Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Horseback Sattle Making: A craft still made by hand in Ecuador

Last week I had the chance to pay a visit to one of the best sattle makers from Ecuador. His name is Jaime and lives in Imbabura province. In his native Zuleta, he has dedicated more than 25 years to learn this amazing art, directed by the hands and eyes of his father, who has been doing it for about 65 years.  Every detail ranging from the tools used (and created by the artisans), the designs made in the tips of iron bolts to be hammered into the leather, bee wax to impregnate every single string used to stitch every inch of the sattle, etc., make of the end product a unique art piece that is perfectly functional.

Just an amazing job that is still alive and is very appreciated by the people involved in any activity regarding horses.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blue Footed Boobies Dancing: The Mating Ritual at Galapagos

It never cesases to amuse and amaze me. The question is still not answered by science: why blue feet? Early during the trip somebody was sceptical about seeing many blue footed boobies, and we saw one, three, five perhaps as a group, but towards the end of our journey in Isabela Island at the Glapagos, we got the chance to see hundreds of them 30 meters away, fishing for macrell near the shore. It was simply amazing.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.











Playa Grande: Big Beach at Santa Cruz Island Galapagos

I have heard from this place for many years, and finally I had the chance to visit it. Is a great bay that offers many opportunities to snorkel, walk a bit, sunbathe on a "organic" white sand beach (made of crush white coral), and also to photograph many of the amazing animals of the Galapagos.

We looked also for the Flamingos at the wetland near the ocean shore, but they were... some where else. we have to always keep in mind that all the animals in the Galapagos are free to go anywhere they want, and that incluedes the flamingos. Never the less, the experience was very nice and the landscapes for sure unique.



We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Figatebird in Full Splendor: Trying to Catch a Female in the Galapagos


We saw in this trip perhaps one of the most spectacular displays of a strong color in the nature. We arrived to North Seymour Island at the Galapagos, and we did a 2 km hike along a path that took us very close to the biggest colonies of Frigatebirds of the archipiel. The mating season had already finished, but there were still many males displaying their inflated gular pouch.

They do it for several reasons. One of them is to impress the females that have to make a choice, and decide wich male is more suitable to feed their chicks for many months after they are born.

The other might be to "play" their war march. They hit their beaks against the pouch and make a drumm noice, and also an "applause" noice with the beaks, as if two thin wooden sticks were beeing hit against each other.

We saw also some fighting for the catch - made by other birds like Blue Footed Boobies or Pelicans - of the day, and also for a already-build nest that was occuppied by a displaying male.

We had a very knowledgable Galapagos guide that told us many interesting facts about the animals encountered at Seymour North, and that was for sure a nice last activity for our 12 day long tour at the enchanted islands.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sulfur Volcano: A hiking challenge in the Galapagos

Recently I had the chance to explore again the incredible Sulfur Volcano at the Sierra Negra Volcano, in Isabela Island at the Galapagos. The approach to this active spot of the major Sierra Negra Caldera was as in my previous visits a "bit" muddy, but stil walkable. It took us about 3.5 hours to reach the Caldera rim and less than 2 hours to walk the almost 4.2 km in and out of the active spot.

We took some breaths (not intentionally) of sulfur gas, that had us coughing for many minutes, but it was worth the close view of the many vents that cover this area. An incredible view and experience for the ones that challenge the nature.


We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

San Pablo Lake: soon surrounded by concrete

If you want to enjoy the scenary from this part of our country, you need to go high. Ecuador is a beautiful country, but it is hard to find spots near the Panamerican Highway, specially towards the north, that will not be blocked either by electricity or telephone wires, or many concrete blocks. There are view points, that are also obstructed by trees or nice green houses, but in any case, if you get out of the Panamerican Highway and head towards the hills, you might get a nice afternoon pic like this:


Ecuador has beautiful scenary, and usually good local guides are documenting what happens during their trips. If you are also a keen photographer, don't doubt to ask about the hobbies this person might be able to share with you during the trip.

Ecuador is changing also towards a frendlier way of building in many towns, to preserve some of the local colonial or the indigenous building style, so hopefully in the future you will find also nice houses near the highway!

