THE MOST COMPLETE GUIDE OF ECUADOR SINCE 1968
Welcome to Ecuador Embassies & Consulates List General Travel Information Land Distances Road Map History & Archaeology Tourism News This Month’s Recommended: Samari Spa & Resort Made in Ecuador Native Cultures Map National Protected Areas Map A Birder’s Paradise
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Galapagos General information Map This Month’s Main Events Premium Services
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Coast General information Ecuadorian Coastline Map Premium Services Guayaquil This Month’s Agenda Premium Hotels Map Premium Hotels Restaurants & Cafeterias
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Andes General information Premium Haciendas
Northern Andes Map Premium Services Quito This Month’s Agenda Premium Handicrafts & Art Premium Hotels Map Restaurants Food & Drinks Premium Services Interview of the Month: Noé Carmona Central Andes Map Premium Services Southern Andes Map Cuenca Map Premium Hotels Premium Restaurants Premium Services This Month’s Novelties Cuenca’s surroundings Loja Map Premium Hotels Amazonia General information Important tips and recommendations Premium Lodging AmaZOOnico: Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Ecuador by Train
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GUSTAVO VALLEJO P. Director
THE MOST COMPLETE GUIDE OF ECUADOR SINCE 1968
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8500 COPIES This is Ecuador is protected by law as intellectual property. Registration No. 9, page 3422; February 25, 1969. Total or partial reproduction as well as the use of photographs must be authorized by Gustavo Vallejo Pérez.
This Month’s Cover Illustration inspired in the exuberant nature of the town of Baños (Central Andes) and its surroundings, crowned by the active Tungurahua Volcano. Baños is one of Ecuador’s favorite vacation spots both for national and international visitors. It offers stunning Andean landscapes, tropical forests and bountiful waterfalls, as well as a large array of activities ranging from adventure sports to unique SPAs. Food and lodging are found for all tastes and budgets. For more information about Baños and the Central Andes see pages 90-93. This month we recommend Samari Spa & Resort in Baños: an antique family country house transformed into a resort that stands out for its first class facilities and beautiful gardens, as well as excellent service designed to offer guests a most relaxing and indulging experience. For more information see pages 14 and 15.
Quito: Whymper 777 y 6 de Diciembre Phone: (593 2) 290-8200 / 255-2177 Guayaquil Edificio Trade Building Of. M24 Av. Joaquín Orrantia & Av. Leopoldo Benítez Phone: (593 4) 263-9214 (593 9) 9858-4053 firstname.lastname@example.org www.exploringecuador.com Visit our website and virtual magazine at:
Editor’s Note This is Ecuador is a complimentary guide. It should not be sold by any means. All of the tourist sites that appear on this magazine have been visited by our editors. Moreover, our commercial staff has previously evaluated the tourist services that appear on our publication. If any of these services does not meet your expectations, please let us know. Read our entire guide at www.thisisecuador.com. You can learn about our wonderful country and book premium services through our e-guide. Comments/suggestions: email@example.com Phone number in Quito: (593 2) 290- 8200 We appreciate your opinion.
Ecuador has the greatest biodiversity per area in the world! In a study by Conservation International, Ecuador ranked among the 17 “Mega Diverse” countries, alongside the United States, China, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. With 9.2 species per km2, it occupies the first place in the world in regards to species per area. The richness of Ecuador lies in its DIVERSITY, both natural and cultural. Ecuador has 4 diverse and unique regions: the Amazon Rainforest, the highland Andes, the Coast, and the Galapagos Archipelago. These four regions are subdivided into provinces. Besides its exuberant biodiversity, Ecuador is home to an impressive variety of ethnic groups, including communities which still practice ancient cultural traditions (for more information see page 18).
LOCATION: Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in America. It lies on both the Northern and the Southern Hemispheres and is divided by the Equator, thus the name of the country. It borders Colombia (North), Peru (South and East), and the Pacific Ocean (West).
AREA: about 270.670 km2 or 168.186 square miles.
DISTANCE FROM NORTH TO SOUTH: 1.081 km or 672 miles.
POPULATION: approximately 14 million.
LANGUAGE: The first language is Spanish, however, most of the indigenous population speaks Quichua. There are 18 different languages among native communities.
PROVINCES: - Galapagos - Coast: Esmeraldas, Manabi, Los Rios, Guayas, Santa Elena, El Oro. - Andes: Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Bolivar, Chimborazo, Cañar, Azuay and Loja. - Amazonia: Sucumbios, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe.
RELIGION: 95% Catholic. CURRENCY: American Dollar. The Ecuadorian government has also produced a series of local coins that have the same value as the U.S. coins (which are also accepted). Banks are open from 9h00 to 17h00 and on Saturdays only half day. Money exchange is offered every day in main hotels.
Democratic. Current President is Economist Rafael Correa Delgado.
CLIMATE: The climate throughout the country ranges from tropical equatorial rain in the Amazon to perpetual snow on the top of the mountains. Cities in the highlands have temperatures that vary from 50ºF to 70ºF, while coastal cities’ temperatures vary from 60ºF to 80ºF during the day. The weather in the jungle is constant: rainy, humid and warm. The Galapagos Islands are sunny and warm during the months of December-May; the temperature drops from June to November. WHAT TO WEAR: • In Quito and the highlands the weather is very unpredictable. A common saying is that you can live the four seasons in one day: from intense sun to hail. One needs to look out the window before deciding what to wear each day. During June, July and August the weather is sunnier but windy. During the rest of the year you need warmer clothing such as what you would wear during the fall. A raincoat or jacket is useful all year long, since at night it gets pretty chilly. 5
• Guayaquil and other coastal cities: wear summer clothing all year round. During the rainy months, December to May, the weather is still very warm. During the months of June through November the weather is cloudy and a bit colder. Bring along a light jacket. • Galapagos: wear comfortable walking shoes and casual clothing. Shorts, t-shirts and summer clothing will be just fine. Don’t forget a hat, a camera, sun block, and a bathing suit. During the months of June to November the weather is cloudy and a bit colder. Bring along a light jacket. • Amazon or Jungle: wear clothing suitable for rain. If you can get yourself a raincoat (poncho), take it with you, as well as several sets of light pants and long sleeve shirts. Shorts are less useful because of the insects and abundant vegetation that you will walk through on your excursions. A hat, rubber boots and insect repellent are also a must.
TOURIST VISA: Visitors can stay up to 90 days without a visa.
TAXI RATES: The minimum rate throughout the country is $1. A 10minute ride is approximately $2 to $5, depending on the distance covered in this time. TRANSPORTATION: Main cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca)
have local airports serviced by the local airlines: Tame, Aerogal and Lan, in addition to international airlines. Bus lines offer land transportation throughout the coutry. Each city has its own terminal, with frequent departures to each one of the different provinces of Ecuador (For more information see page 8).
SUGGESTIONS FOR A PLEASANT STAY While the authorities are clearly making significant efforts, it’s necessary to take some precautions. We suggest some recommendations: • Don’t walk at night in badly lit areas. • Leave documentation and valuable things in your hotel room or in the safety deposit boxes. • Carry your backpack at the front, especially if you are carrying a photo camera. • Whenever you sit at a coffee shop, restaurant, Internet cafe, phone booth or any open space, keep your things next to you. • Be aware if someone comes suspiciously too close to you. • Don’t allow any stranger to enter into your room. • It’s recommended not to visit any plaza too late at night. • If you travel on a bus, don’t receive any candy or papers from strangers. • When you are at the airport, pay special attention to your belongings.
• Be careful any time you go to an ATM; it’s better if you go during the day. • Don’t let strangers offer you accommodation. Consult a travel agency.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING ASEGUIM is the association of mountain climbing guides of Ecuador. We recommend that if you plan to do mountain climbing at any level, you contact them to access professional and certified guides. They also offer rescue operations. Phone: (02) 222-2954, cel 099 9822 363, www.aseguim.org
OFFICE OF TOURISM PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: The highest duty of the Ecuadorian Republic is to respect and support human and personal rights; they offer judicial safety to tourists who visit the country. It is free. Monday thru Friday from 8h00 to 12h00 and from 14h00 to 18h00. Quito: 02 2905-053 Guayaquil: 04 2320-685 Cuenca: 07 2844-282 Galapagos, Santa Cruz Island: 05 2526-048 Loja: 07 2572-668 Puyo: 03 2883-767
EMBASSIES & CONSULATES Argentina
Quito - 593 2
Guayaquil - 593 4
Amazonas Ave. 477 & Roca Phone 2562292
Ave. Las Monjas N.10 & Carlos Arosemena Edif. Hamburgo P.B. Phone: 2208777 - 769
Cuenca - 593 7
Gaspar de Villarroel E9-53 & Av. de Los Shyris Phone: 2469700 República Del Salvador 1082 & Naciones Unidas / Phone: 2276145 / 2273910 / 2273338
Circunvalación Sur 718 & Guayacanes (Urdesa) / P: 2384886
Amazonas N39-123 & José Arizaga Edif. Amazonas Plaza Ph: 2277000 Av. Amazonas N41-53 & UNP Edificio Eurocenter 3rd floor Ph: 2455499 / Fax: 2277672
C.C. Dicentro Locales 33-34 Ph: 2277065 / 6017484
Juan Pablo Sanz 3617 & Amazonas Edif. Xerox / Phone: 2453327
Ave. 9 de Octubre & Malecón Edif. La Previsora 23th floor Of. 2303 / Phone: 2562-995
Atahualpa 955 & República Edificio Digicom Phone: 2458012
Francisco de Orellana, Edificio WTC Torre B / Phone: 2630674
Javier Arauz 111 y Germán Alemán Phone: 2252330 / Fax: 2252330
Tarqui E4-56 & 6 de Diciembre Phone: 2225240 / 2509501
General Leonidas Plaza 107 & Patria Phone: 2943800
José Mascote 909 & Hurtado Phone: 2328442
Gran Colombia 661 Mezanine Phone: 2837693
Naciones Unidas Edif. City Plaza, 14th floor / Phone: 2970820
Ave. Las Monjas #10 & Carlos Julio Arosemena Edif. Berlin / Ph: 2206867 - 8
Bolivar 918 & Benigno Malo Phone: 2822783 / 2838836
Naciones Unidas Edif. City Plaza 14th floor / Phone: 2970800 / 801
Gral. Cordova 623 & Padre Solano Phone: 2560400 / 2563850
Av. Coruña E25-58 & San IgnacioEdif. Atana 5th floor / Phone: 3971500 / 55
Av. 9 de Octubre 729 & Boyacá Phone: 2534503
La Isla 111 & Humberto Albornoz Phone: 2561077-4
P. Icaza 423 entre Córdoba & B. Moreno / Phone: 2568358 / 62
Amazonas Ave. N39-123 & Arízaga / Phone: 2278700
Km. 11.5 Vía Daule Phone: 2100600 ext 212
Ave. 12 de Octubre & Cordero Edif. WTC Tower B 3th floor / Ph. 2909227
Av. 6 de Diciembre N36-165 & NNUU / Phone: 2923770 / 71
República Del Salvador N34-361 & Irlanda / Phone: 2468410 / 11 / 04
Francisco de Orellana 501 Edif. Centrum 14th floor / Phone: 2280135 / 2280114
Reina Victoria 462 & Roca Phone: 2526361 / 2554510
Av. del Bombero Km. 7 1/2 vía la costa Phone: 3731540
La Pinta 455 & Amazonas Phone: 2555733 / 3226296
Velez & Tungurahua Esquina Phone: 6017460
Amazonas N35-17 & Juan Pablo Sanz Edif. Xerox 2nd floor / Phone: 2434949
Juan Tanca Marengo Ave. Km 1.8 Phone: 2599900 Ext. 034
Sebastián de Benalcazar N9-28 entre Oriente & Esmeraldas / Ph: 2511490
Urb. El Rio #120. Km 1 1/2 vía Samborondón / Ph: 2830210
Avigiras E12-170 & Eloy Alfaro Phone: 3985000
9 de Octubre Ave. & García Moreno Phone: 2323570 / 2327663
Av. 6 de Diciembre 2816 & Paul Rivet / Phone: 2563762
Junín 114 & Malecón Phone:2311058 / Fax: 2563952
Ave. Amazonas 30-240 & E. Alfaro Phone: 2557209 / 2554483
Chile 329 & Aguirre Phone: 2326600 / 2326579
Austria Belgium Brazil Canada
José A. Campos (Zaruma) 101 & García Avilés / Phone: 2310505 Gill Ramirez Dávalos 1434 y Turuhuaico / Phone: 4089054
Ave. Juan Tanca Marengo & Ave. J. Orrantea / Ph: 2158333 Ave. José Peralta & 12 de Abril Edif. Acrópolis Phone: 4103630
Gran Colombia & Luis Cordero Edif. El Dorado / Phone: 2832807
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION
225-7533 / 4
LOCAL AIRLINES 1-800 2376425 1800-842526 397-7100
United 230-3211 216-9081
1800-842526 259-8060 / 2169-240
216-9051 / 216-9052 1800-008222
GROUND TRANSPORTATION Quitumbe:
382-4793 / 813
247-2751 255-9428/382-4751 382-4850/382-4875 222-5315/382-4831
282-3060 262-5895 / 262-2577 262-0963
CAR RENTALS Avis Rent a Car
AIRPORT SHUTTLES & VIP LIMOUSINE SERVICE H.A.T.S.
Freedom Bike Rental
MOTORCYCLE RENTALS USEFUL NUMBERS 395-4200
/ 258-2482 8
LAND DISTANCES (KM) www.budget-ec.com
Travel through Ecuador with
HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY Monolith, Valdivia South Coast // 4000 BC â€“ 1500 BC 17,7 x 13,7 cm
Stone Ancestors In primordial times, the first mythic beings emerged from a tunnel onto the surface of the Earth. Artists in the past commemorated these ancestors by portraying them in pillars of stone: the tapered end was buried in the ground at an appropriate location in the sacred landscape, thus expressing the precise moment that these original beings exited the center of the cosmos and appeared in our world. Many indigenous Americans manipulate the bones of their dead, and even today some people customarily keep the bones of their relatives in their houses for protection. Ancestor figures may have had the same significance: stone, like dry bone, evokes the power of the spirit world. Craftsmen employed great artistry in transforming stone, a material intrinsically endowed with cosmic energy. Frequently, souls were represented by stones because that material protected them. This explains why we find great rocks, in many regions of the Andes, that were and are venerated as the compressed of immortal ancestors, mythic heroes, and other spirits. Objects fashioned of stone always evoke spirits and therefore are of great
value in curing the sick, and they serve also as appropriate offerings for the inhabitants of other worlds. In Ecuador, small stone figures disappeared at some point in the Valdivia period, but Valdivians of the late phase created innovative larger stone sculptures, refined and varied in style, whose manufacture persisted as later cultures developed. In order to communicate their power, primordial beings were portrayed as vertically oriented, with their feet in one world and their heads in another, thus representing conduits of vital energy. Sometimes these spiritual beings have human characteristics or bird features, but
they are clearly not natural creatures: rather, they express the forces that operate in the spiritual dimensions. People represented these creative forces in stone objects, like the ones exhibited here, because it was necessary to procure the constant flow of life force into our world. Figure that evokes the sun with its radiant aura. We are also reminded of original beings whose main elements are two piercing eyes. The cosmic power of the image is emphasized by red paint that originally adorned the surface of the piece. Text: Karen Stothert, expert from Museumâ€™s Guide
GALÁPAGOS: THE ULTIMATE ‘BUCKET LIST’ TRIP BY USA TODAY TWO NEW ‘IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS’ IDENTIFIED NEAR QUITO Aves y Conservación Foundation and BirdLife International designated two areas in the Quito Metropolitan District as Important Bird Areas (IBA): Mashpi-Pachijal and the micro- basin of the Chirapi River. The Mashpi-Pachijar area includes the parishes of Pacto, Ualea and Nanegalito, with an area of 37.070 hectares, which are home to 460 bird species, nearly 30% or the 1.660 species found in the country. Fourteen of these species are in danger of extinction and 36 are endemic. BirdLife International is the world’s largest nature conservation Partnership. There are 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide – one per country – and growing. BirdLife’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Area
(IBA) Programme aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for the conservation of the world's birds and other wildlife. IBAs are identified using internationally agreed criteria applied by local experts. They are the sites needed to ensure the survival of viable populations of most of the world’s bird species. They hold a large and representative proportion of other biodiversity too. BirdLife works with communities at IBAs to combine conservation with sustainable livelihoods.
The Galapagos Islands are the number 1 winner in the 'Best Bucket List Trip' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice by USA Today, followed by Alaska and African Safari. “Naturalists, old and new, who head off the Pacific coast of Ecuador to visit the isolated archipelago known as Galapagos find a microcosm of evolution. They experience some of the best up-closeand-personal wildlife encounters there are. Island-hopping adventurers snorkel with sea lions and turtles, watch the mating rituals of blue footed boobies, ponder the significance of Darwin's finches and walk across desolate lava fields,” cites their website. For more information, visit: www.10best.com
THIS MONTH’S RECOMMENDED
Samari Spa & Resort: Indulge Yourself! Every detail at Samari is designed to indulge its guests: from the comfortable beds and pillows to the peaceful gardens and wide offer of massages in the SPA. Moreover, its vast gardens with tangerine, guava and avocado trees, and surrounded by steep mountains, create a special ambiance charged with energy.
Samari is housed in an antique stone country house, which is believed to have been a Jesuit Missionary Center in the eighteenth century. The Jesuits were expelled from all the Spanish Domains in the late eighteenth century, and from then on this site was used as a country house by different families from the nearby cities of Ambato, Riobamba and Quito, until it was transformed into Samari Spa & Resort.
Probably Samari’s greatest asset is attention to detail and first-class service. At Samari you feel indulged and it is hard not to relax taking in the beautiful landscape, walking through the serene gardens, enjoying delicious food. Fresh fruit from the garden trees, and vegetables and eggs from the nearby countryside put a special homely touch to the delicious food served at the hotel. Every room welcomes its guests with a basket of fresh fruit, large and comfortable beds, and a Jacuzzi tub. But although you feel tempted to stay in your room, you can’t miss the peaceful gardens and the Spa. The Spa features a heated indoor pool, sauna, Turkish bath, hydro-massage, polar bath, individual sauna-boxes and much more. Different treatments offered include: body & facial, aromatherapy, chromotherapy, massage, and a variety of baths and alternative treatments with herbs and minerals from the hotel’s surroundings.
Samari also offers a convention center with a capacity for 280 people, and a smaller room for 30 people, both equipped with top-notch technology. Samari means "relax and feel at home" in the native Quichua tongue; and indeed this resort keeps up to its name!
BAÑOS DE AGUA SANTA Baños offers an array of activities! The town itself is charming and has a variety of excellent restaurants and cafeterias at affordable prices. The main park is always active with sales of the delicious “melcocha” (ahandmade candy prepared with molasses), inflatables, handicrafts, and much more. Baños has a population of approximately 18.000 people. Nestled at 1.800 meters (5.900 feet) above sea level, this town has an average temperature of 20°C throughout the year. The town is crowned by the Tungurahua Vocano (5016 m / 16500 ft), which is highly active. It is quite probable for visitors to Baños to hear and watch the volcano eruptions; which adds up to the excitement of this town. In Baños and its surroundings you can enjoy: hot springs, horseback riding, trekking, rafting, climbing, canyoning, swing jump, kayaking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, paragliding… and more! In the streets near the main park, you find several tour operators that also offer motorcycle, bicycle and boogie rentals. If you enjoy adventure sports… Baños is the place! And for nature lovers… in Baños and its surroundings you find over 60 waterfalls, lush tropical forests and
striking Andean landscapes. One of the main attractions is the “Pailóndel Diablo” waterfall. The name translates to “large dish of the Devil” and refers to the shape of the base of the waterfall. It is said that when observing the fall from the hanging bridge that is found nearby, you can observe the shape of the devil’s face on one of the largest rocks. These fall of nearly 80 meters (160 feet), is found a 30- minute car or motorcycle ride from the town. Then you need to hike approximately 30 minutes down an exuberant tropical forest. Near the waterfall you find a cafeteria and also a hanging bridge. Another great trip from Baños is a bicycle ride to the city of Puyo (approximately 5-6 hours depending on stops), already in the Amazon. On the way you encounter beautiful landscapes and a number of waterfalls.
People from Baños are devoted to the Virgin of the Blessed Waters, thus the name of the town is “Baños of the Blessed Waters”. They are convinced that the town will be safe from the eruptions of the nearby Tungurahua because their Patron Virgin protects them; and in fact She has. Despite the constant eruptions of Tungurahua, the town remains a favorite visiting spot for both national and international tourists,and a retirement haven for some foreigners that find in Baños a tranquil yet well-serviced town. The eruptions only add to the attractions of Baños! Useful information: Samari Spa & Resort
Adress: on the way Baños- Puyo Km.1 Phone: (+593 3) 274 1885 / 274 1345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.samarispa.com
MADE IN ECUADOR
Fine Aroma Ecuadorian Chocolate: A Delight to the Senses! Within the world of chocolate, Cacao Arriba is one of the most valuable fine aroma cacaos. This delicate fruit has been cultivated for over one hundred years in Ecuador thanks to its exquisite flavor and aroma. Although few countries in the world can offer a native cacao of such high quality as Cacao Arriba, national agriculture has reduced its allotted farm land, favoring inferior varieties or alternative crops. Facing these threats República del Cacao was born, a brand focused on 16
the production and marketing of dark chocolates made exclusively with Cacao Arriba. The development, investigation and determination of the brand is not only focused on the production of high quality chocolates, but extends into the fields and the joint effort undertaken by well over 1,800 farmers in the technification, care and improvement of farm
production and living standards of those who care for the future of Cacao Arriba. Thanks to the creation of a gathering center on the province of Los Ríos, República del Cacao, separates the seed according to its origin, to then be fermented in cherry wood drawers and sun-dried following traditional techniques, before beginning its transformation into chocolate.
As part of the progress of Cacao Arriba, the brand has created a chocolate bar focused on the producing community of Vinces, assigning 10% of the net profits from each bar to the improvement and modernization of the lands owned by this group of farmers. The effort of República del Cacao in the commercialization of their chocolates, as well as that of Ecuadorian products of the highest quality, is made through its ChocolateBoutiques. Their main store, located in Quito, in the intersection of Reina Victoria and Joaquín Pinto streets, also offers Cacao Arriba based dishes. The promotion of the brands’ products to local and international consumers extends itself to two stores located at the international airport exits in Quito and Guayaquil, showcasing the production process, the achievements accomplished by the country’s Cacao Arriba community and the quality of the products for sale.
The endeavor and relationship of República del Cacao, the cacao farmers and its clientele is focused on the quality of its products, community development and the trust that each chocolate that reaches the final customer reflects the work and passion that a group of Ecuadorians has set for the present and future of their country.
