There's this place in the mountains of Ecuador right outside of Borja de San Francisco called Cabañas Tres Rios. Just a mere 2 hour drive from the capital city of Quito and a 5 hour flight from Atlanta, Georgia USA. This place has a feel that is unlike any other place I have been. Upon arrival, the sound of the Quijos river flows into my ears and I notice a plethora of different types of flowers flowing out of the perfectly manicured lawn. The colors are vibrant and fresh, like it had just rained with the smell of clean and crisp in the air. I am immediately greeted by the kitchen staff and the super sweet gardener that has the most genuinely loving smile that I have seen in years.
The "hang out" area is small but comfortable with books and kayaking magazines to indulge anyone's quiet or curious side. The bar is self serve using the honor system for beer and Coke (with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup like in the US). I feel welcomed by the staff and I am taken to my room via rock path lined with a plethora of flowers. Because we are in the mountains the beds are covered with heavier blankets to ensure warmth through the night. My kind of climate, warm (sometimes even hot) during the day with it cooling off at night.
The food here is completely next level. With a professional chef from the US and two local women, they put together mind blowing meals that are always different with a spin on both local Ecuadorian food and American. Breakfast is started off with fresh fruit from the area and yogurt and granola for your enjoyment. This is followed by a freshly made egg plate that always has a perfect spin on it with different flavors every day. Dinner is a three course meal every night starting with soup, heading into a main course that is always a surprise and restaurant quality. Even though you are so full after the main course the desserts come pouring out of the kitchen. How do they do it??!! Dessert is always fresh, not too sweet, and it signals the end to another amazing meal by the kitchen staff at Small World Adventures.
After dinner, people mill off to do their own thing. Some stay at the bar and enjoy the beer from the fridge or the choice liquors behind the bar. I can promise you one thing, you will go to bed fat and happy every night here at Cabañas Tres Ríos. The first time I climbed into my bed I was immediately comfortable and was asleep in seconds, dreaming of the heavenly rivers that were surrounding me.
I explored this paradise on the riverside the next day even more. A rock path leads down to a platform for yoga, meditation, or just staring at the river to find clarity and peace. Just down from the platform is a hot tub that is very magically hot when we return from the river every afternoon. The perfect end to a great day on the water.
The steep mountains around the area create natural microclimates where it could be warm and nice on one side of the pass then cooler and raining on the other. This is always keeping people on their toes and really makes you think about what you are going to wear on the river. Speaking of rivers... I haven't even started telling you about the kayaking.