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Exceptional Ongoing Work: Condor Park near Otavalo

I had the pleasure again to visit the Condor Park last week, and we matched the perfect afternoon for a flight! The birds that are beeing trained there will fly happily if the following is fullfiled: they have not eaten recently too much; they are not too heavy; it is not raining; and the wind is blowing. All the trained birds, including the Harris Hawk, Black Chested Buzzard Eagle, and Bald Eagle went for a long demostration of their habilities.

The park has been open to the public since 8 years ago and are expecting to have more birds that will be attractive for the shows, that allow the park to do its main goal: educate the local and international folks about many environmental issues in general, and specifically related to the birds life.

 


I was amazed also by the height of the trees! They look great and nicer every year, and will hold for sure many nests of the birds that appreciate this small change on the hill top. You have to come and look for yourself.



We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tulipe: The Yumbos Enigma

Tulipe is already a well known archeological site in Ecuador, not just because of its interesting ceremonial structures, but also because of all what it meant for the development of our culture in different parts of our actual country.

The archeologists estimate a large settlement of people in this cloud forest area to the north-west of Quito, people that developed interesting cultural practices, such as trading, religion, ceremonies, agriculture, cult to the death, and maybe deep knowledge of the night sky.

They might have mooved out of the area with the arrival of the spanish conquistadores, and most securly, because of the most recent major volcanic eruption in the area: The 1660 A.D. (estimated) Pichincha Volcano eruption. This people might have mooved all the way across the interandean valley to the upper Napo river region, and setteled there escaping from the incapability of doing agriculture in their ash covered living area.

There is more to tell about them, and certainly plenty places related to the Yumbos, to visit in this area of Ecuador.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Orchids: Also very beautiful in the cloud forest

Not so long ago I visited again the orchid farm near Cuenca. Simply amazing! As I love plants and flowers, and anything from that kingdom, I am always watching during the trips where to find native flowers, sometimes endemic too, that will show what is naturally beautiful outside of the greenhouse.


The small and steep Pahuma Private Cloud Forest Resrve has at its entrance many different species from orchids that depict what I am talking about, and in may varied shapes, colors and sizes. You need to be lucky too, to catch some of the orchids while flowering, and with nice light too, since the cloud forest is well known because of its... yeap, you guesed correctly: clouds.





We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Owl or Butterfly?

It amazes me every time that I see how inteligent nature is. We are certainly one of the most perfect creatures from our world, but simpler animals, like this owl-eye-butterfly (Morpho from the other side), have managed to adapt and adopt a shape that will deceive any of its major predators: would I go for a fight with an Owl?

Once the wings are oppened, they show their splendor... by the way, very complex to photograph while flying.


We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Mindo Chocolate: A New Satisfying Discovery

At least for me. I was not aware of the quality and great taste of the chocolate beeing done by Mr. Jose Meza at his chocolate factory. I was recently there with a group of people and we spend an interesting hour learning about the process that chocolatiers follow in order to pamper our palates with delicious chocolate / herbs / spices combinations.

The possibility to follow the process in situ was amazing, and went from a short historic explanation of the origins of the cocoa bean, to tasting a delicious brownie. The level of detail in such a small industry was impressive.


We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Galapagos First Class: Coral I Cruise October 2014

As you might know, Galapagos is one of those places that are still pristine and isolated from the caos of the world we live in. Full with special fauna and flora, some of it only seen in the archipielago, it is a unique destination that is worth every efford you might make to get there.

If you are thinking on a great Galapagos trip, this information might be for you. We have spaces availiable on one of the finest First Class Cruise Ships from the archipielago, the Coral I. It is completely renovated and offers a great deal of comfort for you.

It has three types of cabin: Standard, Standard Plus and Junior Suite. It holds up to 36 passengers and we are sure that you will have that unforgettable trip you are looking for.

Combine it with an Ecuador mainland trip, and see active volcanos, snow covered mountains, or perhaps the amazon rainforest at the Yasuni National Park.

We will be happy to organize any great adventure, trip, or holiday for you. 

Visit us at: galapagos.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Galapagos, Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica. Write us at: info@surpasstravel.com. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Feriado: New Ecuadorian Film by Director Diego Araujo

We have had in the past some great local productions, and this one seems to be promissing. Here the original trailer where you can appreciate also the landscapes from Ecuador.



We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.


All We Need is You... to Show You The Beauty of Ecuador

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism presented a new campaign and website, that has been almost officialy lounched. It is a nice work and we have in the country big expectations from it.

