Welcome to our website ! Our vision is to inspire & promote international understanding through education and cultural exchange between South America - Ecuador and the rest of the world. To help people rediscover life with purpose, integrity and compassion, benefit from our experiences, and acquire knowledge for living in harmony in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. To share our "life changing adventure experiences" with family and friends worldwide. We have consolidated a wealth of the best resources on Ecuador, along with travel journals and photos. Our hope is that you will find this a valuable, user friendly resource network, which enriches your life, enables you to learn, challenges your thinking, and empowers you to discover and undertake your own new experiences and adventures.

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We welcome your feedback, questions and suggestions and hope that you return often.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Carnaval 2013 in Bahia de Caraquez

Celebrated throughout South America this is the biggest festival of each year. February our hottest month and the peak of summer -  Carnaval weekend is early this year with glorious sun filled days. A four day weekend of masquerade, excessive eating, drinking, music and dancing. Up all night, night after night. Dancing 'til dawn...then starting all over again at sunrise! For a brief history on the origins of carnival.


This holiday long weekend again thousands have again escaped to the beaches of San Clemente, San Jacinto, Crucita, Manta, Puerto López, Puerto Cayo, Canoa, Cojimíes, Pedernales, Jaramijó, Charapotó, San Jacinto, & Machalilla for some fun and rest.


San Vicente and Canoa are markedly busier than Bahia de Caraquez.  Bahia's beaches are divided between the strong waves of the Pacific Ocean,  and the protected estuary with minimal waves. Sailing, kayaking, surfing, water skiing, and other water sports are being enjoyed this holiday weekend.  Each afternoon as the sun sets and magically paints the sky various colours providing a picturesque landscape for pleasant conversation. Within our crowds there seems to be less energy and enthusiasm, perhaps due to the overshadowing political rallies and the upcoming election next weekend.

This year on Saturday morning at 9:14 a:m Carnaval got off to a "rock and roll" start with a 6.9 earthquake centered  in Yacuanquer, Colombia.  Although about 220 miles northeast it was the strongest tremor we have experienced here in the last four years lasting several minutes.   The sounds, and vibrations emitted from the earth were reminiscent of a 7.8 quake we experienced in Puerto Vallarta. 

Later that afternoon, the city centre was closed due to a swarm of bees attacking several people who received hundreds of bee stings. The swarming bees resulted in a last minute change to the parade route. The Carnaval parade preceded the election for reina.  Six lovely ladies vied for the honor of  XVIII Edition Queen of Carnaval  for the coast of Ecuador.The competition was based on their carnival costume and secondly their bathing suit. The winning score was Iris Carvalho from Loja chosen as the new Queen of the Carnival 2013. Miss Tourism is Glenda Sánchez from Manta,  and Sara Sáker from Bahia is the Estrella de Mar.


On the coast here the festival is mostly informal and community based. Sunday several musical groups are featured "Martha Loor and her band", "Santhos' of Portoviejo,  and the Bahiena youth group  "Crossroads".

A new attraction was unveiled this year at the Tennis Club. Large plastic bubbles where the children inside  played in the water pool without getting wet.  ( perhaps not so popular )


Diabillios, young and old, seek out their unsuspecting targets with water squirt guns, a shaving cream spray , or a water balloon or bucket bath.


More importantly this long weekend was a gathering and social time for families. Many traveled many miles from throughout South America and Europe to be together for the four days. Large tables and shade tents could be found in many homes where conversation, card games, water games, bar-b-qued food and music filled the day.


About 50 permits costing $ 10  (valid for the four days) have been issued to allow vendors to set up kiosks for the sale of food and beverages. The beer lorry's are unloading thousands of crates at the many newly established stands and stalls along several miles of beach and malecon which will serve as bars & eateries (drink sales were so brisk that the day after Carnaval we were unable to find beer left in any restaurant or even a cold soda). An army of red & white Penguino ice cream bicycle carts patrol the beaches, malecon, and local streets. The Navy and the National Police have increased uniformed personal for patrolling and crowd control. The Civil defense, Firemen and paramedics have established numerous emergency stations.

And several major event stages have been set up for artist performances, presentations, and dancing bands. Local authorities have pleaded to the people who offer the services of lodging, feeding, transport and other necessities, not to abuse prices and to provide the tourists with the best possible treatment.

Many popular festivities are held in different regions of the country. In Ecuador the most famed carnival festivities are in Ambato - "Fiesta de las Flores y de las Frutas ." And if you would like to escape and view some awesome highlights from Rio De Janeiro's 2013 Carnaval the showcase of them all !

Rio de Janeiro Carnaval 2013

On a cultural note, for you film buffs, on Saturday in Guadalajara Mexico the Ecuadorian Film " Pescadora "  was awarded two silver prizes; Andres Crespo for best actor, and  Sebastian Cordero received best director at the 27th Guadalajara International Film Festival.   The film is based on a true story that happened in 2005 in El Matal, a small fishing village just several miles north of Bahia de Caraquez.  It sounds very similar to a scene last year, where just south of here,  drug smugglers were being chased by police and forced to dump their illicit cargo. Boxes of water-tight packages of cocaine washed ashore and were found by astonished poor fishermen. The absurd comedy unveils the adventure out of poverty to a grand stylish tour of Ecuador accompanied by a Colombian prostitute. 

Next weekend  is also a long weekend for Presidential elections on February 17th. Seven opposition candidates are challenging incumbent Rafael Correa and effectively splitting the opposition vote leaving Correa with 50 per cent popular vote buoyed by his personal charisma as well as his government's heavy spending on hospitals, roads and schools.