THE LEGEND OF CACAO ARRIBA BEANS The origins of the name “Arriba” given to the “Fine Aroma” Ecuadorian cacao
come from a XIX century legend that tells us about a Swiss chocolatier that while navigating along Guayas River, perceived a strong cacao scent. He felt so impressed by such special fragrance that he decided to ask some workers unloading cacao from their canoes, where does this aroma come from? They responded, “de río arriba” which means “from up the river”. Since then, this variety of cacao is worldwide known as “Arriba” becoming synonym for high quality and fine aroma cacao.
NATIVE CULTURES ECUADOR’S MOSAIC
America, erroneously called the “new” world, has a rich and ancient cultural tradition that is known as pre-Columbian. The conquering Spaniards saw the ethnic groups that still inhabit Ecuador today as “primitive”. In fact many people have a hard time understanding Native American culture. The XVI century Spanish tried to eradicate indigenous beliefs and customs. Fortunately, many ethnic groups retain their traditional way of life and belief systems. In the colonial era, the Spaniards imposed Catholicism. To this day, many of the indigenous cultures have adopted this faith. However, they maintain their original language, dress and artistic expressions. Especially in the rain forest, many ethnic groups are still isolated and have little contact with Western culture, and to this day, they main-
tain a way of life similar to that of their ancestors from over 500 years ago. In Ecuador, when we speak of mega-diversity we speak not only of our magnificent biological world, but we also refer to the human factor. Our ethnic diversity is rich, with characteristics influenced by the natural environment of the Coast, the Highlands and the Rainforest.
THE CULTURES OF THE COAST The oldest known cultures of America lived on the Ecuadorian coast (8800 to 3500 B.C.). The cultures that subsist practically intact to this day are: the Awá, the Chachis or Cayapas and the Tsachilas or Colorados. They live in the tropical rainforest of the west Andes and possibly settled there after escaping from the Incan invasion from Peru (XV C) or from the Spaniards (XVI C).
THE AMAZONIAN CULTURES Many archeologists maintain that some of the oldest cultures (over 10,000 years old) are actually from this tropical humid rainforest, impossible to reach for many centuries. In the “cosmology” of these indigenous groups, the human being is a part of the “Amazanga” (rainforest) and the human spirit wanders in this forest every dawn. The human spirit can enter an eagle or a serpent or a jaguar, each one a symbol for their nature, according to their beliefs. The rainforest provides their food, medicinal plants, and spiritual richness. To these people, the tropical rainforest is their home, their drugstore, their supermarket, and their church; thus their utmost respect for their environment. They are, according to modern world economical standards very poor. However, they have a rich spiritual
life and live in peace surrounded by their families, taking from nature only what they need for survival and taking time to meditate and enlighten themselves. To share a few days with them is an incredibly enriching experience.
THE HIGHLANDS The cultures of the highlands are by no means the oldest, but they are the most visited and well known, probably because of their geographical
location with easy access by roads and highways. Many communities that live in the highlands still maintain their cultural manifestations through dress, language (Quichua), and festivities. Just 62 miles north of Quito you can visit the Otavalo Indian Market, a must see for any tourist that comes to Ecuador. This market offers wonderful weavings, tapestry, rugs, bags, artwork and other products made by the indigenous community. These people are hardwork-
ing, skillful, and artistic. Families work together and then sell their work at the fair. Transactions take place quietly with bargaining on the side of the tourist. These are very proud people who have not lost their cultural identity despite the fact that mestizos and whites inhabit the city of Otavalo. The Otavaleños travel all around the world selling their goods.
NATIVE CULTURES’ DISTRIBUTION MAP
Sto. Domingo de los Tsáchilas
Awa Chachis Shuar Tsáchila Huancavilcas Épera Negro-afroecuatoriano Cofán
Secoya Siona Huaorani Ashuar Quichuas del oriente Mantas Záparo Quichuas de la sierra
NATIONAL PROTECTED AREAS AMAZING + DIVERSE
EL ALTAR . COURTESY OF MIGUEL DAVILA
With its relatively small territory (109.483 square miles), 0.17% of the planet’s land surface, Ecuador was ranked one of the 17 most biodiverse countries in the world.
Sites” by the UNESCO: the Galapagos Archipelago and the Sangay National Park (Amazonian region).
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR ALL THIS DIVERSITY?
On the following pages, you will find a brief description of Ecuador’s National Parks. You can locate these Parks on the map on the following page. As you may see on the map, besides these National Parks, Ecuador is home to an additional 21 National Protected Areas. The country also includes other important private protected areas and natural sites.
Firstly, the Andes mountain range dividing the country from North to South; secondly, Ecuador’s geo-
Located in the province of Manabí, Machalilla takes its name from one of the pre-Columbian cultures that inhabited this area. The Valdivia, Chorrera and Manteña Cultures also lived in this land of mild climate and extraordinary landscape. One can still visit archeological sites within the park. We especially recommend Agua Blanca and Salango. The park occupies 136,000 acres. Its yearly average temperature is 75ºF. The influence of the Humboldt Current in the Pacific conserves the amazing tropical humid and dry tropical forests.
Two of Ecuador’s National Parks were declared “World Heritage Natural
One of the main attractions of the park is “Isla de la Plata” (Silver
Ecuador holds more than 11% of all the land vertebrates in the world (mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles), 16.087 vascular plant species and approximately 600 species of marine fish. There is still a lot to learn about Ecuador’s diversity, especially concerning invertebrates and microorganisms. Among the “mega diverse” countries, Ecuador holds the greatest biodiversity of land vertebrates per area.
graphical location at the Tropic of Cancer, the warmest region of the planet; and finally, the influence of two oceanographic phenomenons: “El Niño”, the warm and humity current that comes from the North, and the “Humboldt” current, which comes from the South and is cold and dry.
PROTECTED AREAS 40
1. Machalilla National Park 2. Sumaco Napo Galeras National Park 3. Yasuni National Park 4. Cotopaxi National Park 5. Llanganates National Park 6. Sangay National Park 7. Cajas National Park 8. Podocarpus National Park 9. Galapagos National Park 10. Limoncocha Biological Reserve 11. Galapagos Marine Reserve 12. Antisana Ecological Reserve 13. El Angel Ecological Reserve
14. Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve 15. Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve 16. Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve 17. Los Ilinizas Ecological Reserve 18. Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve 19. Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve 20. Pululahua Geo-botanic Reserve 21. Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve 22. Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve 23. Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge 24. El Boliche Recreational Park 25. Santa Clara Island Wildlife Refuge 26. El Condor Bi-national Park
27. Cofan-Bermejo Ecological Reserve 28. La Chiquita Wildlife Refuge 29. Rio Muisne Mangroves Wildlife Refuge 30. Corazon Island Wildlife Refuge 31. El Salado Mangroves Wildlife Reserve 32. Arenillas Ecological Reserve 33. Parque Lago Recreational Area 34. El Zarza Wildlife Refuge 35. El Quimi Biological Reserve 36. El Morro Mangroves Wildlife Refuge 37. Esmeraldas River Mangroves Estuary Wildlife Refuge 38. Pacoche Coastal-Marine Wildlife Refuge 39. Fauna Production Coastal Marine Reserve Puntilla de Santa Elena 40. Galeras-San Francisco Marine Reserve 41. Yacuri National Park 42. National Recreational Area Santay Island 43. Pambilar Wildlife Refuge 44. National Recreational Area Los Samanes
the Cosanga culture are found close to this National Park. UNESCO declared the area surrounding the Sumaco volcano a “Biosphere Reserve” in the year 2000.
Island). It was named at the end of the XVI century, when the pirate Francis Drake took treasures from Spanish ships and hid them on this site. “Plata” means silver, but it is also how Ecuadorians commonly refer to money. According to the legend, much of this treasure was never claimed and is still hidden here. The Island is surrounded by coral reefs, so the marine life is exciting and plentiful.
You will find some excellent scubadiving services here. The Island has two guided hiking routes, both with awesome sights. You will find a rare colony of bluefooted boobies, masked boobies, frigate birds and albatrosses, as well as interesting plant life. Guides are well versed on the subject. To visit the park, one must purchase a 5-day pass for a fee of 25 dollars. With this ticket you can visit all the sites of the National Park.
With a surface of 507,181 acres, this National Park houses a wide diversity of ecosystems, ranging from high mountains to cloud and lowland forests. The park’s altitudes range from 1,968 to 12,792 feet. The NapoGaleras mountain range has various rivers and springs running through its deep valleys. The Sumaco volcano (12,792 feet) stands isolated from the rest of the Andes and is surrounded by lowland forest. This National Park is rich in animal species, including spectacle bear, bats, marsupials, armadillos, guams, and many bird, reptile and amphibian species. The most common plants found are cedar, canelo, and rubber trees. Native Indian Quichua communities and the archeological sites of
Yasuni is located in the Napo Province. With an extension of 2,426,281 acres, it is an important biogeographical area where endemic species of plants and animals have been preserved since the Pleistocene Period (20,000 BC). According to UNESCO, more than 700 plant species have been identified, together with 500 bird species and 200 different animals. The Napo River is the main access to the park. Recently, the Huaorani Indians who live here, together with environmentalists, have raised international awareness regarding the controversial petroleum exploration of this area.
4. COTOPAXI The Cotopaxi National Park is named after the highest active snow-capped volcano in the world (19,347 ft). It is located 37 miles from Quito. The Park includes 83,829 acres, and the altitude ranges from 11,152 ft to 19,347 ft above sea level. The Cotopaxi Volcano is one of the most important features of this park. It is the highest active volcano in the world. Adventurous professional mountain climbers are attracted to this site along with many tourists who take pride in attempting to reach the top. The volcano offers climbing experiences for all skill levels. The immense plain that surrounds the volcano offers a wonderful landscape with extraordinary geological conditions and numerous flora and fauna. This park is home to deer, pumas, condors, wild horses and llamas. The Limpiopungo lagoon, located close to the Rumiñahui volcano (15,492 ft), is a good place for camping. The Pucará Ruins are an Incaic fortress that should be visited too. At the foot of Cotopaxi you will also find an Incan Palace built by Tupac
Yupanqui in the XV century, turned into a monastery by the Catholic Augustinian Order in the XVII century. At this site you will enjoy an outstanding view of the volcanoes. Currently it houses a beautiful hacienda that offers excellent hotel facilities. Hotel Cuello de Luna (see page 93) offers exciting expeditions and excellent lodging in the area.
5. LLANGANATES This park is home to one of the most exotic and inaccessible regions in Ecuador. It includes rough moorlands, deep valleys, rivers, lagoons, and abundant waterfalls. Most of the park is covered by dense vegetation, and the weather is mostly cold and rainy. Cerro Hermoso (15,618 ft) is the highest mountain in the area. The most common animal species found are moorland rabbits, sacha (jungle) rabbit, and weasels. Other common species that are very difficult to spot are the spectacle bear, white-tailed deer, moorland deer, moorland fox, puma, deer, tapir, cock-of-the-rock, and the condor. Throughout history, explorers and adventurers have been attracted to this area in search of the elusive gold of Atahualpa, which according to legend is hidden in the Llanganates. Nobody has found the gold, however all visitors bear witness to the region’s mysteries, and keep the legend alive…
trekking, and climbing. The Sangay Volcano is off limits because it is in permanent eruption, but you can get close enough to take spectacular photographs. Native indigenous communities live in this park: Quichua- Canelos in the north and Shuar in the south.
7. CAJAS This National Park is only 21 miles away from Cuenca. It ranges in altitude from 9,840 ft to 11,480 ft. Its 71,186-acre area includes mountains and 232 glacial lagoons, connected to each other by small rivers and streams. Two of the rivers surrounding Cuenca, the Tomebamba and the Yanuncay, begin in this area. Cajas is home to mammals such as the white-tailed deer, spectacle bear, puma, paramo deer, paramo rabbit, and the Andean tapir. Some of the most important bird species found here are the caracara, the condor, the Andean toucan and spectacle duck. The most common vegetation includes: chuquiragua, paramo grasses, yagual (Polylepis), romeril-
lo, chachacoma, genciana, romerillo and the sarar. The Park also has some archeological Inca sites in the area of Molleturo, which historians believe to have been a ‘tambo’ (resting areas for the Inca couriers from Cuzco to Quito).
8. PODOCARPUS Podocarpus is located in both the Provinces of Loja and Zamora Chinchipe, with an extension of 351.436 acres. This park has two ecological zones, jungle and highland, both with great diversity of flora and fauna. Here you will find exotic orchids, bears, pumas, hummingbirds, toucans, woodpeckers and reptiles. It is the ideal place for botanical, ecological and zoological investigations. If you enjoy long walks, listening to the sounds of birds, running rivers, waterfalls and camping, then this is a place you shouldn’t miss. Photos Courtesy of Miguel Dávila, Marco Cruz & Ministry of Tourism
6. SANGAY Sangay is located between three Provinces: Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Morona Santiago and has an extension of 671,654 acres. Take the Pan-American Highway to Riobamba. When you reach Alao you may ask for tourist information at the park’s administration center- correct paths for mountain climbing, horse rental, etc. There are three main mountains in this park: Sangay (17,154 ft.), Altar (17,446 ft.), and Tungurahua (16,452 ft.). These mountains offer excellent opportunities for hiking,
A BIRDER’S PARADISE
The Cloud Forest: The Fascinating Northwest of Pichincha
The Equator – the name brings to mind rain forests, lush dripping forests full of wildlife, mystery and wonder! For some this may mean the wonders of the Amazon – but lush rain forests are also much more accessible – “cloud forests” (montane rain forests) are only one and a half hours from Quito. This fascinating ecosystem, literally cloaking the steep slopes of both sides of the Andes from about 1000 – 2500 meters, is amongst the most diverse ecosystems in the world. This is a true jungle with tall trees decorated with a carpet of delicate orchids, mosses, bromeliads, and other epiphytes. While in some ways similar to the Amazon forests, the steepness of the slopes means that the canopy is
very uneven, and hence more light penetrates to the forest floor, giving rise to a dense covering of vegetation there also. The steep slopes also give birth to myriad waterfalls, many of which have never been named – just an example of nature’s undiscovered treasures that await you here! The region of Nono-TandayapaBellavista-Mindo has been declared the first Area of International Importance for Birds in South America, and the area has achieved the highest single day bird count during the worldwide Audubon Christmas Count. So for a birder, this region has to be a prime destination. And every 200 meters or so drop in altitude means a change in the species of birds that live there. Consider that Ecuador, which only covers 0.02% of the earth’s land surface, holds about 10% of all bird species found on the planet – and it is not an exaggeration to state that an inordinately high number of Ecuador’s 1600 species of birds are found in the cloud forests! Just to mention a few, some of which are endemic (unique) to this region: Tanager-Finch, Andean Cock-of-the-
Rock, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Tanagers of all colors, Manakins, Cotingas, etc. And for hummingbirds, the number of different species in the Tandayapa and Mindo Valleys is perhaps a world record, with various places offering an unforgettable spectacle at very accessible feeders. Clearly the high diversity of birds is also reflected in the high diversity of orchids, butterflies, frogs, etc, etc. For the scientist, it is a certainty that new species are there to be discovered. And for the naturalist, every hike reveals new surprises. Take a trail with a guide or alone, walk a selfguided educational trail, perhaps find a spot to just relax and absorb the peace, the variety of bird calls, the remoteness of nature far away from your daily life. This region also is the home of the Andean Spectacled Bear, and although rarely seen, this is perhaps one of the most intriguing species of mammals in this area. Apart from the trails in the forests, there are places that offer displays of butterflies and orchids, with easy access and knowledgeable inter-
preters ready to explain the respective ecology. The northwest and its cloud forests are also a perfect area for adventure sports. Horseback riding, mountain biking, tubing or, during the rainy season, rafting in the rushing rivers, are just some if the varied options this region has to offer. Imagine a day speeding on your bike down a narrow mountain road with a bubbling stream following you as you ride, then a day hiking in the forest, then a day riding on a well-trained horse, feeling like a pioneer on the littletrodden trails that wind through the hills. And if you are a lover of natural swimming holes, there are various places near Los Bancos, Pedro Vicente Maldonado and Puerto Quito that offer sparkling waters amongst dense foliage, deep pools with waterfalls cascading from above, complemented by comfortable cabins nearby to let you unwind completely. At lower elevations, there are interesting opportunities to visit small scale
farming enterprises, with a fascinating variety of tropical fruits and the best cacao in the world. The forests also hide various littlestudied archaeological remains – the most accessible of which is the Tulipe Archeaological Site. Museum. A series of what were most likely ceremonial pools have been uncovered, and various “tolas” (mounds) are awaiting further investigation. What is doubly special is that this site of the ancient Yumbo culture is still little known, and it is an added fascination for the visitor to realize that he or she is experiencing archaeological discovery first hand. For more information see page 71.
Consider Ecuador’s northwest – the region of the two hemispheres (north and south) crossed by the Equator as a fascinating new frontier, with exuberant nature, fascinating people and culture, and comfortable, original lodging just waiting to be discovered by you!
Text and photos courtesy of Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
This archipelago is a living museum of evolutionary changes. Free and fearless animals, different from any others found elsewhere, make visitors wonder about their very existence on our planet. In 1835, Charles Darwin sailed on the British ship H.M.S. Beagle and visited the islands. The living proof that he found in this unique volcanic archipelago inspired his theory of the Origin of Species, which shook the scientific world. All those who choose to make this unforgettable trip can confirm his observations and studies. UNESCO declared Galapagos a World Natural Heritage Site in 1978 and subsequently a World Biosphere Reserve in 1985.
FLORA AND FAUNA: Galapagos is home to an incredibly high rate of endemic species. Among the animals found are the different species of giant ‘Galapagos’ tortoises that gave the islands their name due to the similarity of their carapaces to a British riding saddle called ‘galapago’ in Spanish. Galapagos is home to a variety of birds: blue footed, red footed and masked boobies, flamingos, frigate 26
birds, albatrosses, unique small penguins and non-flying cormorants, and 14 different varieties of finches. These various finches served as proof for Darwin’s theory of evolution from natural selection. Marine mammals such as sea lions, dolphins and whales are also found; as well as multitudes of colorful fish. The most distinctive plants are mangroves and endemic cacti.
ORIGIN: The islands appeared from lava eruptions that came from the bottom of the ocean and that rise as much as 2,600 ft. Lava from more than 2,000 craters has continuously altered the terrain of the region. Currently, the archipelago includes 13 large islands, 6 minor ones and more than 40 islets. Some of the younger islands still have active volcanoes.
WEATHER: December to May the weather is sunny and warm. During the months of June to November, it’s colder and drier.
LOCATION: 600 miles West off the coast.
NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE FEE: $100 for international visitors/ Comunidad Andina or Mercosur $50
AIR TRAVEL: There are two airports served by local airlines: on Baltra Island and on San Cristobal Island.
TRANSIT CONTROL CARD (TCT): In order to have a better control of visitors and migration to the islands, INGALA, the Ecuadorian institution that controls migration to the islands, introduced a visitor control card. The control card has a cost of $10, which must be canceled at the INGALA counters located in the Quito and Guayaquil airports.
CRUISE SHIPS: A cruise is definitely the best way to visit many of the islands in a short period of time. Tours are a minimum of four days. There is a wide range of cruise offers, from small sailboats for about 18 passengers to big luxurious cruise ships for more than 100 passengers. Contact your travel agency for more information.
LAND OPTIONS: THE OTHER GALAPAGOS Another way to visit the Galapagos is to stay in a hotel at one of the inhabited islands. You can travel from one island to the other by light aircraft or boat. The following towns offer facilities for tourists:
Puerto Ayora Santa Cruz Island HOW TO GET THERE If you hire a cruise, or stay at the main hotels on the island, they will make all your travel arrangements. If you are traveling on your own, book your flight from Quito or Guayaquil with LAN, Tame or Aerogal. The airlines provide a bus to the Itabaca canal (10 minute ride). From there ferries take you across the canal to Santa Cruz Island for 80 cents. To continue to the town of Puerto Ayora you either take a bus ($1,80) or a taxi ($15) for a 45 minute drive. Along the way you will travel from the arid coastal area through different ecological zones as you ascend to the highlands and then come back to sea level. The name Santa Cruz means Holy Cross. The first Spanish visitors gave this island a Christian name. This is the main port of entrance to the Archipelago and home to the majority of human inhabitants (aprox. 10,000). Puerto Ayora is the capital of the island, with exciting places to visit, travel agencies that provide visits to the other islands, visit to the highlands and the beaches, other special tours,etc. At Puerto Ayora you will also find excellent handicrafts, jewelry shops, art galleries, casual clothing, restaurants, bars, bike rentals, kayaking, diving and snorkeling services just by taking a walk down Charles Darwin Avenue. This Avenue goes alongside the ocean from the port to the Charles Darwin Foundation Headquarters. A visit to this scientif28
ic station is most interesting. Other tourist sites to visit on the Island are Tortuga Bay, Manzanillo Ranch, Las Primicias, Galapagos Magic, and the Ecological Reserve of Cerro Mesa.
CHARLES DARWIN FOUNDATION HEADQUARTERS A visit to the Charles Darwin Foundation Headquarters is a must for any visitor to Puerto Ayora. Here you will be able to discover the conservation efforts of the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park, and see the giant tortoises (Elephantopus geochelone) breeding center, as well as a small land iguana breeding center. You will learn about the breeding process of these animals in captivity, as well as other conservation efforts for these endangered species and varieties. During the summer months (January to April) we recommend that you take your visit early in the morning to avoid the heat and sun. Distances within the headquarters are short, so you can walk. On the route you will find Opuntia Cacti (Opuntia echios gigantean), endemic to the Galapagos. Be sure to look out for the tame finches and observe the variety of beaks that led Charles Darwin to his theory of evolution by natural selection. These headquarters are open Monday thru Sunday from 6h00 to 18h00. The visit takes approximately 2 hours.
You can find more information about the Charles Darwin Foundation at: www.darwinfoundation.org
TORTUGA BAY Tortuga Bay is a beautiful beach of fine white sand. From your hotel, for $1, take a taxi to where the path to this unique beach begins. A 2.5 km cobblestone path was built in order to reach the paradisiacal beach of Tortuga Bay by foot. A mysterious forest of the tall Opuntia Cactus and volcanic rock surrounds the path, and the view is overwhelming. Throughout your walk you will observe finches, yellow warblers, mockingbirds, and lava lizards. Feel transported to the time when the adventurers and pirates of the XVIII and XIX century visited these enchanted islands. Once your reach Tortuga Bay, you walk into what seems an infinite and desolate beach of white sand. Every now and then you encounter marine iguanas on their way in or out of the water.
OTHERS There are other interesting sites to visit in Santa Cruz Island, such as the lava tunnels, the twin craters, the grottos (crevasses with refreshing swimming water), Garrapatero beach, Rancho Manzanillo, Galapagos Magic, Cerro Mesa, and more... Be sure to ask you hotel about facilities to visit these sites.
