Lonesome George – cultural heritage of Ecuador?

In June we received a sad news: Lonesome George, the only remaining representative of the subspecies of Giant Totroise died in Galapagos. With an estimated age of more than 100 years he was a symbol of the Islands, so it really marks and end of an era…

But it turns out that Ecuador want’s to commemorate old George after all, putting him on the list of cultural heritage of the country. The officials say that it’s not only the honour of the tortoise they keep in mind, with this proposition they want to remind the world of the importance of preserving the endangered species.

I’m not a fan of gestures like this, because it will only mean coctails and parties where the officials will shake their hands and congratulate themselves for this great idea, but at least world’s media mentioned Ecuador again yesterday, and that’s always good (when the news is good I mean:p).

What is Pachamama?

Indios from the Andes

When you are visiting a traditional festival of the Indigenous people in the Andes of Ecuador, you can often hear the word “Pachamama”, but what is Pachamama? This I will try to explain to you, so that the next time when visiting one of these traditional festivals you will know what is meant with “Pachamama”!

Pachamama or also called Mama Pacha is the mother Earth in person for the Indigenous people of Ecuador and other parts of South America and is deified as a female deity. Pachamama has the characteristics of a mother – she feeds, protects and is able to communicate in a ritual way. The Pachamama is the arbitrator between the Upper World and the Under World. The Indigenous folks Aymara and Quechua adore Pachamama as an omnipotent deity, who gives life and food. In 2008 Pachamama, which today is understood as a factor for identity, social opposition and the hope of an all-embracing life, was fixed together with “Sumak kawsay” as an ultimate principal in the constitution of Ecuador. “Sumak kawsay” signifies a good and harmonic life.

The word Pachamama has its origin in the language of the Quechua and Aymara. Pacha means time or space and is a synonym for the totality of being, but also for the Under World and the Upper World. The Indigenous people are always trying to set up the balance between these two worlds – for this, prayers, festivals, rituals and work are used.

Melcocha – the famous and typical candy of Baños

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Melcocha is also known as Alfandoque and is the famous and typical candy of Baños. You can find it in every little shop in the town and you can observe how it is produced.

Baños is also famous for the high amount of sugar cane which is the base of Melcocha. It is possible to buy sugar cane in his original condition as well but as Melcocha it is superior!

For the production of Melcocha the juice of the sugar cane is needed. So the sugar cane has to be squeezed. If there is enough juice for the production of Melcocha, the juice has to be cooked. When the juice begins to boil you have to add vegetable slime of the Guacimo Tree, because with the help of the slime the pollution, like sand, leaves and other things will be bounded. The juice has to cook until it becomes viscous syrup. The syrup is spilled on a clean and watery plate so that you can add almonds and nuts. After this you have to form a chunk. Now the hard work begins. The syrup has to be cooled down. For that the chunk is put on a crook in the wall and then the chunk has to be doffed and kneaded until the mass becomes hard and can be broken very easily. The Melcocha is ready to be eaten.

Do you want to try? Then visit Baños! It is worth!

The production of Melcocha

Mindo – a bird watching paradise

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Mindo, the small eco-friendly town, is located in the cloud forest of Ecuador and is part of the Nature Reserve called the Bosque Protector Mindo-Nambillo which is about 47.444 acres. Just 2,5 hours away from Quito, Mindo is a great option for a daytrip, especially when you are interested in bird watching. 350 different species of birds can be observed in the surroundings of Quito. Also many rare species like the toucan-barbet, cock-of-the-rock and the golden-headed quetzal, are domestic in the cloud forest around Mindo. Because of the great diversity of birds it is not remarkable that Mindo belongs to the best bird watching spots in South America.

El Sombrero Fino de Panama – The production of the famous Panama Hat

Cuenca Panama Hats

There are plenty of theories about how the Panama Hat got his name. One is that in former times goods could not be imported directly from the countries of South America to the United States. A central collecting point and custom office was needed, which was Panama. So every good had the stamp of the customs of Panama. Thereupon the hat was called Panama Hat in the United States. The Panama Hat became famous when European emigrants discovered the hat during their journey from the “old world” to San Francisco in 1848. In 1855 the Panama Hat caused a sensation at the World Exhibition.

