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Camping

Camper posing outside her tent in the Cotopaxi National Park

Camping is defined as an activity to spend time disconnecting from the city. At camping sites, you spend one or more nights under the stars and in a good shelter. During the day, admiring nature is a must, and connecting with oneself or the others by doing hikes, fishing, bird-watching, or any other activity. 


At night, you’ll admire the stars, try to find constellations, tell stories around a campfire, and fall asleep to the soundtrack of the woods. On camping trips, you’ll wake up by birds chirping and the smell of wood and grass. You may not have any other concern than to make coffee on your Moka. Then, think about where to hike. Connecting with nature must be the ultimate luxury of the modern world. Thus, camping is the perfect activity for every age!

View of San Rafael waterfall

San Rafael waterfall

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown was one of the things that shocked people the most. The experience helped society to realize the importance of nature. Therefore, nowadays people try to spend as much time as possible outside. It’s proven that spending time outdoors and in nature will make you feel less stressed and happier. Therefore, while camping you can share stories, and experiences, and create bonds with your friends and family.

When you visit Ecuador, you can upgrade your trip and go camping while experiencing the location. The forest, by a lake, on the beach… the world is your oyster! While visiting Ecuador, you can enjoy the mountains, the coast, the Amazon, and the Galapagos Islands!

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Why camping?

There are many reasons to plan a camping trip with friends or family. Camping has many benefits, such as developing a connection with nature, learning something new about the environment, or camping techniques. Plus you can create stronger bonds with your camping group.

Benefits for your mental health 

There is evidence that being outside has positive effects on specific psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Creating a connection with nature helps you to reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase happiness. The outdoors can reduce negative emotions, and promote social interactions. And even help generate a sense of meaning in life. 

Did you know that after the COVID-19 pandemic, some health professionals started prescribing nature-based activities to treat mental health conditions and stress? Doctors recommend experiences in nature to treat diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Even so, when you’re surrounded by trees and fresh air, your body releases higher levels of serotonin

How your body works in the nature

Serotonin is a hormone that is essentially related to a person’s mood. For instance, when you have it at normal levels you feel more focused, emotionally stable, and calmer. At the same time, it helps regulate bowel movements, and the production of melatonin that as you know is related to the quality of sleep. 

The hormone is also related to cognitive functions, memory, and learning. Serotonin is one of the main hormones that relate to mental health in general. When you’re exposed to green open spaces, you feel less stressed. People perceive nature as more pleasant than built environments like cities. Thus, it lowers levels of cortisol

Happy tourist posing in front of a tree in the Amazon jungle

Tourists posing in the Amazon after a camping night

On the other hand, spending time outside is not only about the connection with nature, but it’s also important that it boosts your immune system. Therefore, you get more vitamin D that comes from sunlight. And finally, camping requires some level of physical activity. For example, hiking to your camping site, it’s a good exercise for you and your group. 

You should also consider your sleep schedule. What does camping do to your sleep schedule? Actually, the body is biologically programmed to sleep when there’s no more sunlight. Thus, camping can reset campersnatural sleep schedule. Therefore, a camping trip can ease your mental fatigue because it’s a change in your daily routine. You will feel like a break from your modern life and responsibilities. 

Disconnection from screen & detox of social networks 

Science has shown that the more time you spend on screens and social media, there’s higher the risk of suffering mental health conditions like depression. Then, what about a camping experience? You’ll be completely disconnecting. A camping site has little cell reception, and you’ll have a real connection with nature. Camping is a great way to unplug for a while. Detoxing from digital life is a way to focus on real life and social interactions without distractions. 

Screens like laptops, tablets, and smartphones are a very important part of modern life. Sharing your daily activities, and important moments on social media is the most common thing to do. Thus, seeing what others are doing, where they are spending their vacations, and how they are living is a daily activity for most people. One study conducted in Sweden found that heavy use of technology was linked to sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels. So, as mentioned earlier, camping can help solve all these problems.