CHARLES DARWIN AVENUE / PUERTO AYORA
THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
La Casa de Marita Solymar Hotel Galapagos Jewelry
THE GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE
KICKER ROCK - SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno San Cristobal Island This is the capital of the province, and has the second largest number of inhabitants in the archipelago. From 1836 to 1904, a large portion of the highlands of the island belonged to Hacienda El Progreso, with extensive sugar and coffee plantations owned by M.J. Cobos. Cobos made an empire of his hacienda (it even had its own currency). You can visit vestiges of this hacienda, and also coffee plantations that remain open to this day. The main attractions in the island are: the Interpretation Center; Ochoa Beach, Playa Man, Pitt Pint, El Junco lagoon (the only fresh water lagoon in the archipelago) and the Lobos Island. You will be surprised by the presence of sea lions in town. A highlight when visiting this island is a tour to Kicker Rock, a stunning rock formation surrounded by abundant sea life (especially sharks). On the same trip you can visit the beautiful Cerro Brujo beach.
Puerto Velasco Ibarra Floreana Island This enigmatic island is the least inhabited of the archipelago, in spite of the fact that it was the first one to be colonized, basically by national 30
and foreign settlers during the first decades of this century. Many legends have been written about its people. Floreana by Margarett Wittmer is a most interesting novel that describes the situations of these settlers! The main attractions are: the historical Post Office Bay and Asilo de la Paz, Punta Cormoran, Corona del Diablo, Enderby and Gardner Bay.
Puerto Villamil Isabela Island This enchanted town has a population of about 2,500, mostly fishermen. Close to town are several impressive sites: a path alongside a reef that is home to several white tip sharks- you can easily observe them from land; “Concha y Perla” Bay; a giant tortoise breeding center; and
the amazing volcanoes Sierra Negra and Volcán Chico. Sierra Negra has the second largest crater in the world, with a diameter of 7.46 miles. Volcán Chico has an overwhelming “lunatic” landscape with fascinating lava formations. It’s possible to horseback ride or trek around Sierra Negra’s crater to Volcán Chico. Isabela also has a flamingo lake and several beautiful trails along the way to the “Wall of Tears”. This wall is proof of the genuine human history of the islands. Around 1946, this island was a penal colony. Prisoners were kept busy carrying sharp lava rocks to form this wall.
GALAPAGOS MARINE RESERVE: The interior waters of the islands, plus those within 40 nautical miles measured from the baseline of the Archipelago, were declared the Galapagos Marine Reserve in 1994. This is the only protected coastal marine area in the East Pacific, and the second largest Marine Reserve in the World. There are many areas with small submarine volcanoes, which are important feeding zones for marine birds and mammals. Don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel with sea lions, penguins, a variety of colorful fish and even inoffensive sharks! Diving courses and tours are also offered for those who are willing to be adventurous! VOLCAN CHICO - ISABELA ISLAND
DIVING IN GALAPAGOS For many a Galapagos diving trip is the experience of a lifetime as it is one of the last places in the world where you can go diving with large schools of sharks. Although sharks may be the star of the show, these waters are home to much more: manta and leopard rays, dolphins, sea lions, penguins, sea turtles, yellow fin tuna, almaco jacks, codfish, leather bass and blue striped chub… just to name a few. An impressive number of large animals such as sea lions, rays, eels and sea turtles are seen on almost every dive. Found at the confluence of warm and cold surface currents and deep cold
upwelling waters, the Galapagos Marine Reserve is home to fascinating marine life. Its waters are rich with nutrients and the porous lava rocks provide small fish with the protection they would otherwise receive from a coral reef, which are few and far between in these waters. More than 2.900 marine species have been reported in the Galapagos, ¼ of which are exclusive to this reserve (endemic). Home to over 500 species of fish, 24 species of marine mammals, and 27 shark species including Hammerheads and the enormous Whale Shark, the Galapagos Marine Reserve is a World Natural Heritage
Site. Besides all this diversity, several land animals and marine birds depend exclusively on the Galapagos waters for their survival; thus, the conservation of the Marine Reserve is a priority. Galapagos isn’t just for advanced divers; these waters offer something for divers of all skill levels. Intermediate divers will be delighted by daily dive trips to sites like Gordon Rocks, Cousins Rocks, North Seymour and Floreana where hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, giant manta rays, golden rays, morays, fur seal and sea lions are all commonly seen. Contact our sponsors for more information.
THIS MONTH IN GALAPAGOS Max temperature Min temperature Hours of clear skies Sea temperature
30°C / 86°F 23°C / 73°F 6 25°C / 77°F
MARCH • The rainy season reaches its highest precipitation level. • Sporadic tropical rains, intense sun and hot weather. • Fernandina. Marine iguanas nest. • Española: March 21st, the summer equinox signals the arrival of the waved albatross. Note: The changes of strength and the limits of the ocean currents can affect the climate in the Galapagos; some of the described events above may differ. Source: www.galapagosexplorer.com 31
PREMIUM SERVICES - GALAPAGOS
Principal Colón E 10-53 y Caamaño Sucursales •Quito Quicentro Shopping Hotel Patio Andaluz •Pinsaqui Hosteria Hacienda Pinsaqui
•Guayaquil Village Plaza •Galapagos Av. Charles Darwin e Isla Seymour
email@example.com Tels: +593 2 256 3085 +593 2 254 1315.
The Ecuadorian Coast extends from the western slopes of the Andes to the Pacific Ocean. A lower mountain range crosses this region from North to South and it is full of alluvial plains. The Ecuadorian Coast was populated by the oldest known cultures of the country, such as Valdivia (3.5001.800 BC). Ever since then, the region has had the largest agricultural development in the country, thanks to the variety of natural resources such as water, wide plains and fertile soils. The Ecuadorian Coast holds three main ecosystems: the tropical wet forests of the north, the tropical savannas of the center and south east, and the dry forest of the west and southern peninsula. Throughout the coastline there are three additional important ecosystems: the mangroves, the beaches and the rock cliffs.
Two oceanographic phenomena influence the diversity that is found in the country and especially on the coast. The “El Niño” current comes from the North and is warm and humid. The “Humboldt” current comes from the south and is cold and dry. The weather in the Coast is mostly warm; however, there are two seasons, wet and dry. The first is warm and humid, and goes from December to May. The rest of the year is dry and cooler. The two seasons are clearly distinct from the
province of Manabi to the rest of the South. The northern province of Esmeraldas has warm weather all year long, and high levels of rainfall; thus its lush vegetation. During the months of the austral winter (June to October), the Ecuadorian coast has an additional attraction: the presence of Humpback whales (Megapter novoaengliae) that migrate from the Antarctic to tropical waters to mate and give birth to their calves. A favorite spot for whale-watching is the Machalilla National Park in the Manabi Province. The old road from Quito to the coast, the Calacali -La Independencia road, passes through some of the best bird-watching territory in the coun-
try. The other route from Quito is through Santo Domingo de los Colorados, set amid a broad sea of banana and oil-palm plantations, skirting a few tropical wet forests such as the little-explored Reserva Ecológica Mache-Chindul. It is home to the “Tsachilas”, an indigenous culture also called “Colorados” because the men of this culture have painted their hair red for centuries with a vegetable dye taken from the seed of the “achiote”. From Santo Domingo a network of paved roads connects to the major coastal centers of the country. From Guayaquil, you can begin a route through the coastline. The following pages will guide you through this route of beautiful beaches, culture and adventure. PHOTO: CRISTINA CASTRO
These pages guide us through the unique nature and history of the Ecuadorian Coast. You can fly either to Guayaquil, Manta or Esmeraldas and drive through the coastline. The following pages will guide you from Guayaquil, traveling Northward. Following this route, nature lovers have the opportunity to explore unique dry forests with their two contrasting seasons, cloud forests and their rare fauna and flora, dive within coral reefs surrounded by exotic sea life, admire the numerous bird species of the region, and submerge themselves in isolated and exotic beaches. The “Chongón-Colonche” Mountain Range at the north of the Guayas province has unique ecosystems with an amazing diversity of endemic plants and birds: one can climb from very dry forests at the coast to lush cloud forests at the top of the hills, only a few kilometers away. For those who are sports inclined, there are opportunities to fish, sail, surf, ski and dive.
In addition, Ecuador’s coastal provinces hold vestiges of an amazingly rich history. The most antique cultures of America settled here on the Coasts of South America. Finally, if you only wish to rest, suntan, and watch the sunset, along this route you will find suitable accommodations and services.
1. “REAL ALTO” IN-SITU MUSEUM: On the way from Guayaquil to Salinas, one can find this museum managed by the community descending from the “Valdivia” culture. The place resembles a ceremonial center of the human groups that inhabited this area from 4.200 -1.500 B.C. Open TuesSunday, 9h00-16h00. Admission fee: $1.00.
2. MUSEUM OF THE “LOVERS OF SUMPA”: Definitely worth visiting is this small but outstanding insitu museum, which is located at the antique settlement village of the “Las Vegas” culture (approx. 8.800
to 4.600 BC). The museum got its name because the burial grounds that were uncovered disclosed the skeletons of a man and a woman that were carefully buried together about 5-6.000 years ago. This museum is the largest cemetery of that time that has been excavated in the new world. Open Tuesday thru Friday, 9h00 to 17h00. Sundays and holidays 10h00 to 17h00. Phone: 294-1020. Free Admission.
3. SALINAS: Excellent accommodations are found in Salinas, named for the salt that extracted from the region. This site is a corridor for migratory bird and marine species. It is a favorite vacation spot for people from Guayaquil. The boardwalk of Salinas is a safe place that offers entertainment day and night. On the Malecon, you can visit the Naval Archeological Museum (open Wednesday-Sunday). This small museum displays the vast archeological richness of the pre-
LEGEND Atacames Tonsupa Súa Same Tonchigüe La Unión Punta Galera Galera Punta Tortuga San Francisco El Salto 11 Muisne
Bahía de Caráquez
Quevedo Pichincha El Empalme
L. de Sargentillo
Narcisa de Jesús
Capital of Province Cities / Towns Small Towns Main Road Secondary Road La Ruta del Sol
Typical food National Protected Area Beaches Airport Surfing Fishing Water Sports Accommodation Scuba diving
Hispanic cultures that inhabited this region. The museum also displays a representation of the antique “balsas” made from the wood of the same name, with great cotton sails that impressed the Spaniards because of their ability to travel long distances (Mexico-Peru). The museum also displays coins from the Spanish conquest, and some pieces from the “Lady Captain” galleon that sank in 1664.
4. BALLENITA: The “Farallon Dillon” Restaurant- Museum is found at the site. It has a wonderful viewpoint that is the perfect setting for bird and whale watching. The museum displays modern practical artifacts made out of antique marine pieces; most of the artifacts are for sale. 5. VALDIVIA: Close to the town are
a museum and an aquarium. The museum displays archeological pieces of the Valdivia culture. The aquarium is most interesting not only because of the display of exotic sea life, but also because the guides are homeless children; this job enables them to obtain an education.
17h00. Admission is free. For English guidance, you need to arrange in advance calling 2622956. It is worth visiting the three floors of this museum.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIGUEL DAVILA
6. MONTAÑITA: It is a favorite spot for national and international surfers and young adventurous tourists. This charming town offers a variety of inexpensive hostels, national and international food, and an exhilarating nightlife.
7. OLON: The wide beach of Olon is crowned with an outstanding Sanctuary, with open walls and a breathtaking view of the beach. 8. MACHALILLA NATIONAL PARK: This park has various attractions: Isla de la Plata off the coast of Puerto Lopez, Los Frailes Beach, the Archeological Site of Agua Blanca, Salango, and the Beaches of Puerto Rico and Puerto Cayo. For more info see page 20.
9. MANTA: Manta was always known for its important tuna fishing fleet, the production of vegetable oil, and the famous “Panama hats”. In the last years, the visits of cruise ships and the construction of modern hotels have transformed Manta into an important tourist destination. Moreover, many foreigners have chosen Manta and the nearby Crucita town as their retirement residence. The pleasant weather, easy lifestyle and affordable prices make of Manta an ideal place for retirement. Manta is a modern city, however, some antique bamboo and wooden houses still remain as a reminder of the old village. With an average temperature of 77ºF all year long, dry
weather and dry tropical forest in its surroundings, Manta is an attractive city to visit. Additionally, Manta offers first class hotel facilities and daily flights are available. The warmth and hospitality of the Manteños contributed to the rapid tourism development of the entire province. Delicious gastronomy is also one of the main attractions of Manta. Don’t miss the seafood “ceviches” or the exquisite “viche de pescado”. There is a wide offer of international food as well: Thai, Italian, Mediterranean and Sushi; all at affordable prices. Manta is decorated with a wide variety of tree species: ceibos, jasmines, almonds, rubber plants, acacias, and beautiful palm trees. The balsa tree (Ochroma logopus) is native to this province. Its light wood allowed the early inhabitants of the region to navigate large distances easily and rapidly. From history books we have learned that the golden jewels and decorations worn by the navigators caught the attention of the first Spanish visitors, who believed that the gold they couldn’t find in the Caribbean was in the South Pacific. To discover the ancient history of this places we recommend you visit the Manta Cultural Center. MANTA CULTURAL CENTER
Next to the Central Bank, just a few blocks away from the Oro Verde Hotel is this Cultural Center, open Tuesday thru Friday from 9h00 to 17h00 and weekends from 10h00 to
The museum holds an exhibit of archeological pieces of the cultures that inhabited the coast of what is now Ecuador in pre- Hispanic times: Valdivia, Las Vegas, Jama Coaque, and Chorrera. It is worth mentioning that thanks to the existence of balsa wood (Ochroma logopus) in the site, they were able to exchange products from what is now Mexico to Chile in gigantic wooden boats, which carried whole families bringing products throughout America. Frescos on the walls illustrate life at the time for a better understanding of the exhibit. The second floor holds an exhibit of contemporary Ecuadorian art.
10. BAHIA DE CARAQUEZ: The city of Bahía de Caráquez is named after the bay and the preColumbian residents who came from the sea and settled here. Because of the estuary and the Pacific Ocean around the city, the local nature offers fresh and salt water that allows diverse vegetation. In the area you can find mangrove trees, ceibos forests, and fresh water humidity such as that in La Segua Marsh. A few years ago Bahía became an eco-city as a result of its big Green Movement and because of the community effort to rebuild the city after suffering the earthquakes of 1997. Bahía de Caráquez is one of the few cities in Ecuador that recycles waste, serving as an example for other regions. Traffic is not a problem. Many residents and tourists prefer to use “ecological taxis” which are bikes adapted to transport two passengers. This keeps the city free from pollution and offers a peaceful place ideal for vacationing.
Isla Coraz贸n is a mangrove forest refuge comprised of 130 acres, home to one of the largest colonies of Magnificent Frigate birds in all of the South Pacific. Since 1998 the protection of the sanctuary is the responsibility of an adjacent community called Portovelo, that has a mangrove reforestation project. The residents are glad to show you around the island on wooden trails that have been built within the mangroves, as well as on boat tours around the island. La Segua Marsh is a fresh water humidity area of about 172 hectares. In La Segua there are approximately 164 bird species. Cerro Seco is one of the last tropical dry forests in the world. The Cabo Pasado: Is a remnant of pre-mountain forest which is a geographical transition between the Tumbesian region of dry tropical forest and the tropical rainforest of the
Choc贸 Region. It is the only area in South America where you can observe the flora and fauna of both tropical and dry forests coexisting together. It can be toured by horseback or hiking. You will likely see and hear howler monkeys.
11. ESMERALDAS: The Esmeraldas province in the northwest of the country is a tropical and warm region thanks to the Humboldt cold current, which comes from the south and drifts off before reaching Esmeraldas. This province is called "La Provincia Verde" (The Green Province) due to its exuberant vegetation, which also gave it the name of Esmeraldas (Emerald), the precious dark green stone. The Esmeraldas River runs through the province contributing to its paradisiacal tropical beauty, vegetation and fauna. Esmeraldas is a great tourist attraction due to its vast beaches, delicious local gastronomy based on
seafood and green plantains, and the hospitality of its people, amongst them being the jovial Afro-Ecuadorian community. A tale of the province tells of the adventure of a ship full of slaves that was heading toward Cartagena, Colombia and was shipwrecked at the coasts of Esmeraldas. These African people found freedom and attractive living conditions in Esmeraldas and settled there. This is a lively community with extraordinary musical manifestations. Tourist facilities are improving and inexpensive hostels, comfortable beach resorts, as well as cabins from budget to high end can now be found in Atacames, Same, Punta Galeras, Muisne and Mompiche, just to mention some of the favorite beaches in this province. Esmeraldas is a favorite vacation spot for people from Quito, as it is one of the closest beaches and the weather and water temperature is warm throughout the year.
PREMIUM SERVICES - ECUADORIAN COASTLINE
MALECÓN SIMÓN BOLÍVAR
Guayaquil, the capital of the Guayas province, is the largest and most populated city in Ecuador. Located on the Pacific coast, it has a tropical climate, and is known as the “Pacific Pearl”. It is the main port of Ecuador, thus, it is of great economic importance to the country. The city was named after an indigenous chief, “Guayas”, and his wife, “Quil”. Both of them chose to die before surrendering themselves to the Spaniards.
Francisco de Orellana founded Guayaquil on the skirts of the Santa Ana Hill on July 25th, 1534. On the top of this hill you can observe cannons that were used to defend the city from pirate attacks. A few houses preserve their original architecture, with defense walls facing the river. Many of these houses were built at different levels on the hill, very common for the Spaniards and Portuguese. The surroundings of the
city offer archeological sites of the pre-Hispanic cultures of Valdivia, Machalilla, Chorrera, Guangala and Manteña. The Gulf of Guayaquil, the river, the monuments, museums, parks, and its exhilarating nightlife are part of the attractions of this city.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS MALECÓN SIMÓN BOLÍVAR
On this 1 1/2 mile waterfront walk you’ll find entertainment, culture and nature! Malecón Simón Bolívar includes monuments, museums, gardens, fountains, shopping malls, restaurants, bars, an IMAX theater, as well as docks and viewpoints. Malecón Simón Bolívar is the largest architectural development in the last century of Guayaquil’s history (total surface is 4,942 acres). It runs from Cuenca Street to the south of the city, all the way to “Barrio Las Peñas”
to the north. Your walk up the Malecón Simón Bolívar will take you through three sections:
Northern This section has space for sports, entertainment, science, history and art. Children’s games, space for aerobics and skating, are all surrounded by the historical Plaza de Orellana, Plaza de la Pileta (water fountain) and Plaza del Vagón, with a wagon of an antique Ecuadorian train. In this section you will also find gardens that showcase diverse plant species of the Ecuadorian coast, and the Centro Cultural Simón Bolívar.
Central With the Civic Plaza (10 de Agosto and Pichincha) containing a gallery dedicated to the most outstanding personalities in Guayaquil’s history, this section is mostly historic. You can also admire other monuments:
Hemiciclo de la Rotonda
HEMICICLO DE LA ROTONDA
This historical monument is a spectacular semicircle commemorating the meeting of two Latin American liberators, Simón Bolívar and San Martin, when it was decided that Guayaquil be annexed to the Gran Colombia. The monument was designed and constructed by the Spanish sculptor Jose Antonio Holms and placed in 1937. From this historical site you can see the Rafael Mendoza Avilés bridge (the largest in Ecuador).
Moorish Clock Tower The clock was bought in England thanks to a loan given by Don Manuel Antonio Lizárraga, a rich Spanish merchant, one of the illustrious figures of the Independence. The clock was inaugurated in October of 1842 just after the terrible yellow fever epidemic in Guayaquil, the worst in its history. In 1903, the clock was moved, tower and all, from City Hall that was demolished to the Town Hall. However, from this location, the tolls that announced the hour could not be heard throughout the city, so two stories were built on to the tower.
In 1920, an Italian engineer built a tower of three prismatic parts entirely made of carved wood. Finally, due to structural flaws, this tower had to be demolished. At this time, the foreign colony residing in Guayaquil together with the City Council constructed a new tower in a pure Mozarabic Style. Also in this section you can visit the four sculptures that represent the elements of nature, as well as the Guayaquil Yacht Club and the Naval Yacht Club. From the pier, the Pirate Morgan Tavern Ship has daily departures for a cruise around the Guayas River. Services include a covered parking lot, security area, rest rooms and a first aid center.
Southern The old market is found in this section. It was inaugurated in 1907, and its authorship is attributed to the famous French engineer Eiffel. In this section you will find the “Club de la Unión”, the most traditional social center in Guayaquil. As you continue you will come to the Olmedo Plaza, where a monument of José Joaquín de Olmedo, a famous poet from Guayaquil and President of Ecuador
during the XIX century, is found. To conclude your visit through this section, visit the modern architecture of the new Bahía Malecon Mall, with its terrace of restaurants that offers a spectacular view of the Guayas River.
SANTA ANA HILL This unique hill with its charming and colorful houses is located in the northern part of the city. After climbing 444 stairs you will have the opportunity to visit many restaurants, shops and art galleries. There is also a small church to visit as well as a lighthouse that overlooks the entire city.
“LAS PEÑAS” NEIGHBORHOOD Adjacent to the stairway is “Las Peñas”, the first residential neighborhood of Guayaquil. Its wooden houses hold treasured memories from writers and poets that inhabited this area. Although it existed since colonial times, “Las Peñas” was completely destroyed due to a fire in 1896 (“El Incendio Grande”). It was rebuilt in a neoclassic style. Enjoy a stroll along the charming cobble stoned street “Numa Pompillo Llona”, full of small art galleries. Here you can also witness the influence of the Pacific Naval Yards from the Spanish colonial times.
influence. Beautiful stretches of palm trees lead to the grave of the past president, Vicente Rocafuerte.
SPORT CENTERS Guayaquil is famous for its great sport facilities, including one of the 20 largest soccer stadiums in the world, “Isidro Romero” (seats 85,000 people). This stadium is located at Del Bombero Av. The city also hosts a modern horse track with races every weekend- the Hipódromo Buijo (Samborondón). There are also tracks for go-kart, bicycle, motorcycle and car races; as well as basketball, golf and polo courts and great water sport facilities.
WE ALSO RECOMMEND THAT YOU VISIT
MALECÓN “EL SALADO” This waterfront walk offers entertainment, culture and nature. At El Salado you will find a variety of restaurants and bars to chose from; handcraft shops and entertainment for children. Fridays, Weekends and holidays at 19h30 and 20h30 there is a “Light and Sounds Show” at the Fountain. It is located at 9 de Octubre & La Ria.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN GUAYAQUIL CENTENARIO PARK The park is located at the heart of the city and is also one of the largest in Guayaquil. There are bronze monuments, which represent heroism, justice, patriotism, and freedom. One monument representing the man who fought for independence was designed by a Spanish Sculptor, Agustin Querol, and built by José Monserrat in 1818.
