In between the Amazon jungle and the Galápagos Islands, just a few hours away from the bustling capital of Quito, is a new destination called Sueño de Vida, the dream of life.
Nestled in a green valley of cloud forest in the blue Andean foothills, Sueño de Vida is a nature lodge where visitors can experience each day feeling rested, wholly alive, and open to possibility. Our visitors enjoy exploring our eight acres of gardens, farmland, and forest, relishing wholesome tasty foods, swimming in clear waters under cascades, and winding away the day in a hammock. But much more than this, Sueño de Vida is a very special place where people can see and feel in clear and tangible ways what it is to live simply, sustainably, and in stewardship to the land.
The only things you have to do at Sueño de Vida are:
Relax. Curl up in a hammock, watch the palm trees sway, and let the city pace leave you.
Renew. Walk the green land, chase the butterflies, hear the bird calls, smell the earth, touch the water.
Reconnect: Notice how in the absence of noise and constant "connection" through the Internet, other things fill the space: the flow of your own thought, your creative instincts, the time to read a book--or write a chapter of your own! A recent visitor was happy to realize that one morning he awoke not to the "nature sounds" of his alarm clock, but to parakeets, toucans, and the actual sounds of nature.
The time you spend at Sueño de Vida is simply an opportunity to do exactly as much or as little as you need to feel relaxed, renewed, and reconnected. Let nature be your guide.
Ready to know more about staying with us--prices, accommodations, cold hard facts? Click on through to Accommodations and Attractions.
If you would rather know a bit more about Ecuador first, read on...
Sueño de Vida is located in a beautiful, friendly, and affordable country!
Ecuador is consistently ranked among the top destinations for travel, living, and retirement in the world. But what exactly, besides its perfect climate and low cost of living, makes Ecuador so special?
For a small country, Ecuador is remarkably diverse. Drive a few hours out of the bustling cultural center of Quito and you can be:
-hiking up a volcano high in the snow-capped Andes,
-perusing the intricate handcrafts at an indigenous market,
-enjoying a therapeutic thermal bath in a green valley,
-adventuring deep in the dense Amazonian jungle,
-well on your way to the coast of the blue Pacific,
-or meandering on a path past peacefully trickling crystalline water through a lush cloud forest home to colorful birds and butterflies...here at Sueño de Vida.
Ecuador is much more than its climate and breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Ecuador is also her people, who are justifiably proud of:
-a strong identification with pre-Colombian history, displayed prominently in museums, cultural centers, and the dress and customs of indigenous people today
-a sophisticated artistic tradition that interweaves the native past with religious and political themes in startling and moving ways
-a modern infrastructure of roads, parks, and transit systems that are safe, clean, and a joy to use
-accessible and affordable health care for everyone (currently rated 13th in the world, well above the US and Canada)
-their enduring and endearing multi-faceted culture which is not only to be found in museums and craft markets, but also shows up unexpectedly in the the form of elderly gentlemen singing romantic ballads in the Plaza Grande, or in a delicious snack of bolón verde con café purchased in the street while watching some serious volleyball.
...and speaking of bolón verde (smashed plantain rolled up into a ball stuffed with cheese or chicharón), Ecuadorians take well-earned pride in their cuisine, from the scrumptiously rich dishes like roasted pork, potatoes, and maize of the Sierra to the lighter encebollado (seafood soup) of the coast, and the incredible exotic fruits made into fresh juices and served with absolutely everything, the food here is incredibly flavorful and bursting with nutrition. Don't be surprised if you eat as much as you desire and still shed a few pounds.
Ecuador isn't only an enviable vacation destination. It's a vital and vigorous country and makes a good place to call home.
And because our land is in one of the most lush, peaceful--and accessible!--locations in Ecuador.
Sueño de Vida is only a few hours drive from Quito and Mariscal Sucre International Airport. It was very important to us when choosing our location that it be a manageable and affordable trip from a major airport. Located approximately mid-way between the Sierra and the Pacific, Sueño de Vida is an excellent spot to break up a long trip from Quito to the coastal towns of Mompiche or Canoa with the added opportunity of seeing a remarkably beautiful area of Ecuador. Here's three options on how to get here. The ride in itself is a joy; in fact of all the directions you could head out from Quito, we are quite convinced the way to our land is the most inviting.
As you venture from Quito to the notreoccidental of the country, the landscape at first becomes more high-desert--arid peaks and craters patched with saguaro, prickly pear, and spiny plants topped with brilliant flowers. As the road wraps around El Mitad del Mundo (the center of the world) and winds past the entrance to the Pululuhua Geological Center, it seems unlikely that less than an hour’s drive away, the hot, dry mountains give way to warm sub-tropical forests laced with clear rivers and rushing cascades.
But that is exactly how Ecuador’s diverse beauty reveals itself, in delightful surprises all along the way.
As you head west on via Los Bancos, the road begins a curving descent into a valley of distinctly more tropical green growth encircled by low lying mists. You can feel your skin relax in the softly humid air. You are now in the cloud forest, a carefully protected area hosting one of the most varied kingdoms of flora and fauna on the planet.
After passing through the small towns of Nanegalito and San Miguel de los Bancos, the dense vegetation parts like an emerald curtain to reveal a softly undulating countryside ringed with blue hills and dotted with delicate wide-canopied trees and tall palms.
This is the canton of Pedro Vicente Maldonado, named for the Ecuadorian scientist who worked with the French expedition to map and measure the equatorial center of the earth commemorated at the Mitad del Mundo monument you passed on the way. Our canton is also home to several sparkling rivers, stunning cascades, clear natural pools, and the Mashpi Nature Reserve, 1300 hectares of protected biodiversity including 650 species of birds, 200 mammals, 120 amphibians, 100 reptiles, and 20 types of butterflies. Inside the Mashpi are six smaller private reserves under the umbrella of Foundation Imaymana, dedicated to cultivating the native plants and fruits of the forests conserving wildlife, and preserving fascinating history of the pre-Columbian cultures who thrived here. We are very fortunate to have this wealth of opportunity to learn about the eco-system embracing Sueño de Vida.
A few kilometers past the sign announcing you have entered Pedro Vicente Maldonado, there is turn-off to the left called Los Laureles. Along this road is another turn-off, this time onto a red clay road leading into the Mashpi Reserve. And also along this road, tucked away in this land of clear running streams, black fertile soils, graceful trumpet flowers, and exotic fruits is our Sueño de Vida.