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Trip Photos: Ecuador 2014/15

on February 2, 2015
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I love this logo from the Tourism Authority- it appeared all throughout the country and tied everything together nicely.

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We based our trip in Guayaquil, part of the Costa, or Coastal region. It’s the biggest city in Ecuador. Boy were we HOT- because it’s located below the Equator, it was summer during our December/January trip.

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The day after we landed, Barcelona Sporting Club and Emelec played a league championship soccer match. Unfortunately, our family’s team, Barcelona, lost. But it was cool to see the fans cheering the team on as they left the hotel on their way to the stadium.

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We’ve eaten at this restaurant on previous trips- I love the huge red crab adorning the entrance, and that’s it’s posing with the traditional board and mallet we use to eat it.

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Mmmmm…excuse me, I’m drooling. Totally obsessed with my Ecuadorian cangrejos, which you see here accompanied by salsa de cebolla (sort of a red onion/lime juice relish), and some aji (hot sauce).

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Limones are a staple of the Coastal diet. They are smaller than American limes, but much, much juicier. And quite a bit cheaper than what we pay in Hawaii!

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We took a day trip to Salinas beach, and passed many banana plantations along the way. Take a look in your supermarket produce section and see if you can even find a banana that’s not from Ecuador! We are a true banana republic.

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My daughter likes taking pictures of her feet on any beach we visit. The water was refreshing, and it was fun knowing that our home was right across that big Pacific Ocean.

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I love the way they marked the Mens’ and Ladies’ rooms at this roadside restaurant. These cute little dolls are a traditional handicraft.

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When near the ocean, eat fish! This was my dad’s dinner: a whole corvina with rice, patacones (smashed, twice-fried plantains), and an ice-cold Pilsener.

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Our next trip was up to Cuenca. This is one of the places where you see the beautiful mountainside quilted with crop fields.

 

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Here are the 3 blue domes of the New Cathedral in Cuenca. We took a double-decker bus tour around the city- easiest way to get around with our group of 21 people.

 

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It’s well-known that the so-called Panama Hat is actually made in Ecuador. There’s a Museum dedicated to its history in Cuenca.

 

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In El Tambo, we boarded a train for a short ride to El Coyoctor. This site had informative guides who led us through a small village preserved by the Cañari people. The Tren Ecuador rail system was recently restored after massive infrastructure investments and everything looked great!

 

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This is where the train turned around to go back to the station. Down the hillside, groups of indigenous people were harvesting food and plants. The air was cool, crisp, and thin. Such a beautiful place.

 

This lady was weaving llama wool at Ingapirca. It is sometimes known as Ecuador’s Machu Picchu. While our site is not as big, it’s a great way to see the amazing Inca architecture up close.

 

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Vegetarians, look away! Pig is king in Ecuador, especially near the Andes mountains. Here’s a fine-looking specimen.

 

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Some of that lovely pig was made into fritada and chicharron, then heaped on top of maiz tostado for a delicious snack. You can also see some season boiled potatoes in the shot. There are dozens of varieties of potatoes along the Andean chain.

 

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Here’s a sign written in Spanish, English, and Quechua. Quechua is a native South American language, and one of the indigenous tongues of Ecuador. Our Ecuadorean Spanish is peppered with Quechua words and phrases, as the language is still commonly spoken among the mountainfolk.

 

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My cousin took this panoramic shot of just one of the many lakes and lagoons in El Cajas National Park. You can see how thick the fog gets in the mountainous regions. Altitude here is approx. 13,000 feet.

 

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Back in Guayaquil, this sign made me laugh. We have a tendency in Ecuador to add “-ito” or “-ita” to the ends of words. The suffix can be added to signify that something is small in size, young in age, to denote affection, and for any other reason you can think of. This sign is advertising teeny-tiny mortgage rates.

 

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We took another day trip out to Puerto El Morro, about an hour away from Guayaquil. You have to drive on several dirt- and sand-packed roads to get there, and feel like you must be hopelessly lost…but then you arrive. They have several different tour options; we chose mangrove/dolphin viewing.

 

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Here’s a shot of the mangroves and a tree full of native birds. Puerto El Morro is home to the largest colony of frigate birds in Ecuador. We had an excellent guide on our boat, who pointed out the pink birds, which are a species of heron. We also saw lots of swoop-and-scoop pelican action.

 

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Dolphins! These dolphins live in the estuary, bordering a large river and the open ocean. We enjoyed watching them interact in small groups very near our boat. Though they are used to the small boats coming to observe them, I was glad to hear that tourists are not allowed to touch them or feed them. One woman on our boat complained that the guide should have brought a bucket of fish to attract the dolphins so her daughter could reach out and touch them. Our guide firmly told her why that would be a terrible idea.

 

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We made sure to be in Guayaquil for all the New Year’s celebrations! If you remember my previous post about our reasons for the timing of this trip, you know all about the años viejos that we burn/blow up at midnight. This is a small Joker located outside of a residence…

 

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Here are some larger-sized ones in the city center. Once they get this big, the creators/owners start to charge money for the privilege of taking a photo with them. A huge amount of time and work go into these, so we definitely thought it was worth the $0.50 or $1.00 it cost…

 

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And here’s an absolutely huge Batman año viejo. He was located along the Ruta de los Años Viejos in the city center. Residents and neighborhood apply for permits in order be able to build and display these massive monigotes on the city streets through January 6 (Three Kings’ Day). Unlike the personal versions, which are of course burned on New Year’s Eve, these are burned in pieces, at a location outside the city, with lots of firefighters present.

 

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We headed out for another road trip, this time north to Quito. I loved this “Chocla” statue, a tribute to the importance of corn in the Sierra. You can see the fog covering the top of the hillside to the right in this photo- it never did clear enough for my husband to see Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, Ecuador’s biggest volcanos. Oh well, that just means we have to go back 🙂

 

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The sign says, “First Church in Ecuador, constructed in 1534.” This church can be found in Riobamba, along the Pan-American Highway. It is small, but significant. A nice little stop.

 

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And here’s the church itself. The Iglesia Balbanera has survived the many, many earthquakes that have hit this region of Ecuador. It’s made of solid rock, and has sustained very little damage over its 480-year existence.

 

Visiting Mitad del Mundo monument just outside Quito. Here we are on the Equator line, toes in the Northern Hemisphere, heels in the Southern Hemisphere! We’re all wearing black shoes because….it was a coincidence, LOL!

 

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Another tribute to food- we Ecuadoreans love to eat. This is a monument to fritada, our irresistible preparation of fried pork chunks. The paila, or pan, is big enough to sit in! Rumor has it that one of my relatives has photographic evidence of that fact…

 

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Parque de las Iguanas in Guayaquil. These guys take residence in the city center, surrounded by office buildings on 3 sides, and a church on the other. You can walk among them, and take plenty of photos, but are discouraged from feeding them. I’d also advise you to be aware of the iguanas in the trees above you! They sure know how to aim their poop, haha. We saw at least one person get hit, ew.

 

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I leave you with this stunning image of the famous quilted mountains of Ecuador. It’s been fun sharing these, as it forced me to think about the details that make a picture special, giving me an even greater appreciation for my homeland. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures, and may they inspire you to see your own native lands with fresh eyes!

 

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3 responses to “Trip Photos: Ecuador 2014/15

  1. Eric Thau says:

    Awesome post!

    Like

  2. Yvonne says:

    Loved seeing and learning more about Ecuador through a native’s eyes. Add this trip to my bucket list! Can’t wait for the next post!

    Like

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