Reserva Produccin Faunstica Cuyabeno

This beautiful reserve (admission 20) is a unique flooded rain forest covering 6034 sq km around Rio Cuyabeno in northeastern Ecuador. Seasonally inundated, the flooded forest provides a home to diverse aquatic species and bird life. Macrolobium and ceiba treetops thrust out from the underwater forest, creating a stunning visual effect. The blackwater rivers, rich in tannins from decomposing foliage, form a maze of waterways which feed the lagoons. The boundaries of the reserve shift with the...

Hook accommodation online at wwwlonelyplanetcom

THE NORTHERN ORIENTE Tena 249 R os Ecuador Yacu Amu (Tena 288 6727 Quito trt 02-223 6844, 290 4054 www.riosecuador.com Orel-i.ma) is a popular outfitter that offers trips for all tastes. Their most popular is a 55 daytrip down the Upper Napo (Class III), suitable for all levels of experience. If you're alone there are guaranteed departures every Saturday. Trips down the Misahualli (November to March) promise more thrills, with Class-IV rapids and a waterfall portage, which cost 65 per person....

The Quito School Of

As the Spanish colonized present-day Ecuador, religious conversion became the key to subduing the native population and remaking the New World in a likeness of the Old. The most successful tool for conversion was art, whose story-telling power and visual representations had long served the Catholic church in matters of gaining believers. At first, the Spanish imported sculptures and paintings from Spain, but beginning in the mid-16th century, the church set up guilds and workshops to train a...

Midrange

La Casa del Abuelo ( 286 6318 Sucre 432 s d 15 20) An ample refurbished country-style home with large, medieval doors and comfortable bright rooms. There's hot water and fans, and tour arrangements can be made here. On the roof there's a nice mirador with hammocks. Friendly and well-kept, its a great new option. Ask the owners about their rural guesthouse on the river, 5km away. Hostal Los Yutzos ((8j 288 6717 6769 www.geoci ties.com losyutzos Agusto Rueda 190 s d 31 37 g) U ) This riverside...

El Boliche

Both mountaineers and the curious hikl up to Refugio Jos Rivas (dm 17) at about 4800m on the northern slopes of Cotopaxi and some 12km from the lake. Bunk b d( and cooking facilities are available, but brinj a warm sleeping bag. There is a guardia on duty who can show you where you cat leave your gear if you need to do so bring a padlock. Climbing beyond the refuge re quires stamina, experience and snow- and ice-climbing gear it's not a climb for begin ners, although it is relatively...

Maltreated Mangroves

Ecuador's coastal mangroves are an important habitat. In addition to helping to control the erosion of the coast, they provide homes, protection and nutrients for numerous species of fish, birds, mollusks and crustaceans. Unfortunately, mangroves have been in no-man's land, and it has been difficult to say who owns these coastal tropical forests that are semipermanently inundated. Squatters took over areas of mangroves as their own, but this was not a problem in itself, because they were able...

Santa Elena Peninsula

Combining industrial sprawl and the popular beachside resort of Salinas, the Santa Elena Peninsula is usually bypassed by foreign travelers on their way between Guayaquil and the Ruta del Sol. Guayaquile os pack the hotels and condominiums from mid-December through April and sport fishermen and international yachties stop here as well. La Libertad is the center of bus services on the peninsula, but if you're bypassing Salinas it's easier to simply be let off in Santa Elena and make the transfer...

V

Alasaca and Pelileo are the most frequently visited villages near Ambato because they lie on the good main road to Banos. Other villages are off the main road but are inter-sting to visit on daytrips. With the exception of Patate, none of the following villages have accommodations. Buses to Salasaca (S0.35, 25 minutes), Pelileo ( 0.40, 28 minutes) and Patate (S0.70, one hour) leave every 20 minutes or so from IMaza La Dolorosa in the neighborhood known as Ferroviaria, which is a 1 cab ride Irom...

Around Canoa

The Rio Muchacho Organic Farm is a tropical organic farm where guests and locals get their hands dirty engaging in and learning about sustainable farming practices. The farm is proactive in the community and built a primar)' school that teaches children about reforestation and waste management, in addition to their ABCs. The farm lies along the river of the same name and is reached by a rough 8km track 288 THE NORTH COAST San Vicente branching inland from the road north of Canoa. Transportation...

Info

For comfortable buses to Guayaquil from the new town, travel with Panamericana (Map p84 W 255 3690, 255 1839 Av Crist bal Col n 1 Reina Victoria), or Transportes Ecuador (Map p84l art 222 5315 Jl Mera N21-44 near Jorge Washington* Panamericana also has long-distance busei to other towns, including Machala, Lojlj Cuenca, Manta and Esmeraldas. A few buses leave from other places fo some destinations in the Pichincha prov ince. Cooperativa Flor de Valle (fa 252 7495 Larrtf near Ascunci n) goes...

