Category Archives: Personal Experience while in Ecuador

Great Ecuadorian support for its soccer team.

Even though Ecuador is out of the FIFA World Cup 2014, you can watch in this Coca Cola promotional video the love of its people for their local team players. Soccer it is a big sport here in Ecuador, many poor children in Ecuador dream of becoming a soccer player as a ticket out into prosperity, for its family, and even its own community.

Way to go Ecuador Soccer Team of 2014! you played well and with honor, see you in the next Worl Cup.

 

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Carnaval in Ecuador = Traveling around Ecuador

Carnaval 2014:

Great time off to take advantage and travel to new places in Ecuador. With four days in our hand, we decided to travel up the highland in to the amazing Andes Mountains to the Province of Chimborazo (named after this wonder of nature, the Chimborazo Volcano). I will share my pictures that can show you how fun it was and a really interesting gastronomic adventure. I decide way before the trip started that I will try just any interesting local treat along the road.

We planned to drive through local highways up to the mountains, which gave me a chance to check all that luscious vegetation that can only be found in a place like Ecuador,  from the tropical Coastal greenery to the dry high altitude -Paramo- vegetation when crossing the Chimborazo.

Our trip was going to start at 5 am, which meant that BK was our first option to try on the road trip. So our first food stop was Pallatanga, which is a very small town about 3 hours from Guayaquil, just when entering in the Province of Chimborazo and the road starts claiming up hill. Here we found a Tortillas shop with the most amazing natural herbal infusion that really help me with the altitude and the cool weather.

Another purpose of this trip to the Chimborazo Province was any woman’s favorites: shopping, I was told that in the Town of Guano (another 2 hours on our road trip), I could find great leather shows, handbags and any leather accessory… they were so right, I was in real need for flats, and I found the most amazing designs and colors, also they felt so soft that I bought 3 pairs at $35 USD each, all leather and fit me perfectly.

Since was late morning, we needed a small snack, what better treat then CHOLITAS… is the one hundred year old traditional delight in this village. CHOLAS, what? Yes, Cholas, here I’ll explain. A Chola is made of a sort of biscuit like dough, with a center stuffed with delicious brown sugar, it is rolled into a ball and later baked in a wood-burning oven. You usually get 7 for a dollar.

After this treat, we decided to head back to the City of Riobamba for a quick lunch and to visit the place, this was about a 25 min drive from Guano. Here the traffic was chaotic,  a lot of road construction and everybody was on the streets playing Carnaval, that is a serious festivity here up the mountains of Ecuador…. And we had to be so careful on avoiding no to get wet or hit with water balloons or Carioca foam…

Sadly Carnival in Ecuador has been known to be quite savage. Living it up has come to mean dousing your neighbors, family, friends and any other passerby with every liquid imaginable. The water is sometimes topped off with flour to make you a really sticky mess. There is Carioca a colored foam similar to shaving cream that has become very popular. It’s also less messy. 🙂

A law prohibiting Carnival savagery has been passed in Ecuador. During the weeks leading up to the days of partying, repeated television announcements are run urging the people to play nice.

Carnival used to be a two week affair in Ecuador, but with this new law you are usually safe up until the weekend before Ash Wednesday. And the streets are not safe with players seen in all out war, armed with their buckets and water guns.

So we basically decided to go for a quick bite in the City of Riobamba, park the car close to a deli that look nice and run in to avoid getting wet. On our way out getting into our car, one of us was almost hit by water thrown from a passing car, good thing they missed the shot, we just drove fast out of the city.

Our next stop was this nice Hacienda Hotel located between Rioabamba and Ambato. An incredible Spanish style hotel, every detail was in place for a great boutique experience, what an amazing lodging place… La Andaluza.

 

We enjoy our stay at the Hosteria, and for the next days we took small trips around the area to visit different highlights in the central part of Ecuador, like The Chimborazo Volcano were we found Vicuñas; and El Tren del Hielo (dress warm since it is 3600 meters above sea level and gets cold). Also Villages like Lago de Colta, Penie and Guayabamba.