SEMINARIO PARK Also known as the Bolívar Park or Iguanas Park, it is located on Chile Street between 10 de Agosto and Clemente Ballén Avenues. The park 42
was inaugurated on July 24, 1880. You can admire the statue of the liberator Simon Bolívar. This park is exceptional for its wildlife. You will see fish, a variety of birds, and numerous iguanas. The iguanas of the park have always been one of its main attractions. These animals chose this place to feed on its vegetation, as the town of Guayaquil used to end at this park, the rest being savannah.
The “Guayas and Quil” Monument (Las Americas Ave.), the Municipality Palace (Pichincha 605 and 10 de Agosto), the Governor’s Palace (Malecón and Aguirre), Sucre Square (Pichincha and Clemente Ballén), Rocafuerte Square (Rocafuerte and Junin), and the Planetarium (via Puerto Marítimo).
CENTRO CIVICO This modern center has an information office for tourists, exposition halls, convention halls, and other large areas for musical events, concerts, theaters, and other cultural events. On the upper floor of the civic center one can admire outstanding sculptures of Oswaldo Guayasamin. This center has an artificial lake surrounded by exuberant vegetation. Address: Quito St, between El Oro y Venezuela.
GENERAL CEMETERY Although few cemeteries can be considered a tourist attraction, this one is worth admiring. It has outstanding sculptures made of white marble. The style has a strong Italian
SANTA ANA HILL
THE CATHEDRAL This Neo-Gothic Cathedral was built in 1948. The main altar is made of marble from Cuenca and its stained glass windows are beautiful works of art. It is located on the corner of Chimborazo and Clemente Ballén Avenues. Visiting hours: 9h0012h00, and14h00-17h00 everyday.
This church is the oldest in Guayaquil, built in the 16 Century. It was later restored in 1938. It is decorated with the famous paintings of Salas. It is located on Rocafuerte and Coronel Ave. Visiting hours: 8h00 to 18h00.
It has a gothic style and a gold covered altar. It is located on Rendón and Pedro Carbo Ave. Open Monday thru Friday 7h-12h00 and 18h19h30. Saturdays 7h-10h00 and 18h-20h00. Free admission.
MUSEUMS CENTRO CULTURAL SIMÓN BOLÍVAR The Centro Cultural Simón Bolívar houses a Museum of Archeology and Contemporary Art, which is currently closed for refurbishments. The library is open, and it holds 20.000 publications specializing in art, archeology and anthropology. A cinema with capacity for 380 people is also open. Open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10h00 to 17h00, Sundays and holidays from 11h00 to 15h00.
able pre-historic gold work collection in Ecuador. Most pieces were made by the indigenous inhabitants of our coast. You will see ceremonial pots, snake-shaped bracelets, nose rings, gold pieces that were used on the lips and cheeks, elaborate pins used to fasten clothing, chest shields, ceremonial masks and earrings. The abundance of gold provoked the greed of the Spanish conquerors, who hoarded and sent vast quantities of this precious metal back to Spain. Thus, gold workmanship disappeared due to the Indigenous belief that gold was evil, being the main cause of having Spaniards come to their lands. Archeological objects such as the “Ocarinas” (clay whistles), stone headrests, molds for gold masks and clay seals, apparently have Egyptian influence. There are many colonial paintings from anonymous authors and from wellknown artists of this period (such as Goribar and Rodriguez). Address: 9 de Octubre 1200 & Pedro Moncayo.
Address: Malecon Simon Bolivar and Loja (at the Northern part of the Malecon 2000, next to the Imax theater).
Open Tuesday thru Friday from 10h-18h00, Saturdays 9h-15h00. Admission fee: $1 adults, $0.50 children, senior citizens and students. Phone: 2300500 / 2304998.
CASA DE LA CULTURA
GUAYAQUIL IN HISTORY
This museum holds the most valu-
Located at Malecon 2000 under the
IMAX Theater, this didactic museum holds a miniature exhibit of the most remarkable scenes of Guayaquil’s history. It is an auto-guided museum (in Spanish) with entertaining explanations and lively music. Open Mondays thru Fridays from 16h00 - 18h00. Saturdays and Sundays from 9h00 - 18h00. Admission fee: $2,00 adults, $1 children. Phone: 2563078.
THE MUNICIPAL MUSEUM This museum has four divisions: Archeology, History, Colonial Art and Modern Art. You will have the chance to see original “tzanzas” (shrunken heads.) The Shuar culture of the southeast used to shrink their enemy’s head to keep the bad spirits away from them. These miniature heads would not lose their original features when reduced. The mystery of this process has not yet been discovered. Even though the Shuar culture is still alive, the shrunken head tradition is not. Located at the corner of Sucre Street and Pedro Carbo. Visiting hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 9h00 to 17h00. Free admission. Identification document is required. Phone: 2599100.
belong to three historical periods: Formative (4,200 B.C. – 500 B.C), Regional Development (500 B.C. – 500 A.D.) and Integration (500 A.D.- 1530 A.D.). Open Tuesday thru Saturday from 9h00 to 17h00. Holidays from 10h00 to 15h00. Free admission. Guide service both in English and Spanish. Address: corner of 9 de Octubre and Carchi. Phone: (04) 229 3423.
NAVAL MUSEUM “ALMIRANTE ILLINGWORTH” Malecon & Clemente Ballen (Building of the Provincial Government of Guayas). Open Monday thru Friday from 8h00 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 16h00. Free admission.
THE FIREFIGHTERS MUSEUM “FELIX LUQUE PLATA” Located at the old water distributor in Plaza Colon, close to “Las Peñas” neighborhood.
NAHIM ISAIAS MUSEUM Located at the Plaza de la Administracion and part of the process of urban regeneration, the Nahim Isaias Museum’s vision is to promote colonial art through its cultural funds. The complete collection of the Museum includes 2.179 works of art. The second floor holds a permanent exhibition of colonial art. The exhibit is called “Cosmognias”, and is a didactical sample that integrates the most representative works of colonial culture. This exhibit consists of 100 pieces: sculptures, paintings, clothes and accessories of the colonial period. The exhibit is divided into four categories: Fire, Earth, Water and Air.
Open Tuesday thru Friday from 9h00 to 16h30. Sundays and holidays from 10h00 to 15h00. Free admission.
Address: Pichincha y Clemente Ballen Phone: 2324182, 2324283 www.museonahimisaias.com
PRESLEY NORTON MUSEUM “Villa Herlinda”, a two floor manor dating back to 1942, houses the delightful exhibition of “Life and Customs of the Settlers of Ancient Ecuador”. The charming setting and approachably small size of the exhibit, combined with the friendly didactic resources of touch screens and a video, make a visit to this unique museum a most pleasant experience. The museum holds a sample of 129 selected archeological pieces from a collection of over 8,000 artifacts that belonged to Presley Norton, a passionate aficionado of Ecuador’s archeology. The pieces
Open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10h00 to 17h00. Admission fee: $0.75 adults, $0.25 children. Phone: 230 8565.
SURROUNDINGS BOTANICAL GARDEN This garden holds approximately 700 plant species that have been cultivated to resemble their natural habitat. Among these are trees used for wood, fruit trees, ornamental and exotic plants. More than 80 species of orchids, both native and introduced from other tropical countries, can be observed. An exhibit of native medicinal plants of the Coast is also found. Approximately 75 bird species of the dry tropical forest fly freely in the garden. Jardin Botanico also houses a butterfly-breeding center, with approximately 27 species. Representations of the Valdivia, Manteña and Jama-Coaque cultures are exhibited along the internal roads.
Located at “Cerro Colorado” in northern Guayaquil, Ciudadela Las Orquideas, Av. Francisco de Orellana. Open every day from 8h00 to 16h00. Entrance fee: $3.00 adults, $1.50 students, children and senior citizens. Guide service is $5.00 for groups up to 20 people. Phone: 2899 689. Workshops and conferences on plant cultivation are offered.
CERRO BLANCO PROTECTED FOREST Protected by governmental decree and run by the Pro-Forest Foundation, Cerro Blanco protects one of the few remaining areas of dry tropical forest in Ecuador with a rich biodiversity, including jaguar, puma, howler, and capuchin monkeys, white-tailed deer, collared peccary, coatimundi and crab-eating raccoon. Cerro Blanco is a bird watcher’s paradise, with 211 species including 22 species of birds of prey and a small population of the threatened Great Green Macaw, the symbol of this Protected Forest. Cerro Blanco’s facilities include an outdoor amphitheater museum, 4 nature trails, picnic and camping area, and the Great Green Macaw Captive Breeding Center. From January to May, the view is completely green and abundant water allows bird nesting. From June to December is the dry season: the leaves’ colors change to brownish red, and trees flower. Don’t miss visiting one of the last remains of this unique ecosystem!
Located at km 16 on the way from Guayaquil to Salinas, in front of Roosevelt Academy School, it can be easily reached by buses of Chongon Company buses or buses that run from the land terminal to the coast, as well as by taxi. Open Tuesday thru Sunday from 9h00 to 16h30. Previous reservation is required for visits during week days. Free admission. Phone: 287 4946 / 7 – 099 4135 730 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org www.bosquecerroblanco.com Visits Monday thru Sunday from 8h30 to 15h30 without prior reservation.
HISTORIC PARK A natural habitat of mangrove trees, fresh waters of the Daule River, and tropical climate make this 20 acre park the perfect setting to bring the past back to life. In a single day visit, one can encounter the fauna and flora of the region in the “wildlife zone”, the history, cultural manifestations and rural life in the “traditions zone”, as well as the “urban-architectonic zone”, which holds original pieces from Guayaquil’s antique architecture destroyed by fires in the XIX century, bringing the city of the past back to life. On Sundays the Historic Park becomes livelier with cultural and festive activities. Music, traditional food, people dressed up in antique clothes, among other activities, add color and flavor to this cultural setting. Located only 10 minutes from the city, across the Daule River,
close to the residential neighborhood of Samborondon #3. Free admission. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 9h00 to 16h30. Guide service is available. You can arrange group visits by calling 283 2958 ahead of time. Transportation service is available next to the entrance of the MAAC parking lot in Malecon 2000 (Malecon & Loja St.).
PUERTO HONDO MANGROVES Through the formation of an Ecological Club, the community is making a united effort to conserve the remaining mangroves in the area. Among its projects, the club offers ecotourism opportunities. Visit this beautiful natural site with exotic flora and fauna! It is located 17 km away from Guayaquil, on the way to Salinas. Open every day from 9h00 to 17h00. Prior reservation is required for visits from Monday thru Saturday. Phone: 0991400186. The visitor can choose between a 45 minute trip through the water ($10) or adding on a visit to the Environmental Education Center ($15). E-mail: email@example.com Photos courtesy of: Municipio de Guayaquil & Parque Histórico.
HISTORIC PARK 45
CULTURE + ENTERTAINMENT - GUAYAQUIL EXHIBITS Open until March 16th Tuesdays to Fridays – 9h00 to 17h00 Saturdays and Sundays – 10h00 to 17h00
“Gallery Of Monsters” * Place: Museum Nahim Isaiah Free Admission Thursday 13th thru Sunday, March 29th
Art exhibit: Jorge Luis Yllescas * Place: Museo Municipal Open until May 2014
Wednesday, March 26th – 18h30
Thursday, March 20th – 20h00
Chamber Orchestra Concert * Place: Museo Municipal
Max the Magician
Thursday 27th – 18h00
Open Air Chorus Concert By “Guayaquil más ciudad” Chorus Directed by Astrid Achi
* Place: Seminario Park Tuesday, April 1st – 20h00
“Diabluras y Santerías” (Devilish and Witch C rafty) by Alberto Caleris
“The Colonial Latin American Iconography of Bethlehem: Among Children and Magicians” * Place: Museum Nahim Isaiah Free Admission
MUSIC Tuesday, March 11th – 20h00
“Evocación” Trio Three young talented musicians (two guitar players and one singer) interpret national and popular Latin American music. * Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15 Friday, March 14th – 18h00
Concert: Colegio República de Francia * Place: Museo Municipal Tuesday, March 25th – 20h00
VAM Jazz Quartet
* Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15 46
A concert inspired by popular Ecuadorian legends. * Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15 Thursday, April 3rd – 20h00
Contemporary Popular Music By Manolo Larrea
* Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15
Thursday, March 13th – 20h00
VideoSaxMachine By Sergio Dawi
An audiovisual show charged with melodies from throughout the world that go from blues to the folkloric, tango, electronic music and funk. Through an experimental use of digital technology, this spectacle manages a unity between music and image that transports the spectator to a unique journey. * Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15
Max Antón Dellepiane brings a unique show of close-by magic * Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15 Thursday, March 27th – 20h00
“Tiburón Martillo” (Hammerhead Shark) by Medussah Group A unique show charged with electronic sounds, lyric voices and rock. * Place: Teatro Sánchez Aguilar Admission fee: $15
Guayaquil Visión Discover Guayaquil on top of two- floor buses. Phone: (+593 4) 228 0732 www.guayaquilvision.com Fridays, Weekends and Holidays: 19h30 and 20h30
Light and Sounds Show At the Malecon del Salado Fountain IMAX Movie Theater www.imaxmalecon2000.com
* ADDRESSES: • Museo Nahim Isaías: Pichincha & Clemente Ballén. P: 232 4182 www.museonahimisaias.com • Museo Municipal: Calle Sucre, between Chile & Pedro Carbo. P: (+593-4) 2594800 • Teatro Sánchez Aguilar: Av. Río Esmeralda Km. 1,5 on the way to Samborondón. P: (+593 4) 209 7447
PREMIUM HOTELS - GUAYAQUIL
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS 1. Malecon El Salado 2. Las Peñas neighborhood 3. Santa Ana hill Malecon 2000: 4. IMAX 5. Moorish Clock Tower 6. Crystal Palace PARKS & MONUMENTS 7. Historical Park 8. Centenario Park 9. Seminario Park 10. La Rotonda
MUSEUMS 11. Casa de la Cultura
12. Municipal 13. Nahim Isaias 14. Naval Museum 15. MAAC 16. The Firefighters Museum CHURCHES 17. Cathedral 18. La Merced 19. Santo Domingo PUBLIC SERVICES 20. Post Office 21. Communications 22. Guayas Province Government 23. Municipal Palace
BANKS & EXCHANGE
HOSPITALS 24. Kennedy 25. General Hospital AIRPORT SHOPPING & HANDICRAFTS 26. Plaza Lagos Town Center 27. Village Plaza 28. Mall del Sol 29. San Marino Shopping
30. Plaza Quil 31. Policentro 32. Las Vitrinas 33. Handicraft Market Malecon Simón Bolivar 34. Handicraft Market Loja HOTELS 35. Sheraton 36. Hilton Colon 37. Howard Johnson 38. Sonesta 39. Oro Verde 40. Grand Hotel Guayaquil 41. Continental 42. Wyndham 43. Palace 44. Unipark THEATER Teatro Sánchez Aguilar
PREMIUM HOTELS - GUAYAQUIL
RESTAURANTS AND CAFETERIAS - GUAYAQUIL
Many of the provinces in Ecuador’s highlands are named after the most important mountain or volcano in its territory: Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, and Chimborazo. Most of the names of the mountains have their origin in an indigenous tongue, mostly Quichua. The word “Andes” itself comes from ANTI, which means “where the sun rises”.
The Ecuadorian Andes include several active volcanoes. Ecuadorians have witnessed and still can experience numerous volcanic eruptions. “Tungurahua” comes from “Tunguri” (esophagus) and Awa (fire); and indeed this volcano spits fire! It is an exciting experience to observe the volcano in action, and as for now it is safe, from a distance, of course. The town of Baños, a favorite spot for tourists, is located on the outskirts of the volcano. The Ecuadorian Andes are the only site on the planet where the Equatorial Line crosses over highlands; in the rest of the world, the Equator crosses through dense tropical forests or the ocean. The pre-Incan cultures that inhabited Quito and its surroundings developed their astronomical knowledge with the help of the clear landmarks surrounding the city. Alexander von Humboldt explored the Ecuadorian Andes and their valleys in 1802. He named them “The Avenue of the Volcanoes”. He believed that he had reached the highest point in the world when he attempted to climb the Chimborazo volcano (20,702 ft), since the Himalayas were still unknown in Europe at the time. If measured from the center of the Earth, the peak of the Chimborazo is indeed the furthest
point on the planet’s surface (because the Earth is wider at the Tropics). Ecuador has twelve peaks over 16,000 ft. The country offers opportunities to hike, trek and mountain climb for all skill levels. Ecuador’s Andes hold numerous breathtaking view sites: lagoons, extensive paramos (moorlands), and mysterious cloudforests… Moreover, the indigenous communities of the region are known for their colorful folklore and remarkable weaving abilities. Several activities can be enjoyed: birdwatching, biking, water sports on the lakes, interacting with indigenous communities, visiting rose plantations, savoring delicious traditional dishes, and much more. The colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca have both been declared World Cultural Heritage Sites. Within easy reach from these cities you can visit impressive natural sites.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING ASEGUIM is the association of mountain climbing guides of Ecuador. We recommend that if you plan to do mountain climbing at any level, you contact them to access professional and certified guides. They also offer rescue operations. Phone: (02) 222-2954, cell: 0999 822 363; www.aseguim.org
HACIENDA PINSAQUI (OTAVALO - IMBABURA)
HACIENDA CUSIN (SAN PABLO - IMBABURA)
First constructed in 1790, with three centuries of history, romantic Hacienda Pinsaqui invites you to be a part of its magic and legends…
Preserving a historic ambiance, Hacienda Cusin’s new English owner established a country inn of 45 guestrooms, suites and gardencottages. Cusin’s terracotta roof tiles, white walls, towers, cobblestone and fountain courtyards nestle beneath a deep-blue sky in a wide, pastoral, lake valley. Nearby Lago San Pablo reflects the 15,000 feet high Imbabura mountain. Located 90 minutes North of Quito and 15 minutes South of Otavalo, it offers: valley/mountain trails, horseback riding, mountain climbing, bird watching, volleyball and squash courts, game room, children’s playground, library, extensive video library, craft & market village tours, and Spanish lessons.
HACIENDA LA COMPAÑÍA (CAYAMBE- PICHINCHA) One of the outstanding features of Hacienda La Compañía is the house built in French Republican style, which dates back to 1919 and has been in the hands of the same family for generations. The charm of the house is complemented with the striking decorations of thousands of roses which are brought from the Flower Farm belonging to the same family. The owners greet visitors personally and serve breakfast or lunch with traditional ingredients and a homey feel. Visitors are then invited to the Rose Farm to admire the wonders behind all of those flowers back at the house: the people, the methods, the care in each detail, and moreover, the special awareness involved in the social and environmental processes.
Reservations & Information: Phone: (593-6) 291 8316 / 317 www.haciendacusin.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior reservation is required for a visit. Phone: (593 2) 224 7825 Cel phone: (593 9) 9769 4174 email@example.com
Hacienda Pinsaqui offers all the facilities for an unforgettable visit: 30 luxurious suites with fireplaces (some with Jacuzzi bath), restaurant, 200 year old gardens with an artificial lake, horseback riding, historical chapel, and a reading room with fireplaces.
Reservations & Information: Phone: (593-6) 294 6116 / 117 Cel phone: (593-9) 9972 7652 Address: Panamericana Norte Km 5 www.haciendapinsaqui.com firstname.lastname@example.org
PREMIUM HACIENDAS - ANDES PR
HACIENDA SAN AGUSTIN DE CALLO (COTOPAXI)
POSADA INGAPIRCA (CAÑAR)
HOSTERIA UZHUPUD (AZUAY)
Reservations & Information: Quito - (593-2) 290 6157 / 8 Hacienda - (593-3) 271 9160 www.incahacienda.com email@example.com
Reservations & Information: Phone: (593-7) 282 7401 / 283 1120 Fax: (593-7) 283 2340 Cuenca office: Calle Larga 693 & Borrero www.grupo-santaana.net firstname.lastname@example.org
Reservations & Information: Phone: (593-7) 222 8339 Fax: (593-7) 222 8373 Address: Km 32 Cuenca-Paute road www.uzhupud.com e-mail: email@example.com
One hour south of Quito nestled within the Avenue of the Volcanoes stands this unique hacienda, San Agustin de Callo, built on the site of an Inca palace, and one of the most important archaeological Inca sites in Ecuador. It is the point furthest north from Cusco of Imperial style construction and constitutes the only lived-in museum of Inca Imperial and Spanish Colonial style. The location of the site at the foot of Cotopaxi, highest active volcano in the world, near Indian villages and local markets, with its historical significance and archaeological value and its architectural blend of unusual styles contribute to make San Agustin a unique and magical place to stay.
Located in the most beautiful and mysterious region in the Province of Cañar, it is a charming and old country house situated 500 meters from the most important archeological complex in Ecuador. You can also explore the Incan and Cañaris ruins, where you can enjoy the Andean landscape, as well as the peace and harmony that nature has to offer. It is an unforgettable experience. Our establishment and staff strive to meet all the needs and any special requests of our clients. It specializes in traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. All rooms are carpeted, with heating & private bathroom. There is also a game room with a fireplace, green areas, bar and restaurant.
A wonderful place in the highlands of Ecuador. Hosteria Uzhupud is located along the banks of the Paute River, thirty minutes from Cuenca. Traditional colonial architecture and nature blend together to remind visitors of the pleasure and privilege of living. Uzhupud means “Hot Chili Pepper Valley”. Hostería Uzhupud is a delightful place to visit and stay. The “Hacienda” has a wonderful history and dates back over 100 years. Eulalia Vintimilla de Crespo, one of the family matriarchs, also produced a recipe book named “El Sabor de los Recuerdos,” quite famous in Ecuador. Enjoy her recipes in the restaurant Doña Eulalia.
THE NORTHERN ANDES
Mountains, Lakes & Folklore The Northern Sierra offers magnificent scenery of volcanoes, sparkling lakes and patchwork-covered hills. Taking the Panamericana highway north of Quito, the first highlight is the Cayambe volcano (18,997 ft), crossed by the Equator. This snowpeak overlooks the city with the OTAVALO
same name, which in the last decade has grown in importance because of the rose plantations. Flowers are Ecuadorâ€™s fourth largest export. Renowned in Cayambe are the home-made cheese and bizcochos (buttery biscuits). Further north is the province of Imbabura (see map on next page). A visit to Ecuador is never complete without at least a few days spent here, the province of lakes and mountains, inspiring landscapes and folklore. This province is only 50 miles north of Quito on the PanAmerican Highway.
ATTRACTIONS IN IMBABURA SAN PABLO LAKE This is the largest lake in the province. Indigenous people fish 58
early in the morning in their straw canoes, and also bathe and wash their clothes in this lake during the day. There are inns, farms and restaurants where you can spend a weekend or just a day full of entertainment around the lake. You can also take a boat ride around the lake, or enjoy other water sports such as sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, etc.