From Gualaquiza To Zamora

Several kilometers south of Gualaquiza, a turnoff to the right leads to Bomboiza, where a Salesian mission educates Shuar and colonist children. Soon thereafter, the road crosses the provincial line into Zamora-Chinchipe province and then rises before passing through the village of El Pangui. Ask locals here for directions to la cascada, a beautiful waterfall two hours east on foot. South of El Pangui the road descends from tableland hills into a gaping, lush valley where the paved road turns...

The Man Behind The Myth

The life and work of Charles Darwin is so closely connected in the general public's mind with the Gal pagos Islands that most people assume he spent a significant amount of time here and that the inspiration for ideas he sketches out in the Origin of Species came to him in a eureka moment while touring the islands. Neither assumption is in fact true. Darwin spent only five weeks in the Gal pagos and his later observations of pigeons and the methods of dog breeders in England were both much more...

East Of Plaza Grande

Two blocks from the Plaza Grande, the Monastery of San Agustin (Chile & Guayaquil admission free) is another fine example of 17th-century architecture. Many of the heroes of the battles for Ecuador's independence are buried here, and it is the site of the signing of Ecuador's declaration of independence on August 10, 1809. In the church's convent, the Museo de San Agust n (tei 251 5525,258 0263 Chile & Guayaquil 9am-lpm& 3-6pm) houses many canvases of the Quito School, including a...

Santo Domingo De Los Colorados

SJ02 pop 199,850 elevation 500m At noon the thoroughfare of 29 de Mayo reaches boiling point. Sidewalks brim with crowds, piles of coconuts, bicycle cages stuffed with clucking hens and there's a derelict sprawled flat on the sidewalk. Even if the sight grabs your attention, the busy surroundings remain unfazed. Welcome to Santo Domingo de los Colorados (usually shortened to Santo Domingo). As this tropical town becomes an important commercial center, unchecked growth also expands its seedier...

Walking Tour

Nindays, when cars are forbidden to enter the old town, are marvelous for a stroll. I he tourist information kiosk (Map p74 enr Vene-i iela & Chile) on the Plaza Grande offers free maps of walks in the old town with detailed information on the sights seen. I'he wonderful Plaza Grande (1 p73) is a yood starting point after checking out the 'alacio del Gobierno (2 p73) and the cathedral 1 p76), continue southwest on Garcia Moreno and turn right on Sucre to see La (ompa a de Jes s (4 p76). From...

Tame B

Mockingbird Caf Internet (Espa ola) Good place for coffee and snacks. nida Herman Melville, only a block from the pier. Laundry (Av Alsacio Northia per kg 1 8am-1pm & 2-8pm Mon-Sat, 8am-1pm Sun) Next to the church. Machine-washed and dried clothes in an hour and a half. Superwash Laundry (J Villamil per kg 1) Banco de Pacifico (Av Charles Darwin 8am-3 30pm Mon-Fri, 10am-noon Sat) Changes traveler's checks and has an ATM. There's an international call center at the corner of Avenida Charles...

Going Bananas

Bananas and plantains are a vital part of the Ecuadorian diet - so much so that banana queens are elected in the coastal city of Machala. So get to know your bananas and try whatever you can that's made with them. Here's a little primer. Pl tanos are plantains, verdes are green plantains and maduros are ripe, yellow plantains. Guineos are the yellow sweet bananas that most foreigners are familiar with. I OK, now let's take 'em apart chifles are thinly sliced guineos fried into crisps, while...

Reserva ecolgica cotacachicayapas

L'his huge reserve (lake admission 1, entire park 5) protects western Andean habitats ranging from Volc n Cotacachi down to the northwestern coastal lowlands. Travel from the highland to lowland areas of the reserve is nearly impossible (how s your bushwhacking ). Most visitors either visit the lowlands from San Miguel on R o Cayapas (see p275) or the highlands around Laguna de Cuicocha, which are described here. From Cotacachi, just before arriving at Laguna de Cuicocha, you will pass the...

Termas De Papallacta

About 1.5km before the village, on the left as you approach from Quito, a signed dirt road leads 2km uphill to Termas de Papallacta. I he setting is grand beyond the lush hill-tides you can see the snowcapped Volc n An-tisana (5753m), 15km south, on a clear day. He aware that the hot springs are a poorly kept secret and weekend crowds can swell to 2000 people It's really best to go during the week. There are two sets of pools the Balneario (admission 6, free for hotel guests 7am-9pm) and the...