On the way back, we decided to visit another Province of Ecuador, Bolivar, I need to taste those local hand made cheese, chocolates, and other sweets.. Salinas de Guaranda, in the Province of Bolivar, images speak by themselves, we bought Mozzarella and Fresh Cheese, Home made marmalade, cocoa tablets to make hot chocolate and few sweets for our friends back home.

Road Conditions — Most of the major highways in Ecuador are in pretty decent shape. But once you venture off the major thoroughfares, the situation deteriorates dramatically.

Even the major highways and tourist destinations are only sporadically marked with up-to-date signs and markers. And once you get off the beaten path, you may not encounter any signs or indications as you pass intersection after intersection.

Always keep an eye out for the sudden appearance of a pedestrian, bicycle rider, dog, or cow, even on major highways. It’s best to avoid driving at night, as very few roads or highways are illuminated.

The road through the Province of Bolivar was in a poor condition, there were lots of pot halls and un even pave road, which made driving difficult and slow us down a lot. It is always hard to drive in Ecuador; the way locals drive plus weather conditions like fog can be very challenging. It is best if you opt for the help of a local driver, or take your time to familiarize with local driving before you hit the road.

 

Some of my friends decides to visit some beach locations in Ecuador, they complain of a large crowd and everything more expensive than usual. Maybe is good to avoid those local’s hot spots and travel some other great places in Ecuador, check in the near future some of the images send by my friends..

Enjoy Ecuador, until next time…. Adios.

Tourism by TRAIN in Ecuador – Tren Crucero Ecuador

A new Touristic Train service is ready in Ecuador – Tren Crucero – following an investment of some $280 million, and the rehabilitation of 456 km (283 miles) of the country’s railway system. This amazing Ecuadorian Tour service aims at the high-end of the market that is ready to ride the rails.

The “Tren Crucero” will travel from the Guayaquil on the Coast to Quito, or vice versa, with overnight stays in traditional haciendas, and between visits to colorful indigenous markets, museums, towns, farms and national parks aboard the innovative carriages.

They offer 1 to 4-day adventure tours which will be an experience for all your senses. This will bring you into close contact with the Ecuadorian people and the landscapes of the Andes and Coastal regions. A once of a life time experience while riding aboard real comfortable custom-designed carriages – and, the train is using restored 20th-century steam locomotives.

 The route includes the dramatic “Devil’s Nose” segment which connects the Andes and the Coast, the main reason the Ecuadorian system is regarded as “the most difficult railway in the world”.

 The four thematically-styled carriages will carry 54 guests through different fascinating regions, people and culture. Two of the four carriages are furnished with tables and chairs where guests can enjoy a light aperitif, read a book or simply enjoy the scenery picturistic view through large windows. One of these coaches is equipped with personal lockers for storage, while a fourth one offers a coffee bar where the crew will serve beverages and snacks including Ecuadorian favorites.

 The last carriage of the Tren Crucero consists of two sections: the first with a lounge area for socializing, and the second with an open terrace where guests can travel viewing all the elements as the train winds through Ecuador’s majestic landscapes.

 Train trips includes: the train ride, overnights in selected hotels or haciendas, Ecuadorian meals in each region, guided excursions to main natural and cultural attractions, bilingual English/Spanish guides, excursions aboard a tourist bus.

 The crew who will assist guests on board has been hand-picked and trained to the highest standards in customer service. This team will be led by the Train Director, responsible for the train operators, guides, stewards and all service staff.

More Ecuador Travel info at Ecuador Services – Travel section

Surfing in Ecuador – Reef Classic Ecuador Turistico 2014

28 Jan to 1st Feb // Engabao – Playas, Ecuador

$25,000 USD in PRICES

Returns to Ecuador ‘s most important international surf event, the ” REEF RESORT CLASSIC GUAYAS 2014 ” This new edition will take place from Tuesday 28 January to Saturday, February 1st. They are changing the old headquarters, moving from the traditional Montañita, to a new great surf location – La Ruta del Pescador – Engabao in Playas, Ecuador. This is an ideal site for surfing and recreation.