Each of the other candidates with about 6 % each.  Critics in the nation of 15 million people say Correa has failed to tackle crime and has smothered the private sector by increasing taxes and driving away foreign investors with a 2008 debt default and a forced renegotiation of oil contracts to increase state revenue from the sector.  In reality the economy is growing and Correa has provided stable leadership in a country where social protests commonly remove presidents before their term is completed.

The weekend should be a little quieter as alcohol sale and consumption is prohibited for 36 hours before, and 12 hours after the election polls open and close.  

If you might be considering visiting South America for a future Carnaval, it would be prudent to book your accommodation well in advance.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

El Frutal Finca Ecologica y Turistica

A new interesting agrotourism operation is worth visiting  to help, or to learn in an exclusive natural place, or when simply seeking rest & relaxation. 

El Frutal Farm is 60 kilometres northeast of Bahia de Caraquez in Las Mercedes, a small community near San Isidro. It is in the tropical rainforest receiving over 100 cm of rainfall annually.


This environment differs significantly in plant and animal species from the dry forest surrounding Bahia de Caraquez.  There are many species of flowers, including orchids and bromelías in the area.


The Guyacan, Laurel, Cedro, Jigua, & Guayabo trees provide the home for a variety of birds, parrots, hummingbirds, butterflies, howler monkeys, and sloths.

El Frutal Farm organically cultivates plantains, banano, oranges, limon lima, limon manderina, tangerine, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, avacado, mamay, zapote, coffee, cacao, bamboo, & achiote.


El Frutal Farm is certified organic agriculture, sustainable eco tourism, environmental education, and working with the community in developing sustainable programs.


Here you will learn the value of organically grown fruit and its interrelations for balance and subsistence of the planet.  The farm offers it's organic products, fruit, and compost for sale.

You can enjoy learning,  resting, or helping on the farm.

 Organic Farm Tour

A day tour to  El Frutal Organic & Ecological Farm is an unforgettable learning experience in a natural tropical forest environment which inspires sustainability and well being. Step away from your routine life with the opportunity to have intimate contact with nature.


8:00  Orientation and departure from Bahia
9:00  Coffee & traditional bread at Ola Mi Caballo
10:00 Farm discovery trek & explanation of organic practices
12:30 wholesome country almuerzo & juice
13:30 relax in the hammock under the trees
14:00 Harvesting Fruit and Cocao processing
17:00 Return to Bahia

INCLUDES:  Transportation to / from Bahia,  coffee & traditional bread,  wholesome country almuerzo & juice, fresh fruit snack,   Guided ( Spanish or English ), 

Cost    $ 35  person          $ 25  / person for groups of 6 or more

Optional tours to a dairy processing facility,  short trip and then hike  to the nearby waterfall of Nueva de Octubre, or archeological expedition to San Isidro

RECOMMENDATIONS: Please bring water bottle, comfortable clothes, rain gear ( December through May )  hiking boots,  insect repellent, sun hat/cap, sun protection, binoculars, and camera.

For those who decide to spend more time there they have a three floor terraced lodge built in wood & bamboo with room for 10 people, a guest house for 2, and ample space for camping.


A large kitchen and dinning shelter area with open view of the rain forest, games,  gardens, ecological bathrooms, hot shower and all that nature provides.

To stay in El Frutal Organic & Ecological Farm is a period of continuous learning. One day you can be sowing a tree, the following day you will be learning about environmental education, picking oranges, restoring the farm, giving English lessons to the local children, or working in the community,  interpretive walks in the forest, birdwatching, or spotting the howler monkeys, or sloths,  resting,  or simply learning the ancestral culture of the people that inhabited the area.


Afranio has been involved in Las Mercedes community development since  2007 initiating many valuable activities and projects. Community development workshops for adults in the community have been organized on agriculture and alternative ways to supplement or enhance their income.


After your visit we hope you take with you a better sense of the real Ecuador. A preserved natural green world of where conservation of the environment is extremely important,the good practices of the local community, and integrated sustainable tourism.


For reservations or more information please call Don Afranio  @  099 432 0374

                e-mail  eldescousodedonAfra@hotmail

                Facebook:  Finca Ecologica Turistica

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Jaramijo is located in the province of Manabi, just north of Manta, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.


The beautiful little fishing village of Jaramijo has a population of about 12,000.


It sits overlooking the working fishing harbour, which is wrapped with a malecon.


This village is one of those undiscovered jewels we adventurers love to find.


Despite its beauty, charming character, and rich history  tourists are scarce. In fact many nearby local residents do not know of, or have yet to visit Jaramijo.  There is very little written information available about the city.


Although the canton was recently formed on 28 April 1998, it's capital - the town of Jaramijo, is according to archaeological evidence over 4,000 years old.  The city has basic services,  with minimal overnight accommodations.


Its attractions are natural beauty, and a very rich history.  General Eloy Alfaro's famous battle against three ships was just off this coast.


Jaramijo has a beautiful wide, gray sandy beach flanked and protected by cliffs. The wide beach facilitates volleyball ,soccer, and surfing.  The natural harbour provides calm, clear waters for swimming.  Along this beach you will find pelicans,vultures, egrets, gulls, frigate , blue footed boobies,  snails, crabs, and much more.

The harbour is home to the last of the fishing sailboats in use on Ecuador's central coast, and several major tuna processing factories are nearby.


To the south the peninsula of land which provides protection for the natural harbour, holds the Institute of Oceanography's lighthouse. The community is seeking to create a tourist focal point here with an observatory and restaurant.   

For the Festival of St Peter & St Paul on August 24th its residents hold a miniature UN celebration.


In summary  Jaramijo is the ideal place to bring your family and friends, avoiding  the crowds, enjoying peaceful relaxation, and discovering nature's mysteries.

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Bahia de Caraquez, Manabi, Ecuador