Tourists kayaking on a river in the Amazon

Kayaking in the Amazon jungle

Connection with nature while camping is a good way to distract yourself from the anxiety of leaving your digital devices behind. Walking around nature, enjoying it, and just connecting with it will help you forget about your emails and likes. 

Effects of heavy use of social media and technology

As you may already know, there are negative effects of spending too much time on social media and heavy use of technology. Some of them are:

  • Social anxiety.
  • Fear of missing out.
  • Affection in work/life balance.
  • Isolation.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Eyestrain.
  • Poor posture.
  • Sleep problems reduced physical activity.

Camping allows you to connect with nature

Close your eyes for a second. Imagine getting to your place to camp, and setting up your tent. Then, try to feel as if you were enjoying the environment and surroundings. Do you feel inspired? People with a greater connection with nature are more likely to behave positively towards conservation, and their health and wellbeing.

Then, how camping can help you to build connections with nature? The answer is very simple: you’ll be immersed on the spot. You’ll go back to basics: collect wood to start a bonfire, set up a tent, and cook in a very rustic way. Life is simpler while camping!

 

Dessert of Paracas National Park in Peru

Paracas National Park in Peru

The Biophilia hypothesis states that humans have an innate tendency to seek connection with nature and other forms of life. Actually, the appreciation of nature is a clear sign of this hypothesis and people have it integrated into them. Nature itself has benefits for health in general. Humans need nature to be in a good shape. For example, vitamin D that comes from sunlight is vital for the human body. 

An incredible destination to connect with nature is to visit the incredible Paracas National Reserve in Peru. There, you can experience the desert, and the ocean, and visit the islands. Then, you can go deeper into the desert and visit the incredible Nazca lines.

16 Day Hidden Treasures Peru

Camping and outdoor activities allow you to unplug from modern city life 

Camping trips allow you to change the air of the rushed life in the city. City life can be very stressful. It’s difficult to enjoy your hobbies. There’s little time for yourself on your schedule, with work, social activities, and commuting. 

Why not plan a camping trip? Where you can unplug from all the notifications, emails, and stress? Leave the kids running around your camping site. Just care about setting your fireplace while admiring the landscape and nature. The only time you’ll have your phone in your hands is to take a picture or film your surroundings. Your kids will also learn how to amuse themselves without technology just with bugs, wildflowers, stars, and trees. 

Girl sitting close to a cascade in the Amazon jungle

Camping trips allow you to build a connection with nature

What will change when you unplug from the city

As you know, if you go on a camping trip your scenario will change. Some of these things that you’ll change while camping are

  • The smoggy air from the city for the amazing fresh air. Your lungs will thank you for this. 
  • The typical city soundtrack is full of car horns and sirens, for real nature sounds. Like the wind, maybe some bees, frogs, or water.
  • No screens. The landscape is your new distraction. 
  • The city lights for stars during the night! Imagine watching the Milky Way! 
  • The commuting for hiking or biking around.
  • Alarm clocks for birds’ chirping.
  • The stress of having no time for having all the time in the world. 
  • Explore new restaurants and bars for exploring nature and its most interesting sites. 

5 Day Tambopata Amazon Peru 

 

Camping is a new way of exploring 

This exploring part is up to you! You can explore the wilderness, experiment with new habits, and try new activities. You’ll be able to reconnect with yourself. You can explore nature, the surroundings, and even local communities. For example, there are some camping sites that are super close to a local community so on your way to it you can get to know more about them.

Other ways of exploring while camping

Try to explore your creativity by taking photos or drawing your surroundings. Thanks to the lack of technology, you’ll have nature to inspire you. Of course, since the city lights are so far away and the pollution you can see the Milky Way galaxy. Maybe you can dive into the stars and try to find the constellations of Orion, Sagittarius, Ursa major, and minor.