OTAVALO INDIGENOUS MARKET Otavalo is a small city of about 50,000 inhabitants. It lies at 8,300 ft above sea level in a spring-like valley, situated between the Imbabura volcano (15,118 feet) and the Cotacachi volcano (16,200 feet). The most famous indigenous market in Ecuador is held here. Although the market is bigger on Saturdays, you can visit it any day and find an impressive variety of all kinds of
Gas station Sightseeing Airport Archaeology Handicrafts Typical food Thermal Springs Capital of Province Cities / towns Pan- American Highway Secondary road
TOURIST SITES . LODGING
Cotacachi Leather Market
Hostería Puerto Lago
Hostería Hacienda Pinsaquí
San Pablo lake
Hostería La Mirage
Hacienda La Compañía
Otavalo Indigenous Market
Cuicocha lake 59
Ecuadorian handicrafts. At dawn you may see indigenous people arriving at the market place from many mountain trails surrounding the city. They come from nearby villages and towns such as Peguche, Agato and Iluman, to sell their products. One may visit the workshops of these local weavers working on back strap and Spanish treadle looms, as well as other artisans at work making felt hats, knitting sweaters or weaving straw mats.
COTACACHI VILLAGE This village is known for its leatherwork. You can find an excellent choice of jackets, skirts, boots, briefcases, bags, riding equipment and wallets. Cotacachi is home to the only high school in Ecuador that teaches leather work. They specialize in shoes, however, they teach the students to make all leather products.
CUICOCHA LAKE The crater lake has an impressive landscape of deep blue waters surrounded by hills. Take a hike around the lake (4 to 5 hours). If you are lucky, you will see a condor.
CONDOR PARK Just 3 miles away from Otavalo, the Condor Park was laid out. This thirtyacre park is managed by a foundation dedicated to the care and rescue of predatory birds such as hawks, eagles, vultures and owls. This park is unique in many ways. It is located on a hill known as the “Pukara Alto”, an energetic center since pre-Columbian times, where ruins remain of a religious pre-Inca CONDOR PARK
temple. The sights are amazing, 360 degrees around of mountains, lake, valleys and towns. Large cages are distributed along a cobblestone walk through the park to admire a variety of birds such as the Barred Hawk, the King Vulture, the Greater Red-Headed Vulture, the Spectacled Owl, the Arctic Owl, the Mottled Owl, among others. Finally, you will run into the large cage of the impressive but endangered Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), now easily bred in captivity. Open from Tuesday thru Sunday from 9h30 to 17h00. Admission fee: $3,50 for adults, $1,75 children and senior citizens. Phone: 098 431-1769 firstname.lastname@example.org www.parquecondor.org
SAN ANTONIO Shortly before entering Ibarra, a right-hand turn leads into San Antonio, the home of expert wood carvers. As you visit the various shops, you will marvel at their talent. Visitors can watch some of the craftsmen at work in their studios.
IBARRA CITY This clean, freshly painted colonial city, capital of the province, is also known as the white city. It lies at 7,000 ft, and has a population of approximately 110,000. Ibarra enjoys one of the best climates of the Sierra. Typical products include arrope de mora (blackberry syrup) and nogadas (a sweet made with walnuts). Don’t miss the delicious “paila” ice creams (whipped natural fruit).
YAGUARCOCHA LAKE This lake is only a short distance from the center of Ibarra. Its name means “blood lake”. Years ago, a bloody battle among indigenous peoples took place at this lake, thus the name. Now Yaguarcocha is home to an auto racetrack. Every so often international car racing events take place here.
ATTRACTIONS IN CARCHI Carchi is the northernmost province of the Ecuadorian sierra. The Province borders with Colombia.
EL ANGEL ECOLOGICAL RESERVE The 15,715 hectares of this Ecological Reserve lie at 11,950 to 15,640 ft. The paramo in El Angel is covered by gigantic “Frailejones” (Espeletia pycnophylla), a plant specie that is only found in the high paramo ecosystem. Another plant species in the reserve are the Polylepis trees, which have many layers covering their trunks for insulation. Given that the layers of these trunks are thin and can be torn like paper, they are locally known as “arboles de papel” (paper trees). El Angel is considered a water sponge as the area provides water for the entire province. Several rivers have their origin at El Angel and join together to form the basin of the Mira and El Angel Rivers. Beautiful lagoons are also found at this Reserve. Photos by: Ministerio de Turismo & Gustavo Vallejo.
PREMIUM SERVICES - NORTHERN ANDES
QUITO INDEPENDENCE SQUARE
“Quito, Ecuador was one of the shining stars on the night, capturing the title of South America’s Leading Destination..”, cites the website of World Travel Awards (WTA).
Quito: First World Heritage Site Photos courtesy of: Quito Tourism www.quito.com.ec
Besides its amazing landscapes, Quito is known for its treasures of colonial churches, paintings, sculptures and carvings. The Spanish Colonial Period extends from the XVI to the XVIII Century. Ecuadorian colonial art combines the European Renaissance and Baroque styles with the indigenous and mestizo influ62
ences. With the arrival of the Spaniards, the Roman Catholic Church became the center of religious instruction and the largest patron of the arts. As part of the acculturation of the indigenous people, the Spanish established painting and sculpture schools where Spanish artists trained the indigenous population in the arts. As a result, the Quitenian School (Escuela Quiteña) became famous in Latin America for its talented artists, including Bernardo de Legarda and the indigenous artists Caspicara and Pampite. Miguel de Santiago, Javier de Goribar, Manuel Samaniego and Padre Bedón were othe outstanding representatives of this art school. Scholars consider their contribu-
tions to colonial art as some of the most valuable in America. Thus, the UNESCO declared Quito a “World Cultural Heritage Site” in 1978. However, the history of Quito stretches far beyond the arrival of the Spaniards. Before the Spaniard Sebastian de Benalcázar conquered the city in 1534, the Incas had conquered it in the XV century. At the time when the Incas arrived, they found an organized civilization: the Shyris. Furthermore, recent discoveries have uncovered archeological sites that date back to 1500 BC. These archeological remains are aligned with the summer solstice and the winter equinox, demonstrating that the native people had an
impressive knowledge of the course of the sun. These cultures are believed to have migrated from the Ecuadorian Coast. Quitsato, the original name of the city, means “Middle of the Earth” in the ancient ‘tsafiqui’ language. Quito is the only site on the planet where the Equator crosses over highlands. On the rest of the Earth’s surface, it crosses through jungle or ocean. Therefore, the pre-Inca cultures were able to develop their astronomical knowledge with the help of the clear landmarks surrounding the city: the Pichincha volcano (15,000 ft) to the West, the Antisana (18,700 ft) to the east, and the peak of the snow-caped Cayambe (18,725 ft) to the Northeast, almost precisely on the Equator. The city itself emerges over 9,184 ft above sea level; it is the second highest capital in the world. Thus, Quito could be considered the best natural astronomical observatory. Quito extends along the Eastern side of the Pichincha volcano. The city is long and thin, with a length of approx. 22 miles and a width of 2-3 miles. The temperature in the city varies along the day… in the early morning and at night it can be around 10ºC, and at noon it can reach up to 25ºC. The geographical conditions of the zone give place to a number of ecosystems, thus, Quito’s surroundings offer a diversity of landscapes, each with unique flora and fauna.
SIGHTSEEING We suggest that you to begin your sightseeing at “La Plaza de la Independencia”, from where you can walk to most of the downtown sites. This main plaza is surrounded by four buildings that represent the four ruling powers of the colonial period: the Government Palace to the west, the Municipal Palace to the east, the Archbishop’s Palace to the north, and the Cathedral to the south.
THE GOVERNMENT PALACE It is not possible to visit the interiors of the palace, however, from the entrance door one is able to appreciate the Andalusian patios that have half-point arches and water fountains in the center. You can see a scale model of the Independence Square displayed at the entrance to the Palace.
THE CATHEDRAL This church holds an interesting collection of sculptures and paintings from the Escuela Quiteña. Among the most important is the “Descending of Christ” by Caspicara. It is a masterpiece of expressionism. As in most Ecuadorian and Latin American churches, many styles are used in the construction of the Cathedral: late Gothic in the arches, Moorish in the ceilings and Baroque in the main altar. The choir, the stone Episcopal chair, the central painting by Manuel Samaniego and the statues by Caspicara are in neoclassical style. A museum that displays the clothes used by the priests on the XVII century (“casullas”), choral books and silver pieces of the church is open Monday thru Saturday from 9h30 to 17h30. Guided tour is $1.50 for adults and $1 for children. Phone: 257 0371.
CENTRO CULTURAL METROPOLITANO The cultural centre is located on the corner of the Main Square, next to the Government’s Palace. The Jesuits originally constructed this building in the XVII Century. In 1767, when Charles III of Spain banished the Jesuit Order from the colonized territories, the buildings became a public University. In the last decade of the XVIII century, the buildings became the army headquarters of the Spanish Royal troops sent from Lima to repress the early independence efforts. Thus, the building was known as the “Royal Barrack of Lima”. In this building, the heroic efforts for independence ended up in a massacre of a number of patriots
from Quito on August 2, 1810. The Alberto Mena Caamaño Museum displays this massacre with life-size wax sculptures, as well as other important scenes of Quito’s history. The Cultural Center also holds a museum of colonial art and the Municipal Library as well. There is also a Contemporary Art exhibit room, which houses temporary exhibitions. Open Tuesday thru Sunday from 9h00 to 18h00. Admission fee to the museum is $1.50; students and senior citizens $0.75; children $0.50. Phone: 295-7062.
EL SAGRARIO This church was originally the main chapel of the Cathedral, built for the cult of the Holy Sacrament. It has been kept for this service to this day. The stone facade with its ornamented Salomon columns is an excellent frame for a high Baroque that leaves practically no space without ornamentation. This style is typical of Bernardo de Legarda’s sculpture. It is located next to the Cathedral. Visiting hours: Mon–Fri: 9h-17h00, Sat: 07h-20h00, Sun 07h-13h00. Admission is free. For more information, call 228 4398.
LA COMPAÑÍA DE JESÚS CHURCH This is one of the richest churches in America. The extraordinary facade can be described as a lacework on
LA COMPAÑIA 63
‘market’ in the native Nahuatl language. During Pre-Columbian times, Plaza San Francisco was a lively commercial center, hosting approximately ten ethnic dominations from the neighboring valleys. San Francisco is located between Sucre and Bolívar Streets. Church visiting hours: Friday thru Sunday 17h0018h00. Free admission. Phone: 2959911.
LA COMPAÑÍA DE JESÚS CHURCH COURTESY OF FRANCISCO CAIZAPANTA J.
stone. Six Salomonic columns in the lower part support a second body of different widths, reminiscent of the Church of Gesu in Rome. The columns are a copy of those by Bernini in the Vatican. The splendor that meets your eye as you go into the church is unforgettable: the vaulted ceiling and the walls with beautiful Moorish ornamentation, the perfect harmony and the richness of the main altar, the reproduction of the Salomon columns of the facade, the incredible clustered Baroque on the tribunes on both sides of the main altar, in the pulpit, and in the lateral chapels. Everything is covered with gold leaf. It is a magnificent exhibit of foliage, vines, fruits, birds and caryatids. The Holy Trinity in the main altar and the images of Saint Francis and Saint Ignatius in the side altars are works of the famous Legarda. Paintings of the prophets and works of Goribar hang in the majestic archery that divides the aisles. It is located at Benalcazar St. Open Monday thru Thursday 09h30 to 18h30, Fridays 9h30 to 17h30, Saturdays 09h30 to 16h30, Sundays 12h30 to 16h00. Phone: 2581895. Admission fee is US$ 3, and includes guide service. 64
From here, we recommend you go up the Sucre Street to the San Francisco Plaza.
SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH AND PLAZA This complex gave the capital of Ecuador its proper name: San Francisco de Quito. It is the oldest in Quito, built in 1536-1580. San Francisco is the biggest religious architectonic complex in America, with over 8,670 acres, including the convent with 6 internal patios. The atrium running along one side of the plaza opens in the middle to give way to a beautiful staircase. The facade has a style similar to that of the Escorial in Spain. The inside is Baroque style. The coffer ceiling in the narthex has rich Moorish style ornamentation with paintings by Miguel de Santiago. It is interesting to note among the ornate details images of the sun god, the Inca divinity. The main altar holds the original masterpiece by Legarda: “La Virgen de Quito” (Quito’s Virgin). This sculpture is the only winged image of Virgin Mary in colonial art. The San Francisco Plaza was an antique “Tianguez”, which means
Located at one side of the San Francisco atrium. The Calvary woodcarvings on the main altar are some of Legarda’s most outstanding masterpieces. A legend of the chapel says that Francisco Cantuña (the indigenous man that paved the atrium with arge stone blocks) constructed the chapel with the treasures saved from the Kingdom of Quito. Visiting hours: Tuesday thru Thursday 8h00 - 17h00. Free admission. Phone: 2281124.
SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM Located next to the church at the San Francisco Square. The zaguan (entrance hall), the main cloister, the renaissance stairway, the chorus and the exposition lounge are now the site of a number of selected works of the Franciscan collection. You can find works of Andrés Sánchez Galque (of indigenous origin), Miguel de Santiago, Mateo Mexía, the European authors Zurbarán and Bernardo de Bitti, with their respective schools, among others of the XVI-XVIII centuries. Among the sculptures, you can find the glass eyes characteristic of the XVIII century. You will also find pieces of furniture from the XVIII century. The museum is called Fray Pedro Gocial in honor of the first painting instructor. Open Monday thru Saturday 09h00 to 17h30, Sunday 9h00 to 13h30. Admission fee: $ 2 adults, $ 0,50 children. Phone: 295 2911.
10h00 to 18h00, weekends 9h30 to 17h30. Admission fee: $2 for adults, $1 senior citizens and $0.50 children (includes a guided tour). For more information call: 258-0103.
SAN FRANCISCO CHURCH AND PLAZA
MUSEO DEL CARMEN ALTO A part of the Monastery of El Carmen Alto of San José in old town Quito, former home of Saint Mariana de Jesús, opened as a museum in December 2013. The public can enjoy the artistic, historical and spiritual heritage that has been guarded for over 360 years. More than 1.500 art pieces are exhibited, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, jewelry and unique historic documents. CASA DEL ALABADO MUSEUM OF PRE-COLOMBIAN ART In the San Roque neighborhood, epicenter of popular uprisings, you find this private museum, housed in a building that has been known since time immemorial as the “Casa del Alabado” (literally, the House of Praise). Its name derives from the magnificent central doorway constructed of stone, whose lintel bears the following inscription: “Praise be to the most Blessed Sacrament. This portal was completed on the first of July in the year 1671.” A fine selection of 500 preColumbian pieces make up the Museum’s permanent exhibition, and the guidebook, with both scientific and museological content, invites the public to discover the worldview of indigenous Americans and explore the aesthetic and technical excellence achieved by ancient artists as they worked an array of raw materials. By offering visitors the opportunity to visit 14 thematic galleries, the Museum intends to help each visitor understand the philosophy of indigenous Americans, especially the importance of preserving life by maintaining both the flow of cosmic energy and spiritual communication between the distinct worlds that make up the universe.
The Museum is emphatic about its educational mission. For this purpose, they offer audio guides in several languages, multimedia programs, interactive resources in some galleries, and special workshops and guided visits for visitors who wish to take advantage of the Museum’s resources interactively and through play.
The museum’s permanent exhibitions revolve around three main topics: • Religious art of the Carmen Alto’s Monastery of San José and Saint Mariana de Jesús • The story of everyday life of the Discalced Carmelite community in Quito • Life of Santa Mariana de Jesús
Calle Cuenca N1-41 entre Bolívar & Rocafuerte, Quito Centro - Ecuador. Open Mondays from 10h to 16h00, Tuesdays - Saturdays 9h00 – 17h30, Sundays and holidays from 10h00 to 16h00. Admission fee: adults $4, children and seniors $1, students with ID $1.50. www.alabado.org Phone: 2280940
“Santa Marianita de Jesús” was born in what is Quito today, and at the time was part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, on October 31st, 1618. She was born of aristocratic parents on both sides of her family, descendants of Spain. Testimonies state that, almost from infancy, she gave signs of an extraordinary attraction to prayer and mortification, of love of God and devotion to Virgin Mary. During the 1645 earthquakes and subsequent epidemics in Quito, she offered her soul as a victim for the city at La Compañía Church. She died two months later on May 26th, 1645, at age 26. The Republic of Ecuador declared Saint Mariana de Jesús a national heroine in 1946, and in 1950 she was canonized by Pope Pius XII in Rome. Saint Mariana de Jesús is Quito’s guardian, and many miracles have been claimed to have been the reward of those who have invoked her intercession.
Here we recommend you go back down through Sucre Street to García Moreno Street to continue the visit.
MARÍA AUGUSTA URRUTIA MUSEUM Located at García Moreno 760. Follow the life and activities of a wealthy and very generous woman of Quito’s early XX century. Observe the architecture of a typical house in colonial Quito. Enjoy the beautifully decorated interiors (especially the French antiques), and the distinctive clothing and artifacts of the time. Open Tuesdays to Fridays from
Her room and garden, the document of her declaration as national heroine, 65
and many other references to her life are exhibited at the Museum, as well as wonderful paintings done by the artist Víctor Mideros on the XX Century regarding her Mystic Life, which are found in the first exhibit room. Curious fact: The Discalced Carmelites sell traditional handmade products at a turnstile that is found on Benalcazar Street in front of the Santa Clara Paza. They sell rose water, cookies, wine, creams and other unique products manufactured in the Cloister. Special recommendation: The guide Esteban Herrera made his University thesis about this new Museum and is very knowledgeable on the topic. If possible, ask for his guidance. The Museum plans to include English interpretation signs soon, however, at the moment they are only in Spanish. Address: García Moreno & Rocafuerte, next to the “Arco de la Reina” Open Wednesdays thru Sundays from 9h30 to 17h30 (Last guided tour starts at 16h00) Admission fee: Guided tours in English $4 Adults $3, students with ID $2, children and senior citizens $1, people with disabilities and infants FREE For reservations call 2281513 / 2995 817
MUSEO DE LA CIUDAD Located at García Moreno 572 and Rocafuerte, this museum is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 9h30 to 17h30. Follow everyday Quito life through the centuries in this beautiful colonial building that once was the San Juan de Dios Hospital (1565). Entrance fee: $3 adults, $2 students, $1 children and senior citizens. Nighttime tours with theatrical representations upon request. Price: $5 per person (includes a cocktail). Phone: 228 3882/3.
LA RONDA A stroll through La Ronda is a great way to get a feeling of traditional life in colonial Quito. Within only two blocks, one finds artisans working on traditional handicrafts such as candles and embroidery, many “tiendas” (small stores), bakeries and traditional restaurants. Moreover, a variety of cultural activities are organized both on the street and inside the different bars and cafeterias. During the late XIX and early XX Centuries, La Ronda was home to several musicians, poets, historians and other important figures of Quito’s history. This neighborhood inspired poetry and some of the most romantic “Pasillos” (traditional music). Once out of La Ronda you can go to:
JUNÍN STREET This charming street is in the downtown colonial district of Quito. Colorful houses and decorated balconies together with a peaceful atmosphere make it a place worth visiting. Along the street you can visit: Manuela Saenz Museum, the Ecuadorian Architecture Museum, the National Watercolour Museum, the XVI Century San Marcos Church, Engravers from the Quitenian School of Art, and a famous guitar factory.
LA RONDA ST. 66
Now go up to Guayaquil Street and walk North towards San Agustín Church.
SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH Located at the corner of Chile and Guayaquil Streets. The construction of this church was finished in 1538 and has been remodeled due to earthquake damage. The vault underneath the chorus, the wood carved columns, and the gilded altars are the only remains of the original construction.
SAN AGUSTIN CONVENT The first thing to admire here are the beautiful cloisters in three different levels, the fountain in the colonial patio carved from a single block of stone, the coffer ceiling in the lower cloister, and the huge collection of paintings by the artist Miguel de Santiago. The artist spent most of his life working in the convent to finish the task of painting the scenes of St. Augustine’s life.Open Monday thru Friday 09h00-12h30 and 14h3017h00. Saturday 9h00 to 13h00. Admission is $2, children is $0.50 and senior citizens $1. Phone: 295 5525.
SALA CAPITULAR In this same convent you will find one of the most important historical sites in Spanish America. The first Act of Independence was signed here on August 10th, 1809. The Calvary masterpiece by a XVII century Quitenian artist named Olmos is located to the right of this large room. Entrance fee: US$ 1. Walk three blocks North through Guayaquil Street and turn left on Esmeraldas Street to reach:
CASA SAN LUCAS This antique manor that dates back to the seventeenth century offers an art gallery with itinerary exhibits, a cafe/bar, a musical room with a large screen where visitors can enjoy music videos, and much more. Visitors can take a tour through the whole house, appreciating antique furniture, silverware and pieces of art. Open Tuesday – Friday 11h00 -
17h00, weekends 10h30- 16h00. Address: Venezuela 1283 and Esmeraldas. Phone: 2950923
LA MERCED CHURCH AND CONVENT
CAMILO EGAS MUSEUM This museum was created to honor one of the most celebrated Ecuadorian artists of the XX century. It holds a permanent exhibit of Camilo Egas’ paintings, in a display that allows one to learn about the different phases in which the artist worked (indigenism, expressionism, surrealism, cubism and abstraction of the shape) in a didactical and hands-on manner. Address: Venezuela N9-02 and Esmeraldas. Open: Thursday to Friday 9h00 - 13h00 - 14h00 17h00. Free Admission. Phone: 257-2012 Go up two blocks in Esmeraldas and then go down Benalcazar Street:
BENALCAZAR HOUSE-MUSEUM This museum displays paintings of the XVII century and sculptures of the XVII and XIII century. It is located at Olmedo and Benalcazar St. Open Monday thru to Friday 09h30 to 13h00 and 15h30 to 19h00. Go one block down Benalcazar street towards Mejía Street and then one block East to:
MUSEUM OF COLONIAL ART After half a decade of refurbishment, one of Quito’s oldest and most emblematic museums reopened at the end of April 2010. The Museum of Colonial Art houses a fantastic collection of works from the 16th to 19th centuries, ranking among the most important in the country. The museum is housed within a beautiful colonial mansion, which dates back to the late XVI century. Located at the corner of Cuenca and Mejía St. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9h-16h30, Sat 10h-14h00. Phone: 2282-297. Admission fee: adults $2.