“Playas is where surfing began in Ecuador ,” said Jorge Andant Mannino , Event Director . “Plus, it is a very privileged surfing area, and the place to find the best balsa board. Playas is part of the Province of Guayas, and the new Secretary of Tourism has great development plans for this Coastal Region in Ecuador

According to the organizers the beach chosen for the traditional and prestigious surf contest, Engabao Beach, has the same “window” as the waves in Montanita. In Engabao waves come from the north , west and south, added to this, in late January the “point” is usually well sanded , which makes it easy for perfect tubes and to break at the beach,  providing a great aerial show for the public to watch.

“The action for the best hot spot of professional surfing in Latin American region is has been set” reported Gustavo Plaza, one of the organizers.”To this we must add the advantages of the second best climate in the world (attribute made by the – Beach and Fisherman’s Road, UNESCO, 1982 -)”.

We can add few more advantages to the Reef Classic 2014 new beach location:

They have implemented new beach facilities,

This beach location is only an hour from Ecuador’s largest international airport, which is Aereopuerto de Guayaquil,

A brand new 4 line highway,

Plus the excellent tourism and gastronomy services,

…. and many surprises prepared by the Organization, all of these and more will make this the best REEF CLASSIC in Ecuador’s history “

We will have the chance to see over 150 professionals from 16 countries around Latin America ; those athletes will be distributed among the categories Open, Longboard, Junior and Ladies; all surfing away for $ 25,000 USD in prices.

All the competitions will be broadcast to the world, live and online via webcast, international networks and Space Fox Sports TV will produce one hour specials from the event.

This awesome touristic promotion is considered of “national interest” for Ecuador, reason why it has all the support from the Government of the Province of Guayas and the Ministry of Tourism. On Saturday, February 1 will be the traditional closing awards ceremony in the heart of Playas, it will include the election of the famous Miss Reef , the champions awards, great music concert and a something we can not missed, the CLOSING PARTY.

An archeological discovery in Ecuador

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It sounds like a plot from an Indiana Jones film, but explorers claim to have found ruins hidden deep in a dense and dangerous Amazonian jungle that could solve many of South America’s mysteries – and lead to one of the world’s most sought-after treasures.

The multinational team, including Britons, has located the site in a remote region in central Ecuador which it believes could represent one of the great archaeological discoveries.

They have already unearthed a 260 ft tall by 260 ft wide structure, made up of hundreds of two-ton stone blocks, and believe there could be more, similar constructions over an area of about a square mile.

Investigations of the site, in the Ecuadorian Andes mountain range, are at an early stage and theories as to what it contains vary.

Some of those involved believe it could be the mausoleum of Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor who was captured by the conquering Spaniards, or hold the Treasure of the Llanganates, a vast haul of gold and other riches amassed by his followers to pay for his release.

In exchange for his freedom, Atahualpa is said to have offered to fill a room with gold. But the offer was rebuffed and he was executed in 1533.

His body is said to have been exhumed, mummified and later hidden by his followers in the region in which the new site has been found. According to legend, great treasures – which had been amassed for the ransom – were either buried with him, or separately.

 
Drawings of Atahualpa, the last Incan emperor (ALAMY)
inca_2765840c

The search for the tomb and the riches has been one of the world’s greatest historical treasure hunts, inspiring many, thus far unsuccessful, expeditions.

Others believe the newly discovered site dates back far earlier, to unknown, pre-Inca cultures from before 500 BC, citing what appear to be rudimentary tools found there.

Local legend has it that the area was once populated by a civilization of exceptionally tall people and the apparently outsized nature of some of the approximately 30 artifacts found have led some to describe the area as the Lost City of The Giants.

The site, in the Llanganates National Park, Ecuador, is being investigated by a team of British, French, America and Ecuadorean explorers.