Shopping For A Smooth Sail

There are five boats (Galdpagos Explorer, Expedition, Galdpagos Legend, Santa Cruz and Polaris) that carry up to 98 passengers and three boats (Isabela II, Eclipse and Islander) that carry up to 48 passengers all these boats are considered luxury or first-class ships. The majority of the boats or yachts, close to 75 to choose from, carry up to 20 people or less. There are several catamarans as well. The 100 park fee, airfare and bottled drinks are not included in any fare quote. Boats are...

Immunizations

Although no vaccines are legally mandated, a number are strongly recommended 2 doses 1 month apart fever mild case of chickenpox long-term travelers in close contactwith the local population travelers born after 1956 who've had only 1 measles vaccination travelers who may have contact with animals & may not have access to medical care all travelers who haven't had booster within 10 years all travelers 1 dose before trip booster 6-12 months later 3 doses over a 6-month period 1 dose 4...

Tropical Dry Forests

This fascinating habitat is fast disappearing and is found primarily in the hot coastal areas near Parque Nacional Machalilla (p302) and in southwest Loja Province en route to Macar (p225). Its definitive plant species is the majestic bottle-trunk ceiba (or kapok), a glorious specimen of a tree with a massively bulging trunk and seasonal white-flowers that dangle like light bulbs from the bare tree branches. The Gal pagos Islands support surprisingly diverse plant species within distinctive...

Not So Standard Souvenirs

Sure, you can dazzle your friends back home with the classic Ecuadorian wool sweater (like they've never seen that before), or a panama hat (you'll never wear it) or a goofy set of coasters (getting better). But why not bring home something a wee bit different. With the following, you can't go wrong Banana press - This wooden hand press used to make patacones (flattened fried plantain slices) is available at most supermarkets. a Virgin Mary gear shift handle - A bright green plastic shifter...

Infectious Diseases

This is the worst of the watery diarrheas, and medical help should be sought. Outbreaks of cholera are generally widely reported, so you can avoid such problem areas. Fluid replacement is the most vital treatment - the risk of dehydration is severe, as you may lose up to 20L a day. If there is a delay in getting to a hospital, then begin taking tetracycline. The adult dose is 250mg four times daily. Tetracycline is not recommended for children under the age of nine or for pregnant women....

Tightly Woven Culture

Behind the broad and bountiful selection of the woolens stalls at the Otavalo market is a living, breathing industry with a culture unto itself. Small indigenous villages outside Otavalo are home to weaving families. The activity starts before dawn in many households. Weavers gather in a small dirt-floor room to do their swift, silent work. Production starts with washing, carding, spinning and dyeing the wool. Children observe in corners, play with yarn instead of Legos, practicing to one day...

La Virgen Del Cisne

Throughout Ecuador, but especially in Loja province, you'll see stickers and shrines, pendant* and figurines dedicated to La Virgen del Cisne. The original statue of the virgin is housed in f I Cisne, in an enormous, Gothic-style church (called El Santuario) that stands in sharp contrast to the humble houses of traditional campesinos (country people) that surround it. According to local lore, the ancestors of these campesinos made the long and difficult journey to Quito in the late-16th century...

Hat Making Galapagos Island

Cuenca is the center of the panama hat industry and one of the best places to buy straw hats. Cuenca's hat tradition - and its haberdasheries - can be roughly divided into two types hats for export (panama hats) and hats made for and used by local IT'S NOT A PANAMA, IT'S A MONTECRISTI For well over a century, Ecuador has endured the world mistakenly crediting another country with its most famous export - the panama hat. To any Ecuadorian worth his or her salt, the panama hat is a sombrero de...

MARKETS

Thursday is the main market day and there's a smaller market on Saturday. The two main market areas are Plaza de San Francisco (Presidente C rdova at Padre Aguirre) and Plaza Rotary (Mariscal Lamar at Hermano Miguel). The San Francisco market is mainly for locals, though there's a row of stalls on the north side with weavings and sweaters from Otavalo. Hi market at Plaza Rotary is mainly fruits vegetables. Both markets are lively and in teresting, and continue on a smaller scaW throughout the...

Et

Fishing boats bob in the bay, encircled by frigates, pelicans and other seabirds. This village boasts tranquil waters ideal for a dip and a slow-churning pace, although early morning finds the bay busy with trawlers. Sua is family-oriented, quieter and less popular than Atacames, with more reasonable weekend prices. Humpback whales can be seen off the coast from June to September. There is an Andinatel office. Hostal Las Buganvillas ( 273 1008 Malec n r per person 8 ) is a family-run hotel with...