Now follow Mejía Street East until you find:
LA MERCED CHURCH AND CONVENT One can admire a stone-carved pagan god, Neptune. Also noticeable are Bernardo Legarda’s main altar woodcarvings and the beautiful image of Our Lady of Mercy in stone. Visiting hours: Monday thru Saturday from 7h00-12h00 and 14h3017h30. Free admission. Phone: 2280743. To the following attractions we recommend you take a taxi:
SAN DIEGO CONVENT The Saint Francis congregation built this church to provide the priests and laymen with a place of retreat. Along the corridors are paintings dating back to the XVII C, which had been covered with lime for years and are now being restored. A genuine manifestation of syncretism! Open every day 09h30-13h00 and 14h30-17h00. Phone: 295 2516. Admission fee: $2.00.
EL PANECILLO Many historical happenings took place on this natural hill that stands in Quito. “Panecillo” means “little bread” referring to its peculiar size
and shape. The Virgin that stands on the hill, which consists of 7,000 pieces of aluminum, is a modern representation of the famous “Virgen de Quito”, the unique winged dancing Virgin conceived by Bernardo Legarda in the XVII century. (The original masterpiece can be seen at the main altar of the San Francisco Church). There is a balcony in the upper part that provides a beautiful view of the city. Open Monday thru Thursday 9h00-18h00, Friday thru Sunday 9h00- 21h00. The entrance fee to the interior of the monument is $1 for adults, $0.50 for children.
INTERESTING PLACES IN THE NORTH OF QUITO The following sites are not within walking distance from each other. We recommend you take a taxi.
TELEFERIQO Quito’s TeleferiQo (cable cars) is located on Cruz Loma, one of the hills on the slopes of the active Pichincha volcano (15,000 ft). The cable cars take off at 9,680 ft and reach 13,287 ft in 8 – 10 min! If you are lucky enough to get one of those clear summer days, you can see the city at your feet and the Andean mountain range in all its splendor! When reaching the top, because of the altitude, make sure to take it easy! If you are adventurous, you can
is Vega’s Gallery, where you can find the authentic pieces by renowned ceramic artist and muralist. Address: Whymper N30-136 y La Coruña. Phone: 2222 158
climb to the summit of the “Rucu Pichincha”. The cost of the cable car is $8.50 roundtrip. Open everyday from 8h00 to 20h00. At the foot of TeleferiQo you can enjoy VulQano Park, offering carts, roller coasters and other exciting games.
GUAYASAMÍN FOUNDATION HOUSE MUSEUM AND “LA CAPILLA DEL HOMBRE” The Foundation was created by master Oswaldo Guayasamín in 1977. A stop at this cultural institution is a must for any visitor to Quito, it develops its activities in the original two Buildings where the world famous Ecuadorian artist lived and worked (1979 – 1999). The house museum is located in one of the edifices. Besides portraying the artist every – day life, the museum exhibits an excellent sample of pre- Columbian, colonial and contemporary art from the private collections of the artist. The museum objective is to bring the artist close to the people, so that his Cosmo vision dreams and way of thinking can be further understood.
“La Capilla del Hombre” (Man’s Chapel) is placed, close to the house Museum. This architectonic space is a memorial aimed at the Latin American man, from pre-Columbian times to current days. In the year 1985, the artist Oswaldo Guayasamín conceived the idea and assumed it as
his most ambitious artistic project. Unfortunately the artist passed away before his master piece was completed, but his descendents Guayasamín Monteverde continued with the works until the building was inaugurated in the year 2002. “La Capilla del Hombre” is a monument to the history of American Man. The altar of the Chapel holds an eternal flame in defense of peace and human rights. Both museums are open Tuesday thru Sunday from 10h00 to 17h00. Entrance fee: $6 adults, $3 senior citizens & students. Sundays: Free admission.
GUÁPULO CHURCH This sanctuary is located in a little village 1.5 miles heading down from the Hotel Quito. The sanctuary can be reached by car in about 10 minutes or you can walk down a colonial stone paved path which was the route followed by Francisco de Orellana on his exploration that lead to the discovery of the Amazon River. The facade and the dome of the church have a simple neoclassic style. The main altar painted by Miguel de Santiago and the image of our Lady of Guadalupe by Diego de Robles are original masterpieces. Many consider the pulpit carved by the indigenous sculptor Menacho as the most beautiful in America. Open Monday thru Saturday 08h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h00. Phone: 256 5652. Free admission.
EDUARDO VEGA’S GALLERY At walking distance from Hotel Quito
IMPAR Boutique is a place where creativity and quality stand out. It was born of the initiative of seven artists and artisans that felt the need for a space to sell their handcrafts and art directly. Each art piece at IMPAR is unique, and most are handmade, including: alpaca and totora weavings, metal, wood and ceramic ornaments, paintings, lamps, silver jewelry, ADDRESS: Andalucía 584 and Francisco Salazar (two blocks behind the Quito Swissotel) Schedule: Mondays a Fridays from 10h00 to 19h00, Saturdays from 11h00 to 16h00 PHONE: 3226 175
ANHALZER-VALDIVIESO COLLECTION The showrooms of the AnhalzerValdivieso Collection offer visitors an image of the splendor of ancient Ecuador, with a selected presentation of archeology, popular and colonial art. Open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 to 18h00. Saturday from 10h00 to 18h00. Address: Colón Ave. E10-53. Phone: 25-41315. Free admission
CENTRAL BANK MUSEUM This museum is located at the “Casa de la Cultura” on 6 de Diciembre and Patria Avenues. Pre-Colonial, Colonial and contemporary art appear in 1,417 pieces exhibited permanently and in temporary displays. It also presents an opportunity to learn about the origin, evolution and history of Ecuador. Visiting hours: Tuesday thru Friday 09h00 to 17h00/ Weekends and holidays 10h00 to 16h00. Free Admission. Guide service available. Phone: 222-3258.
QUITO BOTANICAL GARDEN
Explore the fascinating world of plants! This garden displays more than 1,200 orchid species, along with other unique flora species of Ecuador! It is located at Rumipamba St. inside “La Carolina” Park. Open Monday 9h00 to 13h00, Tuesday to Sunday 9h00 to 16h30. Admission fee: $1.50 adults, $1 children.
This typical handicraft market offers a variety of handicrafts from all over the country for excellent prices, displayed in more than 100 colorful stands. If you are not able to visit the Otavalo indigenous market in the Imbabura province, this market in Quito is a must. It is located at Jorge Washington St. between Reina Victoria and Juan Leon Mera St. Open every day from 9h00 to 19h00.
QUITO BOTANICAL GARDEN
MODERN ART AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS MUSEUM As you enter the museum, you first encounter an important collection of Ecuadorian paintings from the XIX century with a variety of themes and styles: religion, portraits, landscapes, among others. Continuing the visit, you can find important works of art by some of the most renowned Ecuadorian artists: Oswaldo Guayasamín, Eduardo Kingman, and Camilo Egas, among others. Following this is the Musical Instruments Museum. Many of the displayed instruments date to pre-Columbian times. Next to this exhibit you can find an important ethnographic display of the different indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian Andes. Address: Los Espejos Bldg, located between: 6 de Diciembre, 12 de Octubre and Patria Avenues. There is an entrance at each of the avenues. Open Tuesday thru Friday from 9h00 to 13h00 and from 14h00 to 17h00 / Saturdays from 10h00 to 14h00.
“La Mariscal” can be considered the entertainment district of Quito, where you find a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, internet cafes, Spanish schools, and a large range of hosting options. This area is highlighted on the Quito map in a red square. Plaza El Quinde (Reina Victoria and Foch) is one of the most popular meeting points for both Ecuadorians and tourists. Every Wednesday night at 20h30 live music presentations take place at this charming Plaza.
GALERIA ECUADOR GOURMET This unique Galeria holds exclusive quality products 100% made in Ecuador. It also includes a cafeteria. Address: Reina Victoria N24-263 & Lizardo Garcia. Phone: 2239469 / 2258440. E-mail: email@example.com www.galeriaecuador.com
MINDALAE - ETHNO-HISTORIC MUSEUM OF HANDICRAFTS
“Mindalae” is the pre-Hispanic name of the indigenous tradesman who, with his basket tied to his back, walked long distances carrying merchandise to offer at the popular market called “tianguez”. The second floor of the museum holds an exhibit of utensils from Amazonian cultures, as well as handicrafts are available for sale. The third floor presents a display of the origins of the natural fibers used in textiles, such as seeds and wood from native trees. Finally, at the fourth floor, the museum holds a demonstration of indigenous skills in textile production. Open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 to 17h30. Sundays and Holidays from 10h00 to 17h30. Located at the corner of Reina Victoria and La Niña St. Admission fee: $3 general, $1.50 students and senior citizens.
MINDALAE- ETHNO-HISTORIC MUSEUM
EL EJIDO PARK It is located at the intersection of Patria and Amazonas Avenues. If you like contemporary art, this is the place to be on weekends. A walk in the park will bring you face to face with beautiful paintings and other handicrafts. You may bargain with the artists to get reasonable prices.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES RUMIPAMBA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ECOLOGICAL PARK The most antique stone walls found in Quito are those of Rumipamba Park, a 32- hectare complex located in a former private hacienda, now in the heart of the city of Quito. The walls date back to 400 AD. Rumi means stone and pamba, pampas or plains. Rumipamba has some huge stones from the last important eruption of the nearby Guagua Pichincha volcano, which took place in 1660. The Rumipamba site includes a gully that has become a niche for flora and fauna, especially birds. Several flora species including trees, medicinal plants, fruits and others, are found inside the park. It also includes a “culunco”, which is an antique road connecting the highlands with the coast for the commercialization of products. These roads date back to the Yumbo culture, a pre- Incan civilization that inhabited the cloud forests surrounding Quito. Address: between Occidental, América and Mariana de Jesús Avenues (North West) Open: Wednesdays thru Sundays from 8h00-16h00. Free admission.
LA FLORIDA BURIAL CHAMBERS La Florida Burial Chambers date back to 220 – 640 AD, belonging to the Quitus culture.
LA FLORIDA BURIAL CHAMBERS 70
RUMIPAMBA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ECOLOGICAL PARK
10 burial chambers have been excavated, which are 15- 17 meters (49– 56 ft) deep and 2 meters (6.5 ft) in diameter. Large amounts of amazing ceramics, spondylus and other shells, jewelry, wooden objects and gold were found in the chambers alongside hundreds of bodies. The funeral architecture reflects the cosmovision of the Quitus: the human bodies were given back to Mother Earth’s womb. In order to present the archaeological findings in a didactic manner, the museum holds a reproduction of one of the burial chambers with 16 bodies and their respective ritual objects. The replica of the faces was done by experts through a systematic reproduction based on the skulls called “forensic medicine. The museum also has a“robot” that reproduces images from the original walls of one of the burial chambers on a screen so that visitors can closely admire the traces of the orig-
inal structure of the chambers. The complex includes a small museum that exhibits original objects found in the burial chambers. Some of the most impressive pieces are the spondylus ponchos, which were worn by only a few of the buried bodies of hierarchical importance. Address: Calle Antonio Costa, between Román and Fernando Corral St., at the San Vicente de La Florida neighborhood in Northern Quito. Open: Wednesdays thru Sundays from 8h00-16h30. Free admission.
SURROUNDINGS THE MONUMENT ON THE EQUATOR It is located approximately 20 minutes away from Quito, at San Antonio de Pichincha. The “Mitad del Mundo City” surrounding the monument includes several restaurants and folklore shops, museums about the missions that measured the Earth, the “Solar Culture Museum” (with a display of the latest investigations about the real middle of the world), and a Planetarium. Inside the monument is an interesting Ethnic Museum. You can shop and place one foot on the northern Hemisphere and the other on the southern Hemisphere. Entrance fee to the “Middle of the World City” is $3.00, to the Ethnic Museum $3.00, to the Planetarium $1.50. Visiting hours: Monday thru Sunday 09h00-18h00 Phone: 239 4804
THE MONUMENT ON THE EQUATOR
INTI-ÑAN SOLAR MUSEUM Located 200 meters (650 feet) north of the Middle of the World roundabout on Autopista Manuel Córdova Galarza, this didactic in situ museum allows for visitors to witness and participate in several experiments that give evidence to the fact of being exactly at Latitude 0. Visitors can stand an egg on a nail, witness firsthand the Coriolis effect in the Northern and Southern hemispheres only a few meters away, feel the loss of balance when walking along the Equator line, along with other entertaining and impressive experiences, possible only at the Middle of the World! You can also stamp your passport to document your visit to Latitude 0. Furthermore, the museum also holds a Solar Clock, an Anthropological Totemic Forest of the Andean cultures, typical huts of pre- Hispanic cultures of the region, didactic samples of Ecuadorian cultures, as well as native flora and fauna.
INTI-ÑAN SOLAR MUSEUM
expanded to the surrounding valleys: Cumbaya, Tumbaco and Los Chillos. Little more than a decade ago, these valleys consisted mostly of open pastures and country cottages. Now they offer all the commodities of a modern city: supermarkets, malls, schools, universities, hospitals, restaurants, good lodging and even movie theaters, but they fortunately have maintained their rustic charm and decidedly slower pace than Quito. Only a few kilometers from the bustling city, but several hundred meters below, the valleys provide warmer weather and a relaxed rural feeling, preferred by young families and many foreigners who live and work in Quito. TULIPE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE-MUSEUM Tulipe was built by the Yumbo peo-
ple, who inhabited the north and northwestern valleys and mountains around Quito from around 800 to 1660 AD. It’s thought that the Yumbo people migrated to the Amazon after a great eruption of the Pichincha Volcano in 1660, and this theory is currently being investigated. Although disregarded by the Spanish chroniclers and subsequent historians, the site at Tulipe, as well as the 2,000 pyramids and mounds now unearthed, point to an important nation. It’s thought that it controlled the crucial trade route between the Pacific coast, the Andes and the Amazon to the east. The remains at Tulipe suggests it was the civilization’s main ceremonial site. It is made up of eight structures, one of which one is of Incan construction, as the conquering Incas built their temple on top of the existing one. Water played a primordial role at Tulipe, with many pools reflecting its ceremonial importance. The “Yumbo People Interpretation Centre” houses didactic information on the site and the Yumbos, and is the starting point for future investigations. Open Wednesday thru Sunday from 09h00 to 17h00. Located between the towns of Nanegalito and Gualea, on the main road Calacali-La Independencia, which heads northwest from Quito. Take the sign-posted road on the right soon after the small town of Nanegalito. Phone: 285-0635. Admission fee: $3 adults, $1 children and students.
Open Monday thru Sunday from 9h30 to 17h00. Phone: 2395122. English speaking guides are available. Guided visit: $4 adults, $2 children. For more information visit www.museointinan.com.ec
SURROUNDING VALLEYS The mountains and cliffs surrounding Quito make it difficult for the city to spread out to the sides, thus, it has
TULIPE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE-MUSEUM 71
Main venue: Museo de la Ciudad Open Tuesdays thru Sundays 9h30 to 16h30 - Free admission
The main venue is Museo de la Ciudad, where the experience goes beyond the four room ehxhibit. Visitors can experience a trip to the bohemia of the beginning of the 20th century, build a jigsaw puzzle of the most outstanding paintings and poems produced at the time, amongst other activities that promote caricature, literary creation and other plastic arts.
This is the largest exhibit of the last years to be held in Quito. It includes a selection of over 400 works of art, which transport the visitor to the symbolism and transition to modernity that took place in the first decades of the 20th Century.
Morover, the exhibit includes other five venues with in situ exhibits: the San Diego Cemetery, the Carmen Alto Museum, the María Augusta Urrutia House- Museum, the Museum of the Quito Cathedral and La Merced Church.
Open until Sunday, March 30th:
“Alma Mía: Simbolismo y Modernidad en Ecuador 1900 -1930” (My Soul: Symbolism and Modernity in Ecuador 1900-1930)
MUSIC Friday, March 7th – 20h00
Thursday, March 13th – 20h00
Thursday, March 20th – 19h30
Wuarmikay- “Be Woman” Homage for Women on International Women’s Day * Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $10
Guitar Ensemble with Women Interpreters * Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $10
Monday, March 10th – 19h30
Singing Recital By Anastasia Landazuri and Erika Guamán
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5 Tuesday, March 11th – 19h30
By Astrid Pappe
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5 Friday, March 21st – 20h00
Friday, March 14th – 17h00
Women’s Chorus Luz de Luna (Moonlight)
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5 Sunday, March 16th – 17h00
Family Sunday Lyric Gala for Women
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5
Jacqueline Hernandez, soprano * Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5
Wednesday, March 12th – 19h30
Tuesday, March 18th – 19h30
By Sofía Lara
Flute and guitar recital
By Diana Gallegos
By Pamela Zambrano
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5
Loja Symphonic Orchestra Concert * Place: Casa de la Música Tuesday, March 25th – 19h30
By Esteban Gavilanes
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5 Wednesday, March 26th
Chamber Music Concert By Ensemble Quito 6
* Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $10 Thursday, March 27th – 19h30
Cello and piano Recital * Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $5
CULTURE + ENTERTAINMENT - QUITO Friday, March 28th – 20h00
“With Women’s Voice” Cycle * Place: Casa de la Música Admission fee: $10
THEATER - COMEDY Throughout the month Thursdays thru Saturdays – 20h30 Sundays – 18h30
“Hay Amores que Matan” (Some Love Relationships Kill) By Támara Navas & Christoph Baumann
Poetic comedy about a very uneven couple of clowns. * Place: Patio de Comedias Admission fee: general $12, students $8, senior citizens and handicapped $6 Special fee on Thursdays
Wednesday, March 5th and Wednesda, March 12th – 20h30
“En Alta Mar” (At the High Seas) Author: Slawomir Mrozek Directed by: Israel Araujo
A Comedy about three shipwrecked men and their dilemma of who will be eaten to feed the other two. * Place: Patio de Comedias Admission fee: $6 Wednesday, March 19th and Wednesday, March 26th – 20h30
“Edúcame y Verás” (Teach Me and You’ll See) Stand Up Comedy by Andrés Lara * Place: Patio de Comedias Admission fee: $6
Throughout the month Saturdays and Sundays – 11h30
Open until Sunday, April 20th
“Cenizas en las Mejillas” (Ashes in the Cheeks)
A Journey through Eduardo Villacís Pástor’s Work
A Free Version of the Classic “Cinderella” By Colectivo Tentenpié
A theater full of magic and fun for children of all ages. * Place: Patio de Comedias Admission fee: $6
Open until Sunday, April 20th
“El Espejo Humeante” (The Smoking Mirror) A fictitious museum in which Villacís plays with the idea of a different history where the Aztecs colonized Europe, calling it “Améxica” – “that which is not Mexico”. * Place: Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Free admission Open until Monday, March 24th
Nobody by Vinicio Bastida
A reflection on the human transformations within contemporary societies. * Place: Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Free admission Open until Monday, April 6th
“Quito Carnavalito”: The Andean Carnival Exhibit of twelve giant inflatables with designs by local aritsts inspired in the Andean Carnival. * Place: Naciones Unidas Boulevard
* ADDRESSES: • Museo de la Ciudad: García Moreno S1-47 & Rocafuerte. P: (+593 2) 228 3868
• Casa de la Música: Valderrama s/n & Av. Mariana de Jesús (Hosp. Metropolitano) P: (+593 2) 226 1965
This exhibit is a collection of the artist’s production through several visual arts: painting, drawing, 3D Animation, videogames and comic. * Place: Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Free admission
• Patio de Comedias: 18 de Septiembre E4-26 & 9 de Octubre P: (+593 2) 256 1902
• Centro de Arte Contemporáneo: Montevideo & Luis Dávila. Former Military Hospital
PREMIUM HANDICRAFTS & ART - QUITO
Whymper N30-136 & Coru単a Phone: (593-2) 2222158 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.eduardovega.com
PREMIUM HOTELS - QUITO
BEST LOCATION IN QUITO Inside the Financial District and surrounded by diverse Cultural Centers, Restaurants, La Carolina Park & Quicentro Shopping Our Guestrooms combine Comfort and Cutting-Edge Technology
BEST WESTERN PREMIER
Ave. Shyris N37-53 y Naciones Unidas / Quito
RESERVATIONS: (593 2) 244 5305 www.bwpremierquito.com 75
OFFICIAL QUITO TOURIST MAP Photo courtesy of Miguel Dรกvila P.
PREMIUM HOTELS - QUITO
PREMIUM HOTELS - QUITO
Stubel Suites & Cafe is strategically located in Quito, just a few minutes from the historical down town area, as from the shopping and bank areas. We offer a homely, modern and relaxing experience to the guests that visit us either for business or pleasure. We offer an ambience of relaxation for all your most important senses from the vision, with the best view of the oriental valley, to your palate with our delicious menu of national and international cuisine in the Cafe Stubel. We invite you to enjoy our facilities and the warm service of our staff. Pasaje Stubel Nro. 1 y León Larrea Tel.: (593) 2 601 3499 • Fax : (593) 2 601 3514 E-mail: email@example.com • www.stubel-suites.com
PREMIUM HOTELS - QUITO
B.I.D. Diamond Award - London 2011
A colonial treasure preserved for you... Venezuela 1041 â€“ Quito, Ecuador Tel: (593-2) 228 9120 / 228 5917 Fax: (593-2) 226 5764 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hotelrelicariodelcarmen.com
RESTAURANTS - QUITO
Traditional food IN DON PORFIRIO EVERY DETAIL HAS A SCENT OF TRADITION
CC. MEGAMAXI LOCAL 106-110
AV. 6 DE DICIEMBRE Y CALLE ALEMÁN CEL: 09-98362-159 FAX: 2923-958 TELS: 2241-210 / 213 / 214 / 319
SECTOR LA FLORESTA
CALLE JULIO ZALDUMBIDE N24-763 TELS: 2220-318 / 2220-408
EL SAUCE S/N Y AV. INTEROCEÁNICA, ALTURA DEL CLUB NACIONAL TELS: 2379-171 / 172
lunch & dinner * private parking Orellana 1172 & Av. Amazonas Reservations: 297 2000 Ext. 6178
FOOD & DRINKS - QUITO
PREMIUM SERVICES - QUITO
INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
NOE CARMONA: My Greatest Satisfaction is Satisfying my Clients Interview by Cristina Vallejo
NOE Sushi Bar is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month of March 2014. It has become one of the most well-known restaurants in Quito and Guayaquil, and recently started serving Cuenca as well. To this day they have 14 restaurants in Ecuador: 9 in Quito, 4 in Guayaquil and 1 in Cuenca; and 7 Kobe Sushi Express by Noe. NOE serves more than 100.000 clients every month. In fact, only the restaurant at La Floresta neighborhood in Quito serves approximately 11.000 clients each month. As I arranged an interview with Noé Carmona, chef and partner of Noé Sushi Bar, I did not expect to encounter such a humble person. The secret of his success? Definitely listening to his clients and working towards satisfying each one of them. Noé: How did you become involved with gastronomy? I was born in the city of Loja (Southern Andes) in a family of 10 siblings, nine boys and a girl. My mom had a rule in our house: one of her children helped in the kitchen each week. This is how I started to get involved with cooking, as well as
my other siblings, six of which work at Noé at the moment.
meat and fish dishes, and much more.