Starry night sky in Cotopaxi camping site

The starry night sky at Cotopaxi camping site

Another way of exploring is to discover places that tours usually don’t take you. Then, you can immerse yourself in another perspective of the country you’re visiting. On the other hand, you can explore some new skills you never knew you had in you. For instance, setting up a campfire, reading a map, and identifying types of trees. When you’re outdoors you have to be resourceful and try to entertain yourself and others, learn to cook on the campfire or on the stove. You’ll have to be in a problem-solving mindset to enjoy your trip. 

Camping trips help you build stronger relationships and new traditions 

When you camp you spend more time bonding with your camping partners. Another advantage of not having wifi or technology devices available is that you’re obligated to talk to them. You can start a new tradition with your kids. At the same time, build memories that will last a lifetime for them. Getting away from distractions and just spending time with nature is a whole experience for families. Also, camping with kids is an amazing experience!

Father and a kid outside a camping tent enjoying the landscape

Tourists outside their camping tent in Galapagos

For instance, if you go hiking, someone in the group will definitely have to be in charge of the maps and the route. Others maybe will be an expert in flora and fauna. And there’s a 100% chance that you have a friend that is the influencer type that will be in charge of taking the pictures and videos for all of you. 

Camping trips are most definitely one of the activities that will create more memories for you and for your loved ones. 

Camping gear 

Since you won’t have a store nearby the camping site, you have to be prepared for this trip. So here’s a list of what you need for your camping trip

Camping tent close to a river in the Amazon

Camping tent close to a river in the Amazon jungle

Tent and sleeping bag 

There are 2 things to consider when choosing a camping tent: 

  • Size: Since you want everybody to sleep comfortably you have to take into account how many people are going to rest in your tent. 
  • Season: Most tents are three-season tents, which means they are good for spring, summer, and fall. A 4 season tent will also cover winter with extra protection for heat retention.

Ecuador doesn’t have defined seasons and depending on where you are camping, it can rain cats and dogs. So, please ask the destination experts in advance. These conditions also apply to sleeping bags. They’re defined by a temperature range of 15 to 30 degrees (Fahrenheit). If you prefer to have some extra cushion, then you’ll need a sleeping pad that also gives you insulation to keep you warmer. 

Flashlights 

You can’t forget a flashlight when you go camping! It’s a must. Otherwise, how do you plan to go to the bathroom? Another option is a headlight if you like to go for a night’s walk to watch your steps. Also, you can have an infrared flashlight that will help you to sight some nocturnal animals like frogs, birds, and other animals. Don’t forget the batteries and power banks. If you’re a nature lover you’re going to take pictures of everything and will want to see everything.

Monkey crossing on tree tops. When you camp you can sight wildlife at its best

Monkey crossing in the Amazon Jungle

Cooking and camping kitchen 

A camp stove and its fuel is the first thing you should take to your camping site. Or something to start a campfire to cook, if this is the case you can’t forget about the matches or lighter. Remember to pack drinkable water, cookware, and utensils. Depending on your camping menu, then all the dishes are needed. 

Keep in mind the leave no trace policy. Since you don’t know how the bin situation is at your camping site. You have to always think that most likely you will have to take all the trash with you until you find somewhere to put it. Also, think that the fewer things you’ll have to carry with you. So keep your menu as simple as possible. 

Travelers having a quick snack

Travelers having a quick snack after hiking to the camping site

The right clothing 

You already know about the right clothing for every season. But, when you go camping, it’s a little bit different, because some camping sites are warmer during the days and colder during the nights. So, you have to be prepared for that. Also, about the footwear, if you’re going hiking, you’ll need hiking boots and don’t forget the right socks! You don’t want blisters during your camping trip

The more you know about your camping site, the more prepared you’ll be. If you’re camping somewhere with a lake close, you’ll need a towel and swimming stuff. Also, warm fleece is always a good idea along with a waterproof jacket. Please note that you won’t have a place to buy the things you might miss and also keep packing light since you’ll have to carry it. And don’t forget an extra pair of socks and underwear. You never know what might happen when you’re trying to grow a connection with nature.