Solidarity In The Sticks

The rural Intag valley is home to modest subsistence farmers. In these humid hills the trees are weighted in tropical fruit and kids ride horses bridled with a scrap of rope. It's hard to believe this community is a hotbed of environmental activism. It started with the burning of a mining camp on May 15, 1997. The vigilante act was a reaction to seven years of copper mining which had left the Rio Junin polluted with waste and toxic substances from the camps which caused skin infections. No one...

Zaruma

Climbing the road to Zaruma in the mountains southeast of Machala, the country and the views open up, providing a refreshing change of perspective and feel from that of the lowlands. Once you reach the narrow, hilly streets of this old gold-mining town -which is lined with quaint timber buildings and where everyone knows everyone else's name - you'll feel like you're in a different country. While the mines are mostly exhausted, you can arrange a visit at the friendly and helpful tourism office...

Los Tsachilas

In a yard of thatched huts surrounded by sugarcane, a river that no longer has fish and tattered forest remnants that no longer bear wild game, stands grandfather Oeido Aguabil. Dressed in traditional Ts chila finery, he sweeps a look at his surroundings and family and wonders aloud, 'Do you think this is worth it ' The family, part of the small community of 70 families in El Poste, 12km outside of Santo Domingo, is part of a group interested in reviving customs and dress and sharing its...

Crucita Area

North of Manta, you'll find small villages popular with national tourists. The fishing town of Crucita has superlative winds for paragliding and kite-surfing. If you're interested in taking the leap, call Raul or Luis Tobar at the friendly and family-oriented Hostal Los Voladores 2340200 hvoladores hotmail .com r per person with shared private bathroom 6 8 fit . Hosteria Zucasa JS 234 0133 r per person with cold hot water 14 17 H gt offers comfortable cabins around a shady pool area. Sandwiched...

Laguna Quilotoa

About 14km north of Zumbahua, the famous volcanic-crater lake of Quilotoa admission to crater amp village per person 1 is one of Ecuador's most staggering sights. From the precipitous crater rim there are stunning views of the mirror-green lake some 400m below, and the snowcapped peaks of Cotopaxi and Iliniza Sur tower in the distance. Fit walkers can hike around the crater rim in four to five hours, and another trail leads down to the water. The latter takes about a half-hour down and over...

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Playas

SANTA ELENA PENINSULA TO GUAYAQUIL Around Playas 317 Hotel Las Redes 276 0222 r with fan air-con from 15 22 g The first place you come to south of town on Avenida Jaime Roldos Aguilera, the Las Redes probably has the nicest rooms of the bunch of hotels outside of town. Each has tile floors, TV and hot water and, a bunch of hammocks hang in the central courtyard. There is a restaurant attached. Hosteria Los Patios 276 1115 s d 10 25 The best place on or rather just off the beach, Los Patios even...

S

From the baggy shorts to the friendly, sleepy demeanor, surfer-dude culture is universal. The good surf at the beach here insures a steady stream of travelers, some you'll see settling up their bills after weeks and months, or taking up trades like hair braiding and wristband weaving. The accompanying Rasta vibe and laid-back ethos means the end of the road for some. Most of the buildings lining one of the several dirt streets in town house a restaurant on the ground floor and either residences...

Sights Activities

There's far more to do around Latacunga than there is to do in it, partly because most of the historic buildings have been wiped out by volcanic eruptions. The well-tended Parque Vicente Leon is the main plaza and has some interesting topiary work enclosed by pretty cast-iron fences. At the southeast corner of the plaza stands the town hall cnr Maldonado amp Orellana , topped by a pair of stone condors. On the south side stands the cathedral Maldonado near Sanchez de Orellana . Behind the...

Getting Around

Most hotels and some caf s rent bicycles per hour 1 , a good way to get around town and the highlands for the aerobically ambitious. The airport is on Isla Baltra, a small island practically touching the far northern edge of Isla Santa Cruz. If you are booked on a prearranged tour you will be met by a boat representative upon arrival and ushered onto a bus for the 10-minute drive to the channel - separating Baltra from Santa Cruz - and the boat dock. If you are traveling independently, don't...

Our Readers

Many thanks to the travellers who used the last edition and wrote to us with helpful hints, useful advice and interesting anecdotes A Annika Achberger, Paul Adderley, Evelyn Aguilar, Sheela Ahluwalia, Sharifah Albukhary, Paolo Alessio, Henrik Almblad, Maria Alvarez Sanz, Veronika Ambertson, Julie Andersen, Frida Andrae, Margara Anhalzer, Julie Archer, Sharon Ashcroft, Chris Askew, Kate Attard. Mary amp Fred Attick, Isabelle Audair, Eric Avery B Hank Baca, Prisca Baeni, Veronica Bakker, Matt...