Among them is Bruce Fenton, an Ecuador-based Briton and researcher into the region’s indigenous cultures, who has been involved in the project for about three months, after he heard of recent discoveries made by local trekkers. He is planning two visits to the site before the end of the month. Also involved is Benoit Duverneuil, a French-American archaeologist, who undertook an expedition there earlier this year.

The Ecuadorean government has been told of the discovery and an official expedition by archaeologists and paleontologists is expected to take place. The site is already attracting groups interested in recovering artifacts.

It is only about 20 miles from the town of Baños de Agua Santa, but it takes about eight hours to trek to it through swampy and mountainous jungle. The site is about 8,500ft above sea level and in cloud forest, where it rains most of the time. One route to it is known for the risks posed by attacks of Africanized – “killer” – bees.

The precise extent of the structure and the possible wider development has not yet been gauged. The vast structure is a wall, sloping at a 60 degree angle, with a flat area at the top where many of the artifacts have been found.

The team believes the summit was used for some form of human activities, possibly sacrifices. Some have suggested that it could have been the venue for human sacrifices, with the incline deliberately engineered to allow a head to roll down the side.

The area is affected by regular landslides and much of the structure is covered by mud and vegetation, making investigations difficult.

There are several other large mounds – also covered in mud and vegetation – within a square mile, which the explorers think could be more man-made structures, as well as what appears to be a road.

The team believes the structure already discovered could contain rooms and Mr Duverneuil, who undertook an expedition to the site in April and May, believes it could be Atahualpa’s mausoleum.

“This could be one of the biggest archaeological discoveries ever,” he said. “It would be huge. We just don’t have structures of this type and size in this part of the world. But we are some way from declaring that yet.

“It looks like a paved wall, an ancient street or plaza with a 60 degrees angle, perhaps the roof of a larger structure. Many of the stones were perfectly aligned, have sharp edges and seemed to have been sculpted by human hands. But there is still a chance that this could be a very unusual natural rock formation.”

He has also not ruled out a connection to either the Panzaleo culture, which was established around 600 BC and saw the construction of large temples dedicated to its gods, or the Canari people, who were rivals of the Incas and joined forces with the Spanish during the conquest.

But Mr. Fenton suspects it may date back earlier than any of these groups. He believes the site once held a city, built there to capitalize on the gold found in the region’s rivers, and could be the size of Machu Picchu, the Inca city in southern Peru.

“This is a very inhospitable area and is still considered very dangerous because of the landscape,” he said. “The only thing around there of any value would have been gold. It seems artifacts are spread over a wide area of inhospitable jungle and this only makes sense if a long-lost settlement is present.”

Unlike in Peru, where much attention goes to Inca sites such as Machu Picchu, Ecuador’s archaeological ruins attract a limited number of tourists and government spending is limited.

Reference: Jasper Copping (2013, Dec. 15). Explorers hot on the trail of Atahualpa and the Treasure of the Llanganates in Ecuador.  www.telegraph.co.uk  Retrieved December, 26, 2013 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/ecuador/10517904/Explorers-hot-on-the-trail-of-Atahualpa-and-the-Treasure-of-the-Llanganates.html?goback=.gde_1120277_member_5819967942300819460#!

Ecuador living and Health Care – The city you choose to live has a lot to do with the quality of care you receive.

International Living–Health Care Abroad: Excellent and Affordable

youtube.comhttp://www.internationalliving.com Health care in many countries around the world is excellent and affordable, with prices that are a fraction of what you’d pay in …

Although quality health care is available throughout Ecuador, you must keep in mind that many services may not be available in rural areas and the quality of health care may not be as good as in larger towns or cities.

Most expats and Ecuador living websites will tell you that Ecuador’s best medical services are offered in Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. I will leave it up to you to agree on that, in the mean time, I will just let you know what locals do and I pretty much follow it.

It is common practice for doctors in other parts of Ecuador to refer seriously ill patients to hospitals and doctors in Guayaquil. In Guayaquil you will find high quality, low cost health care, but as anywhere else in the world finding it requires some due diligence and common sense.

