World Travel Awards recognizes the best of South & Central American tourism: Ecuador was awarded last weekend with the title of South America’s Leading Green Destination.
The World Travel Awards™ is the most prestigious, comprehensive and sought after awards program in the global travel and tourism industry. To be voted a World Travel Award™ winner is an accolade which many strive for but few achieve.
World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke said: “It has been an honor to host our annual South & Central America Gala Ceremony here in Quito, Ecuador. From the moment we arrived we have been made to feel at home by the members of Quito Tourism, and their professionalism, endeavor and initiative are the envy of the world.”
He added: “We have seen some regional leaders recognized here tonight and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to them all. World Travel Awards voters have cast their ballots and selected the best in South American tourism. I look forward to greeting all of our winners in Morocco for the Grand Final in November.”
For the WTA 2014 edition, Ecuador was nominated in 18 different categories:
South America’s Leading Tourist Board
Ministerio de Turismo
South America’s Leading Beach Destination
Bartolomé – Galápagos
South America’s Leading Business Travel Destination
Guayaquil y Quito
South America’s Leading City Break Destination
South America’s Leading Culinary Destination
South America’s Leading Cultural Destination
South America’s Leading Green Destination
South America’s Leading Heritage Destination
South America’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination
Guayaquil y Quito
South America’s Leading Airoport
Aeropuerto Internacional “Mariscal Sucre” – Quito
South America’s Leading Destination
Galápagos y Quito
South America’s Leading Luxury Train
South America’s Leading Boutique Hotel
Casa Gangotena – Quito
South America’s Leading Business Hotel
Hotel Oro Verde – Guayaquil
South America’s Leading Conference Hotel
Swissotel – Quito
South America’s Leading Green Hotel
Finch Bay Eco Hotel y Mashpi Lodge
South America’s Leading Hotel Suite
Suite presidencial del JW Marriott Hotel – Quito
South America’s Leading Resort
Arasha Tropical Fores Resort & Spa
Reference and source: www.worldtravelawards.com
Theses pictures will show the elegance and variety displayed at all events here in Ecuador, enjoy them:
Ecuador Residence and Visa:
Obtaining your residency in Ecuador requires you to research and verify the accuracy of all information; also it might require some patience. The information below may be current at the present time but is always subject to change. For more up to date information you would need to contact your local representative of Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Affairs at your local Consulate of Ecuador.
It will be safe to hire a local Attorney if you do not speak Spanish; they will help you understand all the legalities required through the process while overseas or in Ecuador.
You would normally arrive on a Tourist Visa and get a T-3 stamp placed in your passport. This allows you up to 90 days in the country. If you are planning on staying longer than 90 days then seek advice from your local Ecuadorian Consulate. There you can apply for a 12-IX visa, or you could also apply for this visa while you are in Ecuador. Just don’t leave it until too late as these things take time in Ecuador, better get to it in the first 30 days after arriving in Ecuador.
You actually need the 12-IX Visa before you can apply for residency in Ecuador. It is a requirement that needs to be filed along with your residency papers. A resident visa allows you permanent residence and you can still travel outside of Ecuador. One really important issue is that you cannot leave the country for more than 90 days per year in the first two years of your residency; and after that you can only leave for 18 consecutive months while you have the Ecuadorian residency, by then you better apply for the Ecuadorian Citizenship.
There are several different visas that you can obtain and the one of the most used by retirees is the 9-I Pensioner Visa. For more details check the following link to Ecuador Foreign Ministry Office – Pensioner Visa Requirements
If you are considering investing at least $25,000 for one person then you can obtain a 9-II Investor of Real Estate Visa. Now this can be monies put into a CD or property.
The pensioner visa will entitle you too many of the retirement benefits in Ecuador except the right to vote.
For a 9-I Pensioner Visa, you will need to receive from a stable pension or trust fund a minimum income of $800 US. You will need to add $100 US for each dependent that you bring with you.
Senior Citizens Discounts and Benefits in Ecuador:
Ecuador still remains to be one of the best places in the world for retirees. It is one of the few countries in the world that allows you to enter with an automatic 90 day tourist visa, and it has great benefits for senior citizens.
The pensioner visa will entitle you too many of the retirement benefits in Ecuador except the right to vote.