Since 1630 the Panama Hat is produced in the provinces Manabi and Azuay in Ecuador and centers of the manufactures are the cities Montecristi, Jipijapa and Cuenca. The Panama Hat is of the straw of the Toquilla palm which has green-yellow leaves and becomes up to 5 meters. Every three months the leaves are cut with a machete and then the leaves are cooked for three or four hours. Afterwards the leaves are dried over a fire with brimstone. Now the leaves are cracked in thin fibers. The thinner the fibers the higher the quality of the Panama Hat. Then the weavers weave the hat by hand. The production of a “Superfino” cans last three to six months, because of the very tight braiding which grants that the Panama Hat is water resistant.  The Panama Hats of the best quality can be drawn through a ring without getting damaged, but these hats also cost several thousand dollars.

The Panama Hat is among the most popular souvenirs of Ecuador if not the most favored one!

The giants are coming – whale watching in Ecuador

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ecuador-coast-whale-watching“The whales have a passport of Ecuador!” – This sentence often can be heard at the coast of Ecuador during the month from June to September. Every year the gigantic Humpback Whales come the long way from the Antarctica to the coast of Ecuador for mating or birthing and to entertain thousands of people with their amazing dances and love songs.

The places to be at the coast of Ecuador for whale watching are the Machalilla National Park, La Isla de la Plata, Puerto Cayo, Manta and Bahia de Caraquez in the province Manabi. In Esmeraldas the places to be are Mompiche and Sua. From here many boats are operating whale watching tours which is an unforgettable experience. Humpback whales can reach a length of fifteen up to sixteen meters and a weight of forty tons.  Watching these giants dancing in the ocean in front of the coast of Ecuador is one of the most impressing views which the animal kingdom is offering.

source: http://www.ecuador.com/activities/whale-watching/

Don´t miss the experience of watching the whales dancing!

Ecuador – one of the best countries for enjoying his retirement

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Ecuador is a country with such diversity and offering such great options for enjoying life and relaxing. Therefore Ecuador was named to one of the countries in which it is worth spending his retirement. The list was released by the U.S. News: Money. Factors like way of life, visiting sites, tranquility and budget played an important role for becoming chosen. The most recommendable city of Ecuador for the journalist Kathleen Peddicord is Cuenca, situated in the south of Ecuador, therefore Cuenca is a great and affordable option to spend his retirement there. A friend of the journalist calls Cuenca as the most favorable place where you can enjoy live.  This friendly city also has a very agreeable climate.

There is no more option spending your retirement in such a great, calm city with beautiful architecture, nice ambiance and where your dreams become true: solely Cuenca, Ecuador.

source: The World´s Top Retirement Havens For 2011

Ecuador – a mosaic of cultures

The cultures of Ecuador

Ecuador is a country with such a diversity of nature and culture difficult to find in other countries in South America. Like the nature are the people living in Ecuador – a mosaic of totally different cultures. The indigenous people of Ecuador are presenting one of the biggest groups in Ecuador, but are also a mosaic of different cultures. There are twelve different cultures.

 

 

Cuenca – one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador

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Cuenca situated southerly from Quito in a height of 2450 up to 2600 Meters is one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador. Cuenca is the third biggest city of Ecuador and rich in colonial heritage. The historic centre of Cuenca was appointed to World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO in 1999.

The heart of the Historic Center is the Plaza Abdon Calderon where the old very impressing La Catedral Vieja is situated.

The park La Carolina – a green oasis in Quito

The park La Carolina is the green oasis and soul in the north of Quito. The park is located between the avenues los Shyris, Eloy Alfaro, Amazonas and Naciones Unidas. On weekends, the park is meeting point of the people living in Quito. Some people come here to do sports like playing football, basketball, ecua-volleyball and running, others just walking around with the family, looking around and having a snack.

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