How did you come to excel at Japanese cuisine? I used to work in a renowned hotel in Quito, which opened the first Sushi restaurant in the city. The Japanese chef Ken Namba came to the hotel to train us for the opening of the Sushi restaurant, and I was his spoiled student. I really like Japanese food because it is healthy, light, simple, natural and very nutritious.
What is your greatest professional satisfaction? My greatest satisfaction is satisfying my clients. I believe that when you do things with love and passion, it is reflected in your results. We work for and together with our clients, and take great care of quality and service. In fact, we have a Quality Department which carefully supervises the entire process, starting from the selection of ingredients.
What does Noe serve its clients? At Noe we combine Japanese cuisine with Ecuadorian ingredients. People in Ecuador like the “Western” taste in Japanese food. But primordially what I do is listen to my clients. Listen to their needs and suggestions. In fact, I’ve created dishes based on clients’ ideas and love to present them to their “inventors”. We have a varied menu that is the result of a constant innovation. We want to satisfy every client who walks into our restaurant, and we are conscious that the enjoyment of sushi is acquired, so we offer a variety of options besides sushi and sashimi: we offer delicious soups,
What do you plan ahead after 10 years of success? This year we plan to go abroad: open a restaurant in Bogotá, Colombia. Thank you Noé. It has been a pleasure to meet you.
We finished the interview right before a number of clients started to arrive at Noé in La Floresta neighborhood in Quito. And of course, I did not leave without enjoying a great dinner, Noé style! For more information and the entire menu, visit: www.noesushibar.com 89
PHOTO COURTESY OF LUNA RUNTUN ADVENTURE SPA
The Avenue of the Volcanoes South of Quito, the two parallel chains of the Andes that cross Ecuador from north to south rise to their most dramatic peaks. During his visit to South America in 1802, the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt (XIX C) called this section of the Ecuadorian Sierra “The Avenue of the Volcanoes”. Eight of Ecuador’s ten highest summits are found in this part of the country.
COTOPAXI PROVINCE On a clear day, from Quito you can see the perfectly symmetrical cone 90
shaped Cotopaxi (19,347 ft), the highest active volcano in the world. This snow-capped volcano and its surroundings make up the Cotopaxi National Park. This park offers numerous activities for adventurers and nature lovers, all immersed in an imposing geological landscape. Although Cotopaxi has had at least ten major eruptions since 1742, it’s been fairly quit since its last burst of activity in 1904. Today, it is Ecuador’s favorite climb. Some of the highlights in this National Park are: the Rumiñahui volcano (15,600 ft.), and the Limpiopungo and Santo Domingo lagoons. In both lagoons it is possi-
ble to see the reflection of the surrounding volcanoes. The Cotopaxi National Park is home to white-tailed deer, rabbits, lamas, Andean foxes and pumas, and over ninety species of birds. Cozy hostels and beautiful traditional haciendas in the region offer comfortable lodging and numerous activities such as horseback riding, biking, trekking, and visits to typical country villages, nearby rose plantations and local markets. The Saquisili weekly market (close to Latacunga) is the one of the most exhilarating in the region. Every Thursday hundreds of indigenous people fill the streets to sell their
Gas station Sightseeing Airport Archaeology Handicrafts Typical food Thermal Springs Capital of Province Cities / towns Pan- American Highway Secondary road
TOURIST SITES . LODGING
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Los Illinizas Cuello de Luna Hotel Cotopaxi National Park Cotopaxi Volcano Hacienda San Agustín de Callo Saquisilí Indigenous Market Quilotoa lake Pujilí Indigenous Market Centro Artesanal Rumipamba de las Rosas
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Luna Rutun Adventure Spa Tungurahua Volcano Samari Spa Resort Chimborazo Volcano Hostería Andaluza Sangay National Park Sangay Volcano Alausí Train Station Hostería La Quinta Devil’s Nose
colorful handicrafts as well as their fresh crops and livestock. Further south, taking a right from the city of Latacunga, riding through an extraordinary view of dense patchwork fields, the imposing Quilotoa crater strikes the visitors’ eye with its extraordinary turquoise water. The hike from the border of the crater (11,840 ft) to the lake at the bottom (7,446 ft) is approximately 30 minutes; we recommend that you hire a mule on the way back. The nearby Zumbahua town has a very interesting Saturday morning market. Close to the town of Pujilí is the village of Tigua, where many artisans are devoted to the naive art painted on sheep hides, depicting daily life scenes, legends and village fiestas against a bright background of colored mountains and fields. These naive paintings can be found for sale mostly all around the country, and are locally known as Tigua paintings.
covered with paintings depicting miracles that are credited to this Virgin. The town has several hostels for young adventure tourists, but the best accommodations are offered by Samari SPA Resort and Luna Runtun Adventure SPA.
The town of Baños is probably the most charming tourist destination in this province. It is located at the foot of the Tungurahua active volcano (16,500 ft). The town of Baños is a favorite spot for national and international tourists. Its pleasant sub tropical climate and its extraordinary landscape and vegetation are very welcoming. Baños is considered the gate to the Ecuadorian Amazonia, as it is nestled between the volcano and the rain forest. The city has plenty of tourist information, and several agencies offer adventure sports. For years, Baños has been the place where Ecuadorians make pilgrimages to honor “Our Lady of the Holy Water”. The walls of the Basilica are
Chimborazo is the highest Ecuadorian peak (20.702 feet), and the third highest in America. Moreover, the summit of Chimborazo is the furthest point from the center of the Earth, as it is crossed by the Equatorial line, where the Earth is wider. Chimborazo is the “Colossus” of the mountains of the region, but on a clear day, other impressive snowcapped mountains can be admired: the Altar, the Carihuairazo, and the Sangay volcanoes. Chimborazo province has the largest concentration of indigenous people in Ecuador. These communities worshiped the Chimborazo as a god.
Many of them still preserve their way of life, dress, food, and traditions. Riobamba is the capital city of the province. From here, it is possible to arrange trips to the surrounding mountains. In the city, one encounters indigenous people sharing with mestizos and a minority of white population. The Religious Art Museum “Madres Conceptas” and the Science Museum of the Maldonado School are definitely worth visiting. The history of Riobamba is marked by the fact that it is the link between the Coast and the Highlands. Riobamba's importance in the last few centuries was highly due to the presence of the train station, the main means of communication in Ecuador at the time. Today, the train is no longer an important means of transportation, but is a unique tourist attraction. From the Riobamba station, the train departs to the most impressive track of the railway through the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, which ends up at the “Nariz del Diablo” (Devil’s Nose).
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The southern sierra is made up of Cañar, Loja and Azuay Provinces. Some of the reasons for visiting these three provinces are the Incan ruins of Ingapirca, the valley of Vilcabamba and the historic district of Cuenca. The Southern Sierra of Ecuador is a favorite spot for birdwatchers, especially the Cajas and Podocarpus National Parks.
CAÑAR PROVINCE Cañar is rich in history. This region was inhabited by the Cañari culture from which it took its name. Cañar boasts the most important prehispanic monument of the country, the Ingapirca Inca Vestiges. Located about an hour and 45 minutes from Cuenca, these ruins are the most 94
important architectural legacy of the Incas in Ecuador. Ingapirca means “Incas stone wall”. The vast archeological complex includes a roofless fortification, courtyards, terraces, temples, houses and a “castle,” possibly the “Temple to the Sun.” The entrance fee is 5 dollars. A museum is now open at the site, with both archeological and ethnographic displays as well as a scale model of the ruins. Entrance fee is US$6. An excellent option is to stay overnight at the charming Posada Ingapirca (see page 57).
the city in 1548 at the “Cuxibamba” valley. “Cuxibamba” is the indigenous name of the valley.
Phone: (07) 2827-401/ (07) 2831-120.
Surrounded by rivers that flow to the Amazonia or the Pacific Ocean, one finds several green valleys with warm, fresh and dry weather (64 degrees Fahrenheit and higher), such as the Vilcabamba, Malacatos, Quinara and Catacocha Valleys.
LOJA PROVINCE Both the province and its capital city owe their name to the Spaniard Alonso de Mercadillo, who founded
Loja’s indigenous population maintains ancestral traditions and customs. The city of Loja has an important cultural community. Musicians, poets and other writers are nestled within the city. Loja had a large affluence of scientists during the XVII – XIX century, and so it appears in old European maps as “Nambixa”.
Gas station Sightseeing Airport Archaeology Handicrafts Typical food
TOURIST SITES . LODGING
Thermal Springs Capital of Province Cities / towns Pan- American Highway Secondary road
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Sangay National Park Ingapirca Ruins Posada Ingapirca El Cajas National Park HosterĂa Uzhupud El Cisne Sanctuary Podocarpus National Park 95
A Cultural Treasure in the Andes Ecuadorians consider Cuenca the most charming city, located in a peaceful and relaxing setting. As you enter the city you can enjoy the outstanding skyline marked by shining church domes. Cuenca’s cobblestone streets, winding rivers, graceful ironwork balconies, and beautiful gardens are part of the pleasant atmosphere of this historical city. UNESCO declared Cuenca a World Cultural Heritage Site in December 1999.
The city was first called “Guapondelig”, which in the Cañari language means “a plain as big as
the sky”. The Cañaris were the indigenous group that lived in the region before the arrival of the Incas. In the last decades of the XV century, the Incas built the city of “Tumipamba” (“Tumi” meaning ridge and “pamba” meaning plain), over this Cañari settlement. This city was located along the Inca highway that joined Cusco with Quito. When the Spanish arrived, they called the city “Tomebamba”. Finally, it was baptized as the city of “Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca” (Santa Ana of the Four Rivers of Cuenca). Cuenca stands 8,315 feet above sea level, it is the capital of the Azuay province and the third largest city in Ecuador.
perched along the banks of the four different rivers that run through and around the city (Tarqui, Yanucay, Tomebamba and Machángara).
The colonial past from the days of the Spanish Empire are ever present in the artistry of the churches, convents and religious treasures. Many of the beautiful houses are found
A leading industry in Cuenca and its surrounding areas is the manufacture of straw hats. A common misconception among many people is the Panama hat. Originally made in
One of the highlights are the beautiful handicrafts that can be found throughout the city, including embroidered blouses, wool sweaters, gold and silver filigree jewelry and weavings with tie-dyed patterns called ikat. Cuenca is also known for its elegant ceramic dishes and pottery. Crafts and fresh products can be found on sale at the weekly Thursday fair, or the smaller Saturday market, located at the plazas of 9 de Octubre and 10 de Agosto.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VICTOR LARCO ALDAZ
Address: 3 de Noviembre and Hermano Miguel streets. Visiting hours: Monday - Friday: 9h0013h00 and 14h30 – 18h00. Saturday 10h00-12h00.
LAS CONCEPTAS MUSEUM Here you will find a great collection of religious art. It exhibits 64 paintings, and more than 200 sculptures, toys, furniture and other samples of craftsmanship. Address: 633 Juan Jaramillo St. Visiting hours: Monday to Friday: 9h00 -18h30 Saturday 10h0013h00. Admission fee: US$ 2.
MODERN ART MUSEUM Montecristi, on the coast of Ecuador, the hats were sent north to the workers of the Panama Canal and hence the name Panama hat.
INTERESTING SITES EL BARRANCO The riverfront of the Tomebamba River is the most symbolic site of Cuenca, and serves as the border between the historical and the modern city. The Classical Republican style of the facades of the constructions that surround the river give a special personality to the city. El Barranco is a residential area, as well as a cultural district. The Pumapungo Ruins, the Central Bank and Remigio Crespo Toral Museums, the “Todos los Santos” vestiges, and other sites along this riverfront offer cultural and artistic exhibits.
PUMAPUNGO VESTIGES Located at the left margin of El Barranco, the Pumapungo (“Puma’s Door”) neighborhood was the first developed zone of the Inca city of Tumipamba. The architectural elements of the vestiges of this neighborhood show that it was mainly a religious, military, political and administrative center. The vestiges of Pumapungo include walls, channels, cobblestone corridors, isolated
enclosed areas, an enormous channel, 1,050 feet of length, with some internal bathrooms, a mausoleum within a tunnel, etc. All this is surrounded by terraces that were used for agriculture. This archaeological complex is complemented with gardens of native plants and a small display of birds of the region. It is part of the Central Bank Museum, located on Huayna Capac Ave. across from Calle Larga. It also includes an archeological museum, a numismatic museum (coins), and a very didactical and up-to-date ethnographic display. Visiting hours Monday: Closed. Tuesday thru Friday 8h00- 17h30. Saturdays, Sundays and Hollidays 10h00- 16h00. Free admission. Phone: 072831521 ext. 516
THE RUINS OF TODOS LOS SANTOS Follow the Todos Los Santos Street down the hill. This site has ruins of Cañari, Incan and colonial Spanish constructions. Here you will find the four Incas stonework niches.
CIDAP ARTES POPULARES DE AMERICA MUSEUM This museum is devoted to the handicrafts of South America. It contains art, crafts and beautiful folklore pieces on temporary exhibitions.
Holding a permanent collection of contemporary art, there are also many artistic activities available for children. The museum additionally hosts the Biannual International Painting Competition. It is located on 1527 Calle Sucre and Coronel Talbot. Visiting hours: Mondays thru Fridays, 9h00 - 17h30 Saturdays 9h00 - 13h00 Free admission. Phone: 283 1027 / 282 0838.
ESQUELETOLOGÍA MUSEUM Bolívar 6-57 & Borrero streets. Visiting hours: Monday-Friday: 10h00 -13h00 / 16h00-19h00. Saturday 10h00 - 14h00. Holidays 10h00 to 19h00. Entrance fee is $1,50. Phone: 2821150.
NATIVE CULTURES MUSEUM This museum was built as a homage to the Ecuadorian indigenous cultures and their 15,000 years of existence. It holds archaeological pieces from the first indigenous civilizations in Ecuador up to those that lived in the XVI century, in more than 5,000 impressive pieces. The museum works in a one-floor antique house that is a culturalarchitectonic heritage of the city, built in the XVIII century. In the back of the house one finds this museum, with a private collection that belongs to Dr. Juan Cordero. There are guides in English, as well as the explanation of the pieces. Address: Calle Larga 5-24 (between
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VICTOR LARCO ALDAZ
Hermano Miguel & Mariano Cueva) Phone: 283 9181/ 2841540. Open Monday- Friday 8h30-18h00, Saturday from 9h00-15h00. Admission fee: $2.
THE SAGRARIO CHURCH (OLD CATHEDRAL) It is one of the oldest churches in Latin America (1557). Inca blocks from the Pomango Palace were used in its construction. It has marble floors and a gold-leaf altar. The Geodesic Mission used this place as a reference point to calculate the Earth’s circumference. It does not serve as a Cathedral since 1981, and now houses a religious museum. You can ask for a guide at the entrance for an explanation of the details. You can observe part of the original frescos, as well as some metal friezes brought from France that belong to the original construction. Priests’ garmets are on exhibit. What calls more the attention are life-size sculptures of Jesus and his 12 apostles, which were manufactured in the year 1900 by the Cuencan artist Pablo Luis Alvarado. The pieces are light weight because they were used for processions.
The pulpit’s handrail is worth admiring because it has the shape of human ribs to symbolize Jesus’ passion. It was done by the Cuencan
sculpturer Sangurima (XIX C). What also calls one’s attention is the “Piedad”, a copy of the original by Miguel Angel in Rome, done by the Cuencan sculpturer José Miguel Vélez in the XIX C. The organ from the back was brought from Germany in 1739. Open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 to 13h00 and from 13h30 to 17h50. Weekends from 10h00 to 13h00. Admission fee: $2 Address: corner of Mariscal Sucre & Luis Cordero. Phone: 2834636.
CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (NEW CATHEDRAL) This Cathedral’s construction began in 1880, and is one of the largest of America. The Cathedral is made of alabaster and marble. Its floor is made of pink marble imported from Carrara, Italy. Both Romance and Baroque styles are prominent in its architecture. The stained-glass windows stand out for their beauty. Address: corner of Mariscal Sucre & Benigno Malo.
CHURCH AND MONASTERY OF “EL CARMEN DE ASUNCIÓN” Both have been preserved in their original XVII century condition. A
remarkable treasury of religious art pieces can be found here. The Monastery is closed to the public, but one can communicate with the nuns at the entrance and buy traditional handicrafts they produce. It is located near the main square, to the right of the daily flower market.
FLOWER MARKET It is open every day. Most of the vendors are cholas cuencanas. The market is a demonstration of the natural richness of the area throughout the year.
TODOS LOS SANTOS CHURCH This is one of the oldest churches in Cuenca. It is also where the first Catholic mass was celebrated after the Spaniards arrived. The statue of Santa Ana, patron saint of the city, is found here. During the end of the XIX century, it was replaced with the church that currently stands. Address: corner of Calle Larga and Bajada de Todos Los Santos.
MUSEUM OF THE CONCEPTAS The museum is located in a monastery that dates back to the XVI century. It was one of the fist monasteries that were founded in the city of Cuenca, 42 years after the foundation of the city. Its interior gardens
are beautiful and peaceful. Currently, the museum holds several exhibit rooms where one finds Nativity scenes, religious pieces and colonial time furniture. Many of the paintings had didactical purposes for the “unfaithful of the New World”. The Christ sculptures belong to the sculpturer Sangurima, who lived in Cuenca at the end of the XIX century. They have the left over the right foot, characteristic of this author’s Christ figures. Also in exhibit is a room that tells of life in a monastery, close to where a cloister still works. Address: Hermano Miguel 633 & Juan Jaramillo. Museum open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 - 18h30 and Saturdays from 10h00 - 13h00. Admission fee: $2.50 adults, $1.50 children. Phone: 2830625.
LA ESQUINA DE LAS ARTES
Is a commercial and cultural center for the promotion of the arts. Distinguished designers, artists and artisans have gathered to reveal the different processes involved in the creation of their products, which include ceramics, wood crafts, textiles, glass, embroidery, jewelry straw hats and fashion accessories. Open Monday thru Saturday from 10h00 thru 19h30, Sunday from 10h00 to 14h00. Address: El Barranco / Av. 12 de Abril y Agustin Cueva. Phone: 0999978966. On Saturdays from 17h00 to 18h00 enjoy live music and folkloric dance. www.laesquinadelasartes.com
EDUARDO VEGA’S WORKSHOP AND GALLERY On the hill of Turi, overlooking the city, 15 minutes by car from downtown Cuenca, is a beautiful place where the reknowned Ecuadorian artist Eduardo Vega has his house, workshop and gallery. Visitors can admire his latest creations in artistic ceramics, ranging from mugs, tiles, and plates as well as wonderful murals that show the lushness of the Ecuadorian landscape & traditional costumes, and contemporary designed unique pieces. You can also find good books and complimentary coffee and biscuits. Open: Mon-Fri 8h00 -17h30, Weekends 9h30- 13h30. Phone: 07 2881 407
“THE MAGIC OF THE PANAMAHAT” MUSEUM & WORKSHOP This Museum belongs to “Homero Ortega”, one of the most traditional and renown companies for the production and export of Panama Hats. It renders homage to the women and men, who with their skillful hands and natural artistic sensitivity, weave the toquilla straw hats, erroneously known as “Panama Hats” because they were seen during the construction of the Panama Canal. The craft activity of weaving straw has become a lasting part of the identity of Azuay province. Open Monday thru Friday from 8h30 to 12h30 and from 14h30 to 18h00 Saturdays 8h30 to 12h30 Sundays 9h00 to 11h00 Address: Gil Ramírez Dávalos 386 Phone: 2809000
HANDICRAFTS ROUTE POTTERY A place where potters still congregate to work is the “Convención del 45”, located at the west side of the city, on the outskirts of the colonial cask area.
JEWELRY A very important handicraft in this area because Cuenca is located
EDUARDO VEGA’S WORKSHOP AND GALLERY
close to gold and silver mines. Jewelry shops are located along the “Gran Colombia” street.
WEAVINGS Several artisans in Cuenca are dedicated to manufacturing traditional clothing such as ponchos, skirts, flannels, dresses, embroidered blouses, wool sweaters and weavings with tie-dyed patterns called “ikat”.
BASKET SEWING Baskets and other utilitarian products are displayed mainly in the San Joaquin Parish.
SMITHY The workers keep the tradition of working the iron directly with fire alive. The smithy neighborhood is a recommended place to visit.
TINSMITH’S On the way up to the “Vado” area some tinsmith’s workshops can be found. The products have designs that tell of the blend of cultures that characterizes Cuenca.
TOQUILLA STRAW HATS Most of the “cholas cuencanas” that live in Cuenca and its surroundings still wear these hats with a black hatband. Toquilla straw hat workshops can be found on the way up to the “Vado” area.