We may consider Ecuador as a developing country; the truth is that you can get first-rate medical care here. Guayaquil holds the most progressive and open society, it is the largest and most service demanding local city, therefore, you will find that most local professionals are well educated and up to date on their specialties. Many doctors are educated in the U.S., Europe, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, and receive continuing ed training around the world.

With the right choices, you will receive personal attention from medical practitioners not seen the U.S. And, you’ll pay some of the lowest prices in the world. In general, you can except to pay 10% to 25% of what you would in the U.S. for comparable services. For major surgery, involving longer periods of hospitalization, costs were even less than 10% of those in the U.S.

Health insurance is a bargain in Ecuador. A 55 year old man in the U.S. would pay a monthly premium of $1,100; in Ecuador he pays $86. A woman, age 50 to 60, would pay $77 for the same policy in Ecuador while coverage for a dependent child, between 2 and 17 years-of-age, costs $15.69 a month.

I will advise you to check local insurers since they all have their own policies that will apply. As in the U.S., the policies of major insurers consider pre-existing conditions and require that you sign-up for coverage before you reach the age of 70 (some companies require sign-up by age 65).

Some expats do not opt to take on any health insurance since per services are not expensive. That will be your decision to make depending on your budget and risk factor. Keep in mind that U.S. Medicare will not provide coverage out of the country.

One extra option could be alternative health care in Ecuador. On per capita basis, Ecuadorians use alternative services much more frequently than North Americans or Europeans. You will find well established practitioners of homeopathic and naturopathic medicine in Guayaquil by the Coast of Ecuador.

Ecuador on the way to Brazil’s 2014 World Cup!

TONIGHT!!! Ecuador’s national soccer team can come to within one point of South America’s #1 qualifying team by beating Peru in tonight’s game in Lima.

Actual Coach Reinaldo Rueda took charge of Ecuador in August 2010, just a month after guiding Honduras to South Africa 2010. His objective is clear: to follow in the footsteps of the two Colombian compatriots that preceded him in the job, Hernan Dario Gomez and Luis Suarez, and take Ecuador to Brazil 2014. Boasting a stable squad that has gone through a natural process of renewal, the Ecuadorians are likely to be a major candidate for one of South America’s qualifying slots. Despite these high expectations, they endured a poor Copa America 2011 campaign, not registering a single win and departing after the group stage.

FIFA World Cup finals history
While Ecuador failed to extricate themselves from a tough group at Korea/Japan 2002, their first-ever appearance at the final stages of a FIFA World Cup, the story was quite different at Germany 2006, where the South Americans got as far as the last 16, having surprisingly finished second in their pool behind the host nation. Unfortunately for the CONMEBOL representatives, England would prove a hurdle too far; the Three Lions triumphed 1-0 to move on to the quarter-finals.

IDENTIDAD ECUATORIANA Brazil 2014

 

Montanita Ecuador Surfers town!

You will find a large stretch of beach that will make any beach comer happy tip to toe, it has eight miles of wonderful sandy beach just waiting to be explored. If you want to play in those waves, you will find the best options, this is based on experts advice.

Montanita’s beach has a gradual sloping sandy bottom that lets you walk out over 100 yards before being up to your chest in water and no riptide. Grab your boogie board, surf board or just romp in the waves.

Spanish saying: en el mar la vida es mas sabrosa!

Meaning: by the ocean, life is wonderful!

Along these southern coastal beaches the best weather is from mid-December through May here.  This time of the year is also local’s high beach season, since you get must sunny days and temps between 75 and 85.

Water temperature is also great, you could spend over 4 hour in the water with no wet suit.

For the rest of the year from the end of May till November you have more overcast days, my personal experience is that you hardly see the sun, there is no rain, just cloudy, damp and windy and lower temperatures.

After living in Canada, I could not complain of overcast weather, my best option at that time of the year, it is to go to Playas de Villamil that is an hour drive from Guayaquil, and I get sunshine all year round whit one of the best climates in the planet.