Traveler posing in front of the Cotopaxi

Tourist in the Cotopaxi National Park

What to pack

Here’s a quick list of what you need just to give you an idea.

  • Waterproof jacket.
  • Clean dry clothes to sleep on.
  • Wooly hat, gloves, and sunhat. 
  • Suitable footwear.
  • Spare underwear and socks.
  • Lightweight and fast drying materials.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Swimming gear if you’re camping close to a lake or the beach.

Miscellaneous camping gear 

There are other things to take with you for this exciting adventure! Don’t forget your medications and bring extra. Also, antiallergic or an EpiPen is always handy. 

  • Bug repellent or candles.
  • Water filters.
  • First aid kit.
  • Toiletries.
  • Guidebooks.
  • Tissues.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Wipes.
  • Scissors.
  • Candles.
  • Bags for the trash.
  • Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Bottle opener and tin.
  • Shower cap covers, you can put your shoes in them and keep the camping dirt away from your tent.
Aerial view of a camping site in Napo province, in the Amazon jungle

The camping site in Napo province, Amazon jungle

Dos and Don’ts  

As you know, camping sites have different rules depending on where are located. For example, some places have strict policies regarding campfires. So here’s a list of what to do and don’t when camping. All this is just to keep you safe. 

Dos

Just to make everything easier for you, here’s a list of your do’s

Dos Regarding your camping planing

  • Check the weather forecast. Also, ask the locals how the weather is there. 
  • Plan your activities in advance, so you can take everything you need. Cards, paper, markers, board games. Another type of gear may be for fishing, cycling, etc. For this, you need to know more about your camping site! Ask the locals what’s there to do! 
  • Check your campsite rules! This is for your safety, maybe the camping area is limited because of wild animals. Or maybe you can’t start a fire there, you never know how strict the rules are. 
  • Plan your meals in advance! As told you before, you have to take everything you need for your camping trip. And if you don’t know what you’re cooking, how you’re going to be prepared. Maybe take a few meals that don’t need cooking. And if you can prepare some food in advance then better, chop some vegetables, take the premix pancake ready, etc. Or maybe you can eat nearby and just take the basics for a quick dinner and snacks. 

Regarding your camping in general 

  • Arrive before nightfall. Remember not all camping sites are just beside the parking lot, maybe you have to hike a little, and of course, set up your camp. Arriving before nightfall will allow you to explore the surrounding areas, and build a campfire and warmth for the night. 
  • Make sure the ashes are cool before leaving a camping site unattended. You don’t want to accidentally start a fire! Also, you might want to have extra water to extinguish a fire if needed. 
  • Follow the leave no trace behind the policy. You don’t want to be rude and leave a campsite with trash, or the ashes warm. 
  • Give wildlife their space! You don’t want to bother them and maybe have an unwanted situation on your camping site
Little animals hiding in their nest

Little mamals hiding in their shelter

Don’ts

  • Don’t forget your camping essentials and medication! Including your allergy medication. 
  • Don’t leave food unattended. This is to avoid unwanted animal encounters. 
  • Don’t let your kids run around by themselves and on other campsites. 
  • Don’t bring firewood from another location. Remember to follow the campsite rules.
  • Don’t bring anything you want, like a tablet or technology. 

How to choose a place

Do you want to go camping on your vacation abroad? If the answer is yes, then follow these 5 questions. Also, keep in mind that if you’re in a foreign country there might be incredible options, mountains, forests, jungle, and beaches to go camping! Of course, this is the case in Ecuador. You can camp in the incredible Andes and wake up on a volcano hill, or you can experience a true jungle amazonian experience and feel all the sounds of nature. Or you can wake up to the sound of the sea while camping in the Galapagos Islands! 

Sea lions on the beach in Galapagos Islands

Sea lions on the beach in Galapagos Islands

How to decide on a destination

The options are endless here! But first, there are a few questions that you need to answer. 

How far would you like to travel?

