In the early nineties, several long hikes in pristine rainforest on the banks of the Amazonian Bobonaza river, lay the base for Julio Verne Travel. The founders were Ecuadorian naturalist guide William Reyes and Dutch journalist Popkje van der Ploeg. From the outset, it was their purpose to share the hidden marvels of Ecuador with travelers from all over the world.
Julio Verne Travel was established as a legal Ecuadorian company in 1995. It got its name from the French 19the century author Jules Verne, honoring his epic novels.
The company opened its doors in Baños, located on the edge between Andes and Amazon and at the foot of Tungurahua – a sleeping volcano until 1999. That year, Tungurahua started to erupt, causing the forced evacuation of Baños and the – initially involuntary – relocation of Julio Verne Travel to Riobamba in the Central Highlands.
Soon this turned out to be a very positive step. Surrounded by the majestic snowcapped peaks of Chimborazo, Carihuairazo and Altar, Riobamba has a privileged location with excellent hiking and climbing routes plus convenient connections with all corners of Ecuador.
Julio Verne Travel expanded by developing new routes for a growing number of hiking enthusiasts. By selecting and training the best guides, responsible donkeymen and professional drivers in every region. By constructing a network of reliable local providers and partners for lodging, meals and other essential services. By standardizing the whole process from trip planning to operation, emergency plans and post trip evaluations.
Customized itineraries were created for special interest groups and individual travelers of all kinds: photographers and documentary makers in search of active volcanoes, senior climbers on a six-thousand peak, adolescents on their first trekking adventure, volunteers combining a community project with nature trails.
Today, cofounder Popkje van der Ploeg still loves to set out on a hike and discover new trails. Together with Yolanda Allauca, who entered the company as a partner in 2016, they work continuously to put Ecuador on the map of the earth´s best hiking destinations.
After 25 years in business, sharing the wonderful hidden places of Ecuador remains the first reason for being. What has changed, and what marks the difference with other providers, is that nowadays Julio Verne Travel focuses for 100% on Ecuador on Foot. From the belief that this is the most responsible, sustainable and promising way to travel, and the perfect mode of slow travel.
A hiking trip is about more than just following the chaquiñán (foot path in Quichua) from A to B. It is a way to immerse yourself in the landscape. Find remoteness and silence. Discover a variety of plants in a variety of ecosystems. Spot animals and identify its footprints. Learn about Ecuador´s ancient and recent history. Taste native cuisine. Listen to stories of the locals. And, if all goes well, break out of your comfort zone.
We warmly invite you to have a look into all the options and contact us for a personal conversation. With the knowledge and expertise of true insiders we will help you plan your own extraordinary hiking experience.
There is always a new path to marvel about!