MUSEUMS 1. Modern Art 2. Casa de la Cultura 3. CIDAP Artes Populares 4. Remigio Crespo Toral 5. Medicine History 6. Toquilla Straw Museum-Homero Ortega 7. Esqueletologia 8. Las Conceptas 9. Central Bank 10. Native Cultures 11. Agustin Landivar Museum 12. Folklore Institute 13. Cañari Identity Museum
OTHERS 53. Post Office 54. Land Terminal 55. Airport 56. Milenium Plaza Shopping Center 57. Mall del Rio 58. 9 de Octubre Movie Theater 59. Parroquia Baños 60. Esquina de las Artes Shopping
61. And E. Vega Gallery 62. Cuenca Municipality 63. Azuay Province Government 64. Tourism Ministry 65. Planetarium 66. Amaru Zoo
CHURCHES 14. New Cathedral 15. Old Cathedral 16. San Alfonso 17. La Merced 18. Las Conceptas 19. Todos los Santos 20. El Vergel 21. San Blas 22. Santo Domingo 23. San Francisco 24. Santo Cenáculo 25. San Sebastián 26. Corazón de Jesús 27. María Auxiliadora 28. Turi
ARCHAELOGICAL SITES 29. The Ruins of Todos los Santos 30. Pumapungo
HANDICRAFTS 31. Casa de la Mujer 32. Plaza Rotary 33. Mama Kinua Cultural Center 34. San Francisco 35. Plaza del Otorongo 36. Ceramics 37. Concuero (Leather Goods) 38. Homero Ortega (Toquilla Straw Hats) 39. Typical Clothing 40. Smithery 60. Esquina de las Artes Shopping
PARKS 41. Abdón Calderón 42. Plazoleta Victor J. Cuesta 43. Carlos Cueva Park 44. Luis Cordero Park 45. Mary Corile Park 46. San Blas Park 47. Plazoleta de las Monjas 48. María Auxiliadora Park 49. San Sebastián Park 50. Plazoleta de Cruz del Vado 51. El Paraíso Park 52. Parque de la Madre
FOOD & DRINKS
71. Carvallo 72. Posada del Angel 73. Inca Real 74. Hosteria Durán 75. Casa San Rafael 76. Inés María
67. San Juan 68. Crespo 69. Mansión Alcázar 70. Victoria
77. Akelarre 78. El Pedregal Azteca Restaurant 79. Villa Rosa Restaurant 80. El Tucuman 81. El Jardín Restaurant 82. Restaurante Cuatro Ríos
TOURISM INFORMATION 83. The Travel Center
42 33 83
81 70 68
52 44 65
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Calle Larga 693 y Borrero Phone: 2831120/2827401 Fax: 2832340 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.grupo-santaana.com Cuenca Ecuador
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GALERIA – TALLER Vía a Turi 201 / Telefax: (593-7)2881407 – 2817177 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Esquina de las Artes: Av 12 de Abril 1-119 & Agustín Cueva Phone: (593-7) 2831174 www.eduardovega.com
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THIS MONTH’S NOVELTIES 12TH INTERNATIONAL CUENCA BIENNIAL “Ir para volver” (Leaving to Return) Friday, March 28th through Friday, June 27th
The Cuenca Biennial was born 24 years ago with the objective of developing art through a Latin American vision. Throughout the years, it has evolved and opened to new artistic manifestations and formats. The12th Biennial will gather artists and artworks that question the validity of standard and universal measurements of time and space, and point to the impossibility of reducing the world to uniform criteria. The title of the exhibition is based on the Ecuadorian expression "ir para volver" ("leaving to return"), which describes a physical and temporary absence (frequently even without a
definite duration). While highlighting the state of movement as the key aspect of many artworks and practices included in the exhibition, this expression also situates the 12th Cuenca Bienniale in the undefined field of speech, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and of the mixture of apparently distant, disparate, and even opposed forms of knowledge. Leaving to Return signals an ongoing dialogue that takes place far away from the rigidity of strict and polished discourses and ultimately delves into life itself. For more information and calendar of events visit: www.bienaldecuenca.org
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NOE SUSHI BAR Completing 14 restaurants in the country, the renowed NOE Sushi Bar recently opened in Cuenca. It offers Japanese food with Ecuadorian ingredients in a large variety of dishes that go far beyond sushi and sashimi. Address: corner of Padre Julio Matovelle & Proaño (next to the “Parque de las Candelarias”) Phone: (+593 7) 281 2757 / 288 9308 For more information and entire menu see page www.noesushibar.com For more information, see page 107. 107
Beyond Cuenca and its cultural and architectonic charms, there are many places to visit nearby. Wonderful nature as well as small towns and parishes that seem stuck in time, reminding us of their early inhabitants: the Cañaris and later the Incas.
BAÑOS Only 5 miles East of Cuenca, you can find soothing hot spring waters. These thermal waters of volcanic origin reach the surface with a temperature of 158°F and cool down to 95°F -104°F.
CAJAS NATIONAL PARK Cajas is located 19 miles northwest of Cuenca, at an altitude of 9,000 to 13,000 feet above the sea level. This is a place for those who love the great outdoors. Some of the many things to do and see are camping, fishing, hiking miles of trails through a scenic preserve, and enjoying more than 230 lagoons of glacial origin. A guided tour of the area allows one to admire a breathtaking landscape and unique fauna and flora. Warm clothing is recommended due to the low temperatures (32°F - 47°F).
COJITAMBO Approximately 30 miles from the city of Cuenca, surrounded by an extraordinary landscape, are the ruins of Cojitambo. These constructions belonged to the Cañari indigenous group, who lived in the area before the arrival of the Incas. The ruins lay at approximately 10,000 feet above sea level.
GUALACEO This is a subtropical valley, approximately 22 miles away from Cuenca towards the Azogues town. At “El Descanso” take a right to reach Gualaceo. This town is known for its handicrafts, folklore and a beautiful river where you can go for a swim.
CHORDELEG Located 10 minutes from Gualaceo, it is a pre-Incan town where important archaeological objects can be found. This brilliant culture inhabited the area between the years 500 and 1500 BC. The artisans offer Ikat ponchos, pottery, straw hats and jewelry. This is the place to buy the finest gold and silver filigree at a very reasonable price. There is also an excellent ethnographic museum in the square in an old courtyard house, where you can see weavers at work and find good shawls, scarves, belts and embroidery for sale.
NABÓN This little town is located an hour and a half south of Cuenca in a charming valley. Colorful fields welcome visitors to a place where people are always polite and joyful. The Duma-Para Cañari Ruins are located closeby. This was the place where the Cañari Chief Duma was defeated by the Incas, who then susequently ruled the land.
At Nabón one also finds the traditional Ecuadorian Tequila or Chahuarmishqui, a very tasty alcoholic drink that is produced in an artisan way by locals. Another attraction at this site are fine handicrafts made of reed.
OÑA Oña is located 103 km south west of Cuenca, 7,870 ft above sea level. May is a special month at this site as the San Felipe Festival takes place on the 3rd and the celebration of the town’s establishment takes place on the 10th. One of Oña's highlights is the parish of Susudel where people are mostly dedicated to agriculture and handicrafts. There is a gallery where skillful ladies exhibit clothes and other handicrafts made of recycled materials and natural textiles. Susudel has a XVIII Century church, as well as a colonial house that serves as a Cultural Center where children learn information science and have access to the Internet. It’s called the “House of Paris,” after its last owner who was French.
LAGUNAS DEL COMPADRE
History and Botanic Center There are two daily flights from Quito to Loja, overlooking the avenue of the volcanoes. One can also take a bus from the city of Cuenca for a 4hour drive with a breathtaking view, but through a winding road. The airport is located at “La Toma” in the Catamayo valley, 15.5 miles away from the city; an approximately 40 minute drive. You can share a taxi to the city that will charge $12. The buses arrive in the center of the city. The city of Loja stands 6,724 feet above sea level, with an average temperature of 60 to 69 Fahrenheit.
Colorful and lively, with a small population of approximately 150,000 the city has an active cultural life and several universities.
large portion of the year, but also has a gothic church dedicated to her, 43 miles from the city.
Two rivers cross through Loja: Malacatos and Zamora, which give a unique personality to the city. It is one of the cleanest and safest cities in Ecuador. The city has streets, plazas, churches and monasteries from colonial times, such as the Cathedral and the Santo Domingo, San Francisco and San Sebastian churches.
ATTRACTIONS IN LOJA
Most Lojanos are extremely religious. It is common to find religious processions at the Main Plaza, or sometimes even popular bands and fireworks. Lojanos are especially devoted to the “Virgen del Cisne” (Virgin of the Swan), a sculpture by the Ecuadorian Diego de Robles (XVI C), which is kept at the Cathedral for a
MAIN SQUARE The buildings of the main civil and ecclesiastic authorities: the Provincial and City Governments, the Episcopal House and the Cathedral surround the plaza. Although the original architecture of most of these buildings has been modified, they still portray a taste of the Spanish legacy. The building that houses the Central Bank Museum still preserves its original architecture.
CENTRAL BANK MUSEUM This museum is most interesting. It holds an archeological display
(mainly of the Macara and Catamayo cultures), religious art of the XVIII century, an ethnographic exhibit on the Saraguros, and a small display on the history and uses of the “quinina” plant. The museum also houses temporary exhibits on the first floor, and there is a concert every month. Open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 thru 13h00 / 14h00 thru 17h00. Free admission. Phone: 2573 004 / 2566 651.
LOURDES STREET A stroll through this street sets you in an old colonial city, especially between Bolivar and Sucre streets. Observe the well preserved wooden balconies, interior patios, cobblestone streets… and stop by at the small
shops where you can find a little of everything, including handicrafts. Visit the “Cera” neighborhood to observe the production of ceramic handicrafts.
MUSEO DE LA MÚSICA Located at Bernardo Valdivieso 0942 & Rocafuerte. This museum displays musical instruments, notes, pictures and awards of nationally famous musicians from Loja. Open Monday thru Friday from 9h00 to 13h00 and from 15h00 to 19h00. Free admission. Phone: 2561342.
BOTANICAL GARDEN At the South of the city you can find a Botanical Garden that is the only botanical garden at 6,560 feet above
HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL ROUTE OF LOJA CITY
Información turística Tourist information
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Puerta de la Ciudad. Parque Simón Bolívar - The Simón Bolivar Park. Iglesia de San Francisco - San Francisco's Church. Museo Matilde Hidalgo de Procel - Matilde Hidalgo de Procel museum. Plaza Central o Plaza Mayor de Loja - The Central Square or The largest square of Loja. Iglesia Catedral - Cathedral Church.
sea level in the inter-Andean region. It is over 50 years old and holds more than 1.000 plant species. Open Monday thru Friday 8h0018h00 and Saturdays & Sundays 9h00 - 18h00.
MALACATOS VALLEY Right to the south of the city, the charming Malacatos town holds colorful wooden houses that surround a main square where live music is played every Sunday. At this site you can visit a sugar cane “molienda”. The “moliendas” are open Monday thru Friday and you can observe the workers throughout the whole process of manufacturing of raspadura (sugar scraping), using the same
machinery that has been used for generations. On the way to Vilcabamba, observe a hill in the shape of a “sleeping Inca”. This hill is called Mandango, and is believed to have been sacred for the Incas.
VILCABAMBA VALLEY This charming valley (at 4,921 ft.) located approximately 1 hour South from Loja city (25 miles) has become a favorite spot for tourists, especially young adventurers on their way to or from Peru. The name Vilka Bamba or Huilcopamba means “Sacred Valley” in the indigenous tongue Quechua. This site was reserved by the Incas for the main
noble authorities, as it is a peaceful and quiet place. Perhaps this tranquility is the reason for the old age of the valley’s inhabitants. It is common to find healthy people of over 100 years of age that live here and still work in agriculture. Many investigations have been made to determine the reason for the longevity of Vilcabamba’s inhabitants, and some factors have been identified: temperate weather, a water rich in minerals, a diet low in fat and high in fiber and magnesium, the peacefulness of the valley and extensive physical activity. People that suffer from heart disease move to Vilcabamba to imitate the lifestyle of its inhabitants.
7 Museo Arqueológico, Histórico y Colonial del Banco Central - The Archaeological, Historical and Colonial Museum of the Central Bank. 8 Museo de Arte Religioso de las Madres Concepcionistas - The Religious art museum of the “Madres Conceptas”. 9 Museo de la Música - Museum of Music. 10 Plaza e Iglesia de Santo Domingo - Santo Domingo Church and Square 11 Plaza de la Independencia o San Sebastián - The Independence Square or San Sebastián Square 12 Iglesia de San Sebastián - San Sebastian Church. 13 Calle Lourdes - Lourdes Street.
From Vilcabamba you can arrange horse and bicycle excursions throughout the valley or in the nearby access to the Podocarpus National Park. The Municipality has opened an information office at the corner of the main park.
PODOCARPUS NATIONAL PARK This National Park is located 11 miles South of Loja city. The park was named after a tree species commonly known as “Romerillo” (Podocarpus montanus). This is a gigantic Coniferous that has adapted to the tropical Andean forests. These trees can reach a height of 131 ft. and live up to 1.000 years. The Podocarpus or Romerillos is in danger of extinction because of the over exploitation of its valuable wood. Now the trees can be found at the Sabanilla region near Loja and at the Podocarpus National Park. Podocarpus NP holds 3,000 – 4,000 plant species and more than 600 bird species (including Macaws, Cock of the Rock, hummingbirds, toucans, tangaras, etc). It holds endemic bird
species such as the Jocotoco Antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi).The park has an area of 361,452 acres, and has several different ecosystems that range from the Paramo or moorlands at 12,073 ft, down to the low mountain forest at 2,952 ft, passing through the evergreen high-mountain and mountain forests. Among the plant species are: bromeliads, orchids and ferns, as well as the Mascarilla Chincho-na, the Cecropias or Guarumos (Cecropia sp.), and bamboo (Chusquea sp.) From “El Refugio” it is possible to follow any of the four following trekking routes: “Spectacled Bear” 437 yards, “Cloud Forest” 765 yards, “View Point” 1 mile or 3 miles, up to Sabanilla at 11,482 ft., and “Compadres Lagoon” 9 miles where you can find a fluvial system made up of 105 lagoons, 3 of which are easily accessible. From the Podocarpus NP heading towards the Zamora province, you will encounter impressive hill formations, created through a process of wind and water erosion.
Open every day. The entrance fee to the park is $10 and $5 for children under 12. It is better to hire a guide in Loja, since there is no information offered at the park’s entrances. Phone: 3024837.
TAPICHALACA RESERVE A special site for birdwatchers has been built in the Tapichalaca Reserve that belongs to the Jocotoco Foundation. Tapichalaca has an area of 9,386 acres. It borders the Podocarpus National Park and is located right nexto to the Loja-Zamora Province border. It is named after the Tapichalaca hill. Jocotoco is the common name of a bird species (Grallaria ridgelyi) that was recently discovered (1997) at this site. This bird spends more time “walking” on the bushes than flying, and makes a sound similar to a dog bark. There are bird feeders surrounding the house at the entrance to the reserve, where an amazing diversity of hummingbirds of all colors and sizes welcome visitors.
At first glance, the rain forest is a vast green wilderness. However, when one observes carefully, this ecosystem is full of surprises for its visitors. Not only is each tree very different from the next, but also for every tree, there are hundreds of other plant and animal species in constant interaction. Tropical rain forests occupy 7% of the Earthâ€™s surface, but they hold 50% of the worldâ€™s biodiversity (Myers 1988; Wilson 1988). These forests are found in Central America, Africa and Asia, but the biggest area extends throughout the South American Amazon.
berant ecosystem are the product of a constant interaction between the living and dying organisms on the surface. Decomposition is vital to the dynamics of the forest. Thus, it is important to preserve this ecosystem in its entirety. The temperature in tropical rain forests is quite stable, with a variation between day and night. However, this ecosystem is far from being stable.
Rainfall is seasonal and results in major changes for the living organisms. Disturbances also add to the high dynamics of this ecosystem. Many hypotheses have been made to explain the impressively high diversity in tropical rain forests, and each provides an insight to better understand this complex ecosystem. The competition for resources has led organisms to adapt to unique niches,
To truly take advantage of the rain forest, one must awaken all five senses to discover how exotic life forms have evolved to live together in a minimal amount of land. The embracing sounds tell of the various birds and insects that keep this living forest in constant change. One must carefully observe the many other animal and plant species, as they have amazing color and texture adaptations that can be easily confused with the scenery. The various smells tell of the chemicals that the plants have developed as a defense from herbivores, and many serve in medicinal use for humans. In contrast to what one may think, the soil of the rain forest is not fertile. The nutrients that supply this exu113
thus resulting in a number of specialized and interdependent organisms.
it is home to less than five percent of the country’s population.
The overwhelming complexity of the forest makes one wonder about the ancestral knowledge of the indigenous inhabitants. These cultures have passed their knowledge from generation to generation as a way to keep the secrets hidden in this magical site.
The Ecuadorian Amazon region is basically divided into Northern Oriente (Sucumbios, Napo and Orellana provinces) and Southern Oriente (Pastaza, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe provinces).
In Ecuador, the East of the Andes falls into this exuberant ecosystem. Locally the Amazonia is called Oriente, as it lies on the eastern side of the country. It occupies almost half of Ecuador’s territory, however,
The Ecuadorian rainforest is home to nine natural reserves, including the two largest mainland protected areas, Parque Nacional Yasuni and the Reserva Faunistica Cuyabeno. Opportunities to visit primary forests and to interact with local communi-
IMPORTANT TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHAT TO BRING: • CASUAL AND LIGHT LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS AND LONG PANTS (BECAUSE OF THE INSECTS AND THE BOUNTIFUL VEGETATION) • HIKING OR COMFORTABLE SHOES • BATHING SUIT • RUBBER BOOTS & RAIN PONCHO (ALTHOUGH MOST FACILITIES HAVE RUBBER BOOTS IN SEVERAL SIZES AND RAIN PONCHOS AVAILABLE FOR THEIR GUESTS) • SUNSCREEN LOTION • INSECT REPELLENT • A HAT • A BACKPACK • A FLASHLIGHT WITH EXTRA BATTERIES • BINOCULARS • CAMERA • WATERPROOF BAGS FOR YOUR BELONGINGS • CASH (BANKING FACILITIES ARE POOR IN THE ECUADORIAN ORIENTE) • EMERGENCY SUPPLIES: MOST LODGES OFFER FIRST-AID KITS, BUT YOU MIGHT WANT TO CARRY YOUR PERSONAL KIT. IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO INSECTS, DO NOT FORGET THE NECESSARY MEDICATIONS IN CASE YOU MIGHT FACE A CRISIS • ORIGINAL PASSPORT (REQUIRED AT SOME SPOTS AT THE ECUADORIAN AMAZONIA)
• VACCINATIONS AND MEDICINES: IT IS RECOMMENDED TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN TO GET THE MOST UPDATED INFORMATION AND ADVICE. FOR SOME SITES DEEP WITHIN THE RAINFOREST, YOU MIGHT BE REQUESTED A YELLOW-FEVER VACCINATION. YOU MAY ALSO WANT TO TAKE MALARIA PILLS; CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR. HOW TO GET THERE: FLIGHTS ARE OFFERED TO THE FOLLOWING CITIES: • COCA – CAPITAL OF THE ORELLANA PROVINCE – ROUNTRIP FLIGHT APROX. $120, SERVED BY THE LOCAL AIRLINE TAME. • LAGO AGRIO – CAPITAL OF SUCUMBIOS, THE NORTHERN-MOST PROVINCE OF THE ECUADORIAN AMAZONIA. THE CITY OF LAGO AGRIO IS NOW OFFICIALLY CALLED NUEVA LOJA. TAME OFFERS DAILY FLIGHTS FOR APROX. $120 ROUNDTRIP • MACAS- CAPITAL OF THE MORONA SANTIAGO PROVINCE. TWO LOCAL AIRLINES OFFER THIS SERVICE: TAME AND SAEREO- ROUNDTRIP APROX $140 * THE CITIES OF TENA AND PUYO CAN BE EASILY REACHED BY LAND (A 3 –6 HOURS DRIVE FROM QUITO).
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CLIMATE: The climate is precisely the one you would expect form the rainforest – hot and humid, with plenty of rain. April to July are the wettest months, but you can expect cloudbursts most days throughout the year, especially during the early afternoon. Typical daytime temperatures fluctuate around 25ºC (77ºF), even though daily highs can reach over 32ºC (90ºF).
PREMIUM LODGING - AMAZONÍA AmaZOOnico Wildlife Rehabilitation Center AmaZOOnico offers the possibility to have a close encounter with native wildlife at very easy reach. The Wildlife Center is located close to the city of Tena, province of Napo, a 3-4 hour drive from Quito. As for now, it is possible to see the following animals at this site: tapir, capybara, several monkey species, jaguar, anaconda, caiman, turtles, some parrot species, the colorful Macaw, toucan, amongst others… You reach the center by canoe, and the entrance fee is $3 per adult, which includes a guided tour. By visiting this center, you are also contributing to these animals rehabilitation and, if possible, re-introduction into their natural habitat. Built in 1993, AmaZOOnico is a wildlife rehabilitation center that started by the initiative of a couple: Remigio Canelos and Angélica Raymond. Now, 20 years later, AmaZOOnico has been able to rescue an important number of wild animals from captivity, and some of them have even been successfully re-introduced to their natural habitat at their neighboring reserve SELVA VIVA, a protected primary forest with an area of 11 km2, where hunting is prohibited. La Casa del Suizo is only a 20-min canoe ride from AmaZOOnico and offers a visit to this Center as one of its tour options. You can also contribute with the Wildlife Center through the program “Padrinos del AmaZOOnico”. For more information visit: www.selvaviva.ec Or contact Sofía Bravo at: E-mail: email@example.com Phone: + 593 994143395
ECUADOR BY TRAIN NARIZ DEL DIABLO (DEVIL’S NOSE)
The Railway to Discover Ecuador The construction of the Ecuadorian railroad began in the late XIX century, and by 1908 the stretch QuitoGuayaquil was completed. Nowadays some of the tracks have been refurbished and offer a unique way to discover Ecuador’s contrasting landscapes. We recommended that you visit the Eloy Alfaro train station in Chimbacalle (Quito). It includes a museum and a cafeteria. Train Cruise From the majestic Andes to the tropical coastal plains of Ecuador, “Train Cruise” allows for passengers to enjoy the most spectacular and contrasting landscapes of Ecuador. The Train Cruise journeys for four days, traveling 500 km (310 miles) with an average speed of 25 to 30 km / h (15 – 19 miles per hour). For more information and reservations: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (593 2) 399 2100 ext. 1175 www.trenecuador.com/crucero Some of the regular train routes that are open at the moment are: 116
Camino al Boliche (On the way to Boliche) Quito-Boliche-Quito Distance: 59km / Duration: 8 hours Itinerary: Thursday to Sunday and holidays / Departure: 8h15 Excursion standard: $20 Standard plus: $25 Surrounded by gorgeous landscapes and diverse ecosystems, this train ride passes through the fertile valley of Machachi, and ends at the Cotopaxi National Park, crowned by the outstanding volcano with the same name. Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose) Alausi – Sibambe – Alausi Distance: 12km / Duration: 8h30 min / Itinerary: Tuesday to Sunday and holidays / Departure: 8h00 / 11h00 / 15h00 Excursion standard roundtrip - $25 Standard plus roundtrip - $35 This route through striking Andean landscapes includes a zig zag railroad that at the time of the construction was one of the most demanding engineering works. Although short, the ride is fascinating! Tren de la Libertad (Liberty Train) Ibarra – Salinas – Ibarra Distance: 30km / Duration: 1h30 min Itinerary: Wednesday to Sunday and holidays / Departure: 10h30 Excursion one way: $10
Excursion standard rountrip: $15 Express Travel (Autoferro trip auto guidance): Roundtrip $6.50 This fascinating journey crosses through a number of bridges and tunnels built by pickaxe and shovel through the mountains and hills. In only 30 km, one passes through a variety of contrasting landscapes wich are home to/of different cultures. Sendero de los Ancestros (Ancestors’ Trail) Riobamba – Colta – Riobamba Distance: 25 km / Duration: 4h15 min / Itinerary: Thursday to Sunday and Holidays / Departure: 12h00 Excursion Standard – Roundtrip $15 During this journey the tourist will enjoy the amazing landscapes of the Andes and will visit the Balbanera church, the oldest in Ecuador. This attraction as well as the majestic Chimborazo volcano and the Colta lake present a mixture of history and tradition. TICKET POINTS Quito: El Quinde Store / Address: Venezuela s/n & Espejo / Phone: (593 2) 2288696 Guayaquil: Malecón 2000 / Address: Malecón & Calle Aguirre www.trenecuador.com phone: 1-800- TRENES (873637)