Which it is great about Ecuador is the option to travel from the city to the beach and back to the highland in a couple of hour driving time…. Remember there are no severe weather patterns for the coast of Ecuador!

 

SUNSET by the beach of ECUADOR – Ruta del Sol, Coastal Ecuador

( Feb. 2013)

New Silicon Valley in the Andes: Promise and paradox

By Eric Mack
Editor’s note: This is part 2 of an exclusive four-part Crave series on Ecuador’s plans to transform itself into a new hub of science, technology, and innovation. Read part 1, “Plotting the next Silicon Valley — you’ll never guess where.” Planners say their aim is to create a ‘Silicon Valley of South America,’ to attract scientists and researchers from all parts of the globe.  Mack is a writer for Crave, managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org and the author of books about Alaska and Android.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These guys can no longer get this big without some help from humans…and renewable energy.
(Credit: Johanna DeBiase)

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, Ecuador–There’s a small group of solar panels set up next to a giant tortoise hatchery that’s currently under renovation here. It wasn’t many decades ago that these remarkable gentle giants — which never stop growing and can live to be 150 and the size of a kitchen table — didn’t need help from humans to survive in their native habitat.

Ironically, it is the other species humans brought with them to this remote volcanic Pacific archipelago that have endangered these tortoises. Dogs, pigs, goats, rats, and even ants all prey on young tortoises here, making it virtually impossible for them to survive their first few years in the wild. Instead, they’re raised in facilities like this one near the Charles Darwin Research Station.

There’s plenty more paradox to be found on the Ecuadorian mainland.

The great strides made in the last five years toward modernizing this country after decades of instability have largely been financed by Ecuador’s significant oil resources. Yet, as the country’s socialist president, Rafael Correa, begins his third term in office pushing forward on perhaps its most ambitious project — a planned city of science and innovation dubbed “Yachay” that aims to be part Silicon Valley, part Dubai, and part Shenzhen, China — his administration has opted to lock up one of his country’s richest oil deposits.

Solar panels help power tortoise breeding centers like this one on the Galapagos Islands.
(Credit: Eric Mack/CNET)

Rather than extract the hundreds of millions of barrels of crude beneath Yasuni National Park, one of the world’s most biologically diverse rain forests, Ecuador has instead asked the world to pay it to not drill there. The scheme falls somewhere between crowdfunding and ecological blackmail, but demonstrates a certain amount of audaciousness from a government that also defaulted on a huge chunk of its global bonds after declaring the international debt to be illegitimate.

This is the kind of comfort with paradox that is required of a government hoping to force a small and, until recently, backwards developing nation into a leadership position in the world of science and innovation. But after hearing the pitch and seeing the progress, it’s clear some important people outside Ecuador are ready to file this Yachay thing under “so crazy, it just might work.”

In addition to support from South Korea and CalTech, the Murdoch Developmental Center in North Carolina’s research triangle area has expressed interest in a partnership, as have a few European institutions, according to Rene Ramirez, Ecuador’s minister of higher education, science, technology, and innovation.

Cynicism and broken promises
Then again, like many other developing nations, Ecuador is no stranger to cynicism and broken promises. Editorials in Ecuador’s media have accused Correa of being wasteful with public funds; the daily newspaper La Hora called Yachay a “farce.” In response to the first part of this series, Martin Pallares, a former Knight fellow at Stanford University and a journalist for Quito’s El Comercio newspaper tweeted this about the project: “Hope it’ll happen but I’m afraid no (Silicon) Valley will pop up in a country run by a President who has banished checks/balances.”

Correa has had a thorny relationship with the press, bringing defamation suits against muckracking journalists who have criticized the president, including allegations of corruption. A handful of journalists were convicted and received harsh prison sentences, only to be pardoned by Correa. The confrontations between the government and the press landed Ecuador on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ most recent “risk list” alongside Syria, Pakistan, and Iran (nearby Brazil also made the list).

And, of course, there’s also the aforementioned cold shoulder given to international investors, giving the wider, capitalist world plenty of reason to smirk at such an ambitious project from such a small and relatively isolated nation.