Despite the size of the country, the roads might be a little bit tricky especially if you’re traveling during the rainy season. Choose your destination wisely otherwise you’re going to spend half a day in a car. Yes, there are incredible landscapes and small towns where you can stop and relax your body but either way you have to get to your camping site before nightfall! 

What are you looking for?

Quiet time with your camping group? Getting to know other campers? Learn more about the local community. Depending on your preferences and planned activities you can choose from different campsites. 

What type of camping works for you and your group?

If you’re camping abroad the chances that you took your tent and sleeping bag with you are very small. So maybe a tent type is out of the discussion but luckily for you there’s glamping, and cabin style also. 

Weather

This is very important to choose your camping destination. Maybe you don’t want to experience the cold wind from the Andes, or you don’t like the humidity of the rainforest. That’s on you but one thing sure is that wherever you choose to go camping you’re going to have an incredible time. 

Leave your camping site better than you found it

Always try to minimize the impact of your visit. Remember that animals, insects, and maybe people live there or use its resources so try to be considerate to others. 

Tent placement

After deciding where your camping destination is going to be, you have to choose a good camping site. Here are a few things to consider to place your tent.

  • Size of your camping, you might need some space to place your tent and your campfire. 
  • Level of the floor. You don’t want to place your camping on a hill. Otherwise, you’re going to slide right out of your bed or have blood rushing to your head. If you don’t find a flat spot, then try to find the smallest hill and place your head up it. 
  • Find a place dry. You don’t want to wake up in a puddle at 2 am also wet ground is more thermally conductive. 
  • Maybe with some shelter. Trees or rocks might be good protection against the wind and provide some shade. But, make sure there are no dead branches hanging over your tent. 
  • Avoid some dangerous places like the ones that could get flooded. Near animal trails or prime habitats, and danger zones for natural hazards. Insect breeding grounds. 
Baby Jose Miguel inside his tent

Baby Jose Miguel (Rebecca’s son) inside a camping tent

Camping styles 

Now, traditional camping is not for everyone. There are people that need to have a bed, toilettes, and a kitchen to enjoy their vacations. But, don’t worry, if you’re one of those people there are types of camping for you too. 

Tent camping 

Tent camping is the typical way that people imagine when talking about this outdoorsy activity. So you get to your camping site, set up your tent, and start a nice bonfire. Then, enjoy the surroundings with a nice cup of tea made of fresh leaves. The whole idea of this type of camping is to spend at least one night outside. Super minimal just taking what is absolutely necessary for you. The idea is also to have lighter backpacks so you can hike a little to your campsite. 

Where to tent camp in Ecuador

In Ecuador, the ideal tent camping destination is Mindo. Not that cold, there are plenty of activities to do, campsites. And even some inns that have a specific place to camp without losing the commodities of a toilet and a nice warm shower. And plus you’re also in contact with nature. This small town is known for ecotourism so most of the inns and hotels are in the middle of nature. Actually, it’s a great place to connect with nature. At the same time, Mindo is known for its outdoor activities. Hiking to get to amazing cascades. Rafting through rivers with exceptions to the tropical scenic. Ziplining on the tree tops. Mindo has all the activities for you to enjoy nature and connect with yourself.

 

Girl ziplining in Mindo

Mindo outdoors activities

Camp cabins

Camp cabins are a great option to avoid all the gear and backpacks. There are definitely advantages to this type of camping! For instance, a bug-free space with a comfortable bed to sleep in. And the security of not having midnight wildlife visitors. Depending on the amenities and type of cabins maybe you’ll have to share the toilets and showers. Also, maybe you won’t need bedding and you’ll have a small kitchen to cook in. Since the purpose of all of this is to create a connection with nature these cabins are not located in a crowded place, but in the middle of a forest or mountains. 

Where to cabin camp in Ecuador

In Ecuador, you have amazing cabins to feel the Amazon in Yasuni National Park. This is one of the most beautiful places to work in your connection with nature. And not only that but also, understand a little bit more about the community. These cabins are among local communities. You’ll learn more about their traditions and way of living. 