For a 9-I Pensioner Visa, you will need to receive from a stable pension or trust fund a minimum income of $800 UD. You will need to add $100 UD for each dependent that you bring with you.
Under the 2008 Constitution, senior citizens receive prioritized attention, both in the public and private sectors, especially within the fields of social and economic inclusion. In accordance with Ecuadorian laws, senior citizens are those who are 65 years-old and over. (See Article 36 of the Constitution)
The Ecuadorian government guarantees to senior citizens the following rights:
- Access to free health care and medication.50% discounts in public and private transportation services.
- Discounts for special events such as galleries, theater plays and other related arts.
- Tax exemptions.
- Exempt from notaries and registration fees, in accordance with the law. (See Article 37 of the Constitution)
- 50% off electric and water bills.
- 50% off round trip international flights from Ecuador
Would these benefits/discounts be afforded to everyone, including American Citizenss whether resident or not?
The 2008 Constitution provides no distinction between foreigners and nationals regarding civil rights. However, according to “Ley del Anciano” (Law pertaining Senior Citizens), “the beneficiaries of this Act are those individuals who are 65 years-old or over, whether nationals or foreigners, who are legally established in the country (those who have Ecuadorian residency).”
If there are discounts/benefits, is there some sort of senior citizen’s card that is issued? If so, by whom?
According to the law pertaining Senior Citizens, Ecuadorian senior citizens are only required to present their National I.D. at the entity that provides the discount or benefit (such as a hospital, theater, when getting on a bus). In the case of foreigners, the rule is basically the same- required to present a form of I.D. (such as a passport, Ecuadorian National I.D., Ecuadorian Census card, etc.).
Who is the entity that is in charge of these benefits?
No particular entity, however a branch of government that is dedicated to raise awareness about senior citizens’ rights, among others, is the Ministerio de Inclusión Social y Económica.
Feel free to contact me for more references about Living in Ecuador: firstname.lastname@example.org
All lovers of nature tourism have in Ecuador an ideal country to find different ecosystems and natural wonders very close to each other. For that reason, it was awarded the World Travel Award for best Green Destination in 2013.
With this recognition Ecuador was paired with destinations as: 2012 – Machu Pichu, Peru; 2010-2011 – Cousine Island, Seychelles; 2007-2009, Tobago Main Ridge Rain Forest; 2008 – Costa Rica.
The awards sponsored and directed by the prestigious Wall Street Journal, conduct their selection through a strict selection process which involved more than half a million travel professionals and consumers of direct travels (Selected Voyagers) from over 170 countries and all continents.
CONNECTIVITY: Reaching this beautiful country, Ecuador is simple, as it is located in a privileged place where you can enjoy four different worlds (Regions) within little distance from each other. Ecuador has enabled 27 airports in its different provinces.
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.
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
Since the dawn of time, Ecuador has been related to nature. When you travel around Ecuador you will find an abundance of butterflies, gathering of fishes or this amazing tree called Guayacan. At the South end of the country, you will find 5,000 square foot of an incredible natural setting for this tree, “Los Bosques de Guayacan” a forest that is still intact. Next to this wonder of nature, you will find so many different areas that are full of wildlife, botanical plants and exotic trees, so many species that have not yet been discovered by modern scientists.
Guayacan, a tree that stands out at in Ecuador due to its stunning beauty. The botanical name is Tabebuia guayacan (Bignoniaceae). You would find it everywhere in Ecuador, but especially appreciate all its flowering beauty at this untouched forest site located at this small touristic town Mangahurco in the Province of Loja.
Many flowers appear on still leafless stems at the end of the dry season, making the floral display more conspicuous. The Guayacan Tree usually produces big yellow flowers by end of January with the first rains at the end of the dry season. It is a notable flowering tree. The flowers are 1 to 4 inches wide and are produced in dense clusters. Corolla colors vary between species ranging from white, light pink, yellow, lavender, magenta, or red. They are useful as honey plants for bees, and are popular with certain hummingbirds.
The Guayacan is not only beautiful but also offers relief for several health problems. Tea made from the flowers treats urine and kidney trouble. The flower tea has also been used to treat tuberculosis in Latin America.
Promoting touristic sites of this tree in Ecuador will help so much to prevent deforestation of this species. Guayacan’s wood has high local commercial demand, reason why Guayacan deforestation needs to be managed and control. If locals are able to obtain an income from touristic harmless resources like this one, changes will happen through time, and we will see less damage down to Mother Nature.
