns, the mighty Andes, and a slice of the Amazon where modern day travelers can put their explorer hats on and trek through the jungle. Gretchen recently spent two weeks exploring Ecuador with Tropic and she checks in with her Top five favorite experiences of the trip:

1. Arriving in Galapagos and immediately getting into the water - by snorkeling and kayaking in the Itabaca Channel - a wildlife bonanza one hour after arrival!

2. Beach barbecue with the Cruz family on Floreana Island (hot new BBQ tip from Galapagos - stoke your fire with a hair dryer!).

3. Hiking high in the Andes with views of Volcan Cotopaxi. The landscapes are like a painting. Totally idyllic.

4. Piranha fishing in the Amazon. I'll let your imagination run wild on this one!

5. Truffle making at Pacari in Quito, where the chocolate is so good, the earth moved (really!).

Read more detail of these magical moments on the Kusini blog and check out her in-depth Ecuador trip reports: Part 1 (Otavalo & Galapagos) and Part 2 (Cotopaxi, Amazon and Quito).

TROPIC DMC: Bespoke journeys with purpose

Tropic's unparalleled knowledge and deep understanding of Ecuador means unrivalled, innovative custom-designed journeys for the most sophisticated travel tastes, while respecting the local culture and environments along the way. In 2016, Tropic launched several important innovations to further enhance their service to the travel trade:

  • New Quoting/Operations system: Tropic acquired licenses to use Toogo, a web based system designed for receptive operators/DMCs. This means faster (24hrs), more attractive and more accurate quotes every time! Check out this sample quote to learn more.
  • On-Tour Management: As your eyes and ears in Ecuador while your clients are traveling, Tropic tries to make the emergency phone unnecessary by being proactive with each guest and staying ahead of any issues, complaints or requested changes. 
  • $1 million in liability insurance: Tropic is now one of the few boutique DMC operators in Ecuador with a $1 million liability insurance policy. This investment shows their long-term commitment to partners around the world. 
  • Rainforest Alliance certified: Tropic was re-certified by the Rainforest Alliance, reinforcing their credentials as a sustainable tourism operator. 

TROPIC Expeditions: Embrace the adventure!

A Galapagos tortoise - they can live to be over 150 years old!
Galapagos Land, Sea and Underwater Adventures 

Tropic offers three land-based group departures (min 2/max 12) based from unique lodges full of character, atmosphere and charm on three very diverse islands - Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabela - plus a day visit to iconic Bartolome or wildlife-rich South Plazas! Download the detailed itineraries below or contact Andrea for all the details:

5d/4n Santa Cruz/Bartolome/Floreana - $2250pp rack; Saturday departures
5d/4n Santa Cruz/South Plazas/Isabela - $2250pp rack; Monday departures
7d/6n Santa Cruz/Bartolome/Floreana/Isabela -
$4200pp rack; Saturday departures

The stunning view from Sachi Ji - lodging for night 2 of
Tropic's lodge-to-lodge trek
Otavalo Cultural Trails - Lodge to Lodge Trek

Tropic has designed a spectacular 4d/3n lodge-to-lodge trek in Otavalo. Expect gorgeous mountain views, local culture and color in the Otavalo market, insight into local communities, and traditional Andean hospitality at three uniquely distinct lodges - Casa Mojanda, Sacha Ji and Hacienda Zuleta. Trekking is non-technical, but steep in some sections, and is great for active travelers that love to lace up their boots and go!

Sani's observation tower sits high above
the forest canopy
Amazon Guardians - Sani Lodge

We are sad to report that the Huaorani Ecolodge has been forced to close due to oil exploration around the lodge. Read more here.

Tropic has partnered with Sani Lodge, another pioneer of community-based tourism in the Amazon, to offer exclusive 4 day & 5 day adventure and culture itineraries. Located within 100,000 acres of untouched rain forest, Sani is rich in wildlife and amazing biodiversity while also offering an immersive cultural experience. This trip is perfect for wildlife lovers and active pax that want to explore (and improve their blowgun skills!), and do it with comfortable beds, hot showers and delicious food. Combine it with one of Tropic's Galapagos by land programs for a Ecuador wildlife bonanza!

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