Camping cabins in the Amazon jungle

Camping cabins in Amazon

Glamping 

This is all about the connection with nature but with style. Glamping Is a mix between tent camping and cabin camping. You won’t have to worry about gear and your tent will have everything you need and more. It gets its name from glamorous camping. Some of these camping sites offer other amenities such as hot tubs, catered meals, incredible views, and more. This is definitely for people who need a little bit more comfort for their vacations. 

Where to glamping in Ecuador

In Ecuador, you can go glamping in the Galapagos. You can spend some days in Isabela highlands with the most incredible views of the forest and the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. Connection with nature is easy here, thanks to its tents and pristine surroundings. You could never imagine resting in the middle of a forest in the Galapagos Islands! 

Glamping tents to go camping in Galapagos Islands

Glamping tents to go camping in Galapagos Islands

Popular places to go camping in Ecuador 

Thanks to all the biodiversity and different ecosystems there are so many places to go camping in Ecuador! Depending on how you want your experience to be and what you want to know. Please contact the Rebecca Adventure Travel destination experts so they can get you everything you need, and recommend the best camping destination according to your needs and travel schedule. 

Cotopaxi National Park 

Camping in the highest active volcano in the world must be on your bucket list. At least if you’re an adventurous type of traveler. You can wake up with an incredible view of the Cotopaxi volcano. There are plenty of camping sites in Cotopaxi National Park. If you’re lucky enough you can spot some wild horses, llamas, deers, foxes, and birds. There are tons of activities to visit in the National Park, hiking, biking, and even horseback riding! Please before choosing your activity take into account the level of physical activity you want to do. 

Quilotoa lagoon 

This incredible lagoon is one of the most popular places to go camping in Ecuador! Actually, the lagoon is the crater of a volcano with emerald green water. Here, the weather is cold despite the sun, always going to be cold. So it’s better if you’re prepared to spend a chilly night. Definitely is going to be worthwhile because waking up inside of a volcano crater next to its incredible lagoon is not something you do every day. The connection with nature is different, you’ll hear the sound of the wind passing through the crater and the easy tide of the lagoon. It’s a unique experience.

Tourist trekking close to the Quilotoa lagoon. One of the most famous places to go camping in Ecuador

Quilotoa lagoon is one of the most famous places to go camping in Ecuador

Galapagos Islands

There are a few places to go camping in the Enchanted Islands! You need a permission form and a letter in advance because you’ll stay at the Galapagos National Park. Please be aware that you have to send these documents at least 48h in advance of your camping trip. Also, there’s a cost of 10 USD per person.

In San Cristóbal Island you can squeeze a quick camping night in these places: Puerto Chino, Puerto Grande, Manglecito. 

In Santa Cruz, you can do it on Garrapatero beach, but it depends on the tide and how strong it is. 

And finally, on Isabela, you can go camping in Volcan Chico and the Minas de Azufre.  

Ayampe beach 

Ayampe is another beach ideal for camping. Incredible surroundings, relaxed ambiance, a small coastal town with nice people. Ayampe is one of the preferred places for Ecuadorians to disconnect from the modern world and try to connect with the beach. This place also offers surfing, hiking, snorkeling, and other activities. Also from the months of June to September you can watch the famous humpback whales mate and give birth on this coast. 

Surfer walking down Ayampe beach, one of the best destinations to go surfing and camping

Ayampe is one of the best destinations to go surfing and go camping

There’s one sure thing in Ecuador. Wherever you choose to spend your vacations, you can have me-time and connection with nature. Also, unforgettable memories with your loved ones, and get to know other people and ways of living. So why not take advantage of this small but exotic country and go camping here? Please contact the Rebecca Adventure Travel team of experts so they can help you organize your ideal camping trip.

 

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Build your own trip

You can also contact us to create your own customized trip. If you have special requests like a complete private tour with services and hotels chartered, a honeymoon, a family trip, or a very short tour, just contact our destination experts and we will help you.