Here I leave you with a promotional video from the Secretary of Tourism from Ecuador – Ecuador Travel
Discover in this next video Guayacan Forests, music and folklore from Ecuador – Location: Zapotillo, Province of Loja, Ecuador
Touristic Bio diverse site: Forest of Guayacan – Location: Mangahurco, Loja, Ecuador
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)
I will share with you today part of the activities that we had last holiday weekend in Guayaquil, Ecuador; I believe images will express it a lo more than words.
World Cup 2014 Qualifiers Ecuador vs Venezuela 07-10-2011
Note: It hasn´t been difficult to addapt, I love hockey and here in tropical land, I learned to love soccer.
And for those who might like to join me on this past time, some friends are planning on going to Brazil for the world cup 2014.. check this out..
Hope you enjoy it!
First working day of the month of October and by reading most of my friends and colleagues e-mails, I am realizing that weather change is approaching. It is getting cooler up north, and we are getting warmer here in our tropical Coastal Ecuador.
I use to enjoy and welcome fall and winter, it meant slowing down, looking intro perspective, and start building and planning my next steps in life. But also, this reminds me one of the main reasons to be living in Ecuador with this nice hot warm weather.
Around the year 2000, when I was developing my professional path in USA and Latin America, some health issues interrupted all my wonderful working and travelling plans.
Within all the travelling options, one was to visit family in Ecuador. Once on my trip, I ended up checking the local health and medical resources because of a severe pain crisis (spinal discs problems). I was basically pain managing for a couple of years but came to that point that I needed surgery.
Let´s make this story short, it was my second back surgery, I had already one done in Canada with success. So without even thinking or making my health a priority in my future plans, I review all the options and opted for the best ones at that specific moment:
1.- My medical expenses were covered here in Ecuador by my insurance policy
2.- I could opt for top level doctors and hospital beds, since the rates were lower here in Ecuador.
3.- All international insurance companies have local referrals that are practitioners who have done their studies in USA or Europe, even award winners professionals.
4.- Since I was covering expenses directly, I did not have to wait on line for tests or MRIs.
5.- I could set up myself in a nice upper scale condo with house help for less than 1.000 US. (I need 3 months at least to be able to drive again)
I had the surgery by a recognized worldwide surgeon, a nice recovering period, fresh home made food and care, and I was keeping up with my pending working projects and connected to the world by the internet.
Maybe this is not an option for everybody, still you could always research medical options overseas. There are online medical referrals to consult your options even here in Ecuador.
I will leave you with some nice pictures of some of my personal adventures here in Ecuador. I was asked by one of my readers if the posted pictures are original, I would say mostly they are. At times, some pictures are from other sources which may narrow the certainty of their originality.
P.S. Due to my health issues cold weather doesn´t agree with me, and in Ecuador, I am able to afford on going therapy and massages plus attend exercise classes like yoga and Pilates to manage my health as I am aging.
I am so excited, this is the next place I will visit, I found this place by luck here in Ecuador while browsing my facebook page, here I will share some resourceful information. You could check the link to see their web page in english.
I will post later on how was my triop and the place, also if it is a great experience as they say..
NOTE: Free information to those who want to research about Ecuador
Finca Rio Monte – an ecological adventure..
Visit with Lodging – Riomonte Country House, offers tourists an incredible deal by providing comfortable cabins at a rate of USD 16.00 a night, per person, including breakfast. Children from ages 6 years and under only pay for their consumption. In the large and small parlor lodging is USD 13.00 which includes breakfast, camping area camping USD 7,00.
Visit without Lodging – At Riomonte Country House we also take into consideration tourists that wish to visit us without lodging, those that do not stay overnight, but want to enjoy lunch or dinner paying only for their consumption and other paid activities.
Guided Excursions – The Riomonte Country House also offers guided excursions to the slopes, waterfalls and rivers, and to the humid virgin forest, already included in the price of lodging. Tourists who do not stay overnight will be charged for their consumption and activities.
• Welcome cocktail
• Lodging in cabins
• High and low viewpoints
• Board games
• Big screen movies
• Soccer field and volleyball court
• Guided tours
• Transportation Quito
• Country House – Quito
• Sports trout fishing
• Horseback riding
• Bicycle riding
** Special pricing for groups**