Yet the team behind Yachay seems willing to put in the work to sell their vision to the world, convinced they’ve got something to offer.

Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park
(Credit: Yasuni-ITT)

“It is a City of Knowledge in order to build a country of knowledge,” Ramirez tells me on a visit to his ministry’s office in the capitol of Quito. “Yachay is linked to the areas of knowledge and the strategic industries that we are hoping to develop in Ecuador.”

When the team behind Yachay talks about the project, the paradoxes that make up today’s Ecuador combine into a more holistic vision in which the contradictions cancel each other out and disappear as if part of an algebra problem. For example, the work done at Yachay will center around a handful of areas, including renewable energy that could (in theory) reduce the temptation to drill the rain forest, preserving its biological treasures to assist in research into another of Yachay’s focus areas — pharmaceuticals.

The idea would be “not only to produce [generic drugs], but mainly to link it to an area where we have a competitive advantage in Ecuador,” Ramirez explains. “We have nearby numerous ecosystems which make this country the most megadiverse in the world.”

Of course, the mega-biodiversity Ramirez speaks of is of less value if it’s spoiled by pollution and other environmental impacts of oil extraction, so he talks not only of developing more clean energy tech at Yachay — he claims that only 40 percent of Ecuador’s energy demand is met by fossil fuels, a number he says will drop to 6 percent by 2020 — but also of making improvements when it comes to exploiting all those liquefied dinosaurs and other hydrocarbons.

An overview of the Yachay project.
(Credit: Senescyt)

The inclusion of both petrochemistry and renewable energy in that list of strategic industries to be pursued at Yachay is less a paradox than it is playing the cards the country’s been dealt. And after a series of oil-related accidents in the country — Chevron has been ordered to pay billions for contaminating remote tracts of the Ecuadorian jungle — developing more efficient, safer, and cleaner ways of getting at Ecuador’s primary source of wealth is also a good public-relations move.

In addition to working on renewables, petrochemistry, and pharmaceuticals, Ramirez hopes Yachay will also push the envelope in developing information technologies and the more far-out domain of nanotechnology.

Potential boost to global competition
While I don’t breach the topic with anyone involved with Yachay, it should at least be noted that carbon nanotubes are at the heart of most designs for the construction of a space elevator, and a locale like Ecuador that sits literally on top of the equator is an ideal site for such an experiment.

Likely though, the fruits of Yachay will be a bit more down to earth. Yachay project manager Ramiro Moncayo (you can read much more about him in tomorrow’s installment) believes sitting on the Earth’s midsection is also pretty handy for producing and refining solar energy technology. But no matter what the sector or technology, having another center for innovation — particularly the first of its kind on its continent — is potentially good for global competition, international relations, and ultimately, consumers.

Perhaps most importantly, Yachay promises to help erase more of humanity’s paradoxes.

Back on the Galapagos Islands in 2001, most of the facilities — including the tortoise breeding centers I mentioned earlier — were mainly powered by diesel fuel. In that year, a diesel tanker ran aground just off one of the islands and spilled more than 200,000 gallons of fuel into a delicate ecosystem. The spill devastated the population of marine iguanas that are unique to the Galapagos and inspired the drive towards renewable power here.

Today, therefore, the life of a newborn tortoise that will likely outlive you, me, and our children relies on a solar panel planted among piles of volcanic rock in this small country. If the vision for Yachay becomes reality, the technology that makes that possible might also be developed and born here as well.

Credit: Reposted from http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57575559-1/new-silicon-valley-in-the-andes-promise-and-paradox/

 

Ecuador Sports – Not on the confort zone! War Race event.

Ecuador Sports - Not on the confort zone! War Race event.

Life can be so interesting overseas. Here you have great outdoors if you are on the daring side, or just maybe be part of the show as collaborator, there is a lot of action taking place in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Every day we get more adepts to serious sport activities, just take a look a these pictures taken on location last Sunday at a race event.

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