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You'll find a whole range of accommodations in Ecuador. Still, there are very few truly high-end luxury hotels and resorts. Most are in Quito or Guayaquil, and are geared toward business travelers.

The country's strong suit is elegant, midrange boutique hotels, many housed in old colonial-era homes or haciendas. The antique furnishings and cozy rooms will make you feel as though you are an Ecuadorean aristocrat living in the 18th century. In fact, throughout the Andean highlands, you will find a string of these lovely converted haciendas. Some are in buildings over 200 years old.

On the other end of the spectrum are jungle lodges, usually built in the style typical to the Amazon basin (thatched roofs, bamboo walls, and so on). Accommodations are usually basic; the more expensive ones, such as Kapawi Ecolodge & Reserve and Napo Wildlife Center, have private bathrooms, but hot showers are a rarity.

In general, inexpensive accommodations are easy to find. In Quito, you can rent a clean room, with private bathroom and television, for little more than $20 (£13); in smaller towns, you can find a bed for as little as $12 (£8) a night.

In the Galápagos, most visitors spend their nights sleeping on ships. The general rule is that if you don't pay a lot, you won't get a lot. The least expensive boats have dorm-style common sleeping rooms and one shower for everyone onboard.

One good website and Ecuadorean travel operator, Exclusive Hotels & Haciendas of Ecuador (www.exclusivehotelshaciendasecuador.com), functions as a one-stop booking agent for various high-end boutique hotels and haciendas around the country.

Tip: If you're traveling on a budget and staying in some of the less expensive hotels, one item you're likely to want to bring with you is a towel. Your hotel might not provide one, and even if it does, it might be awfully thin.

Throughout this book, I've separated hotel listings into several broad categories: Very Expensive, $200 (£133) and up; Expensive, $100 to $200 (£67-£133); Moderate, $50 to $100 (£33-£67); and Inexpensive, under $50 (£33) double.

Frommer's uses a zero- to three-star-rating system. A truly special bed-and-breakfast, run with style and aplomb, may get two or three stars, even though the rooms do not have televisions or air-conditioning. Likewise, a large resort with a host of modern amenities may receive one or no stars. Every hotel listed is in some way recommended. This guide is selective, and I've done my best to list the best options in each price range and each region.

Heads-Up -- When hotels quote prices, they rarely include the hefty tax. Unless otherwise noted, expect to pay an additional 22% in taxes on the prices quoted by hotels and listed throughout this guide.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.