 

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

All you need is Ecuador Campaign

Tonight the Ministry of Tourism will present its new campaign "All you need is Ecuador". It was created to promote the country in 19 cities worldwide in the following countries: France, Spain, Brazil, Colombia, United States of America, Chile, Germany, England, Peru, Mexico, Holand, Argentina and our country, Ecuador.

The campaign payed the rights to use the music from The Beatles "All you need is love", so we are actually expecting something very creative.

Click here to hear and see the original song from The Bealtes, and don't forget to put the word "Ecuador" after love!.

Read the full article in spanish at El Comercio.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

21st of March: Equinox in Ecuador by the Pre-Inca Cultures

I started to think about the comming Equinox, since I passed by the Quitsato Sundial just two days before the precise day. I thought also about how aware we are in general of the time of the year we are in, and I must say, that I regularily see the sun movements throughout the year in relation with the common things in my house, like objects and the edge of windows. For me is an excercise to see every day the Pichincha Volcano to the west, to look for the weather of the day, and therefore, to see the effect of the sun on the horizon.

This more or less same procedure was made by the pre-inca culture called Quitu-Cara, standing on an old sandy hill of volcanic origin called Catequilla, precisely located at the Equator Line. Maybe 1000 years of observation, to stablish where the middle was, and create all their culture and settlements using this same spot as the origin of everything, with mathematical precision.

As I was visiting the site, I came accross the last publication from Cristobal Cobo, director and founder of the project Quitsato, and this great 15-years-of-scientific-research publication has incredible information about the sun movement in relationship with the Quito-Cara Culture. Many thins still unknown for many ecuadorians and susceptible to be damaged in the name of progress.

If you want to read more about it visit the link from the Quitsato Project.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador, Peru and Southamerica.

Ecuador on The Spot: 18% more tourists in Jan-Feb 2014 period, than 2013

Ecuador is popular. The actual government is investing a considerable ammount of money in the national and international promotion of our country and it seems it is working out. This information was published by "El Ciudadano" official news paper from Ecuador, but the information source is actually the Tourism Ministry and Migration Office from the local customs officers.


Circa 218 K Europeans and half a milion northamericans came to Ecuador in 2013, and this numbers are increasing this year by an 18% at least, according to the information provided by the sources. National and international travellers are more than wellcome to any local workshop, like one of the bizcochos bakeries in Cayambe (see photo).

Also the national tourism has increased and in the last local holiday for Carnaval, it is estimated than circa a million ecuadorians travelled within the country during the four days. Our nature attractions are also eye openers for the ecuadorians, it helps them to realize that they live in a paradise.

As we also say, it is great to visit our own country, since we have it all: rainforest, andes, coast, and of course, the Galapagos Islands.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

Del Alabado Museum in Quito Old Town

I have again a great feeling, as I am writing this blog entry, about this weekend excursion that we did early this month in Quito. We went with the children and grand mother to visit Museo Del Alabado, since I didn't have had the time to get in beyond the nice inner colonial patio during my multiple visits to the old town.

Normally, if the weather is good, we choose one or two of the religious colonial art icons from the city, as a museum indoor visit, and then mainly we see many other places that are not museums.

The exhibition, I must say, is outstanding, perhaps the best that I have seen in museums all over Ecuador. It looks still almost brand new, and the spaces are very well recovered and managed. The pieces exhibited there are simply breath taking, an incredible collection of the master work from almost all the pre-columbian cultures that populated what we call now Ecuador. Their Museum Guide is also a book worth having at home. It gives you a short-great prespective of what troubled the minds of this cultures, and why they left for us all these pices of art.


You can visit the museum link here: Museo Casa del Alabado, Quito - Ecuador. We strongly recommend a visit to the museum and hope that you like it as much as we did.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Quito On a New Path? Our New City Major


The first World Cultural Heritage City has elected again a new major. This time is a young and talented man, well educated and with many years of experience working abroad.

His background is politics and international organizations management, so we hope that he will be able to continue with the work strated by the actual major, and also fullfil his own campaign promisses.

Quito is a leading city in the country regarding to its ongoing policy to restore and maintain historic sites. Quito is the main port of entry to the country and hence, has many visitors that enjoy its touristic attractions.

We hope the work of our new representative carries on with the good work done in the city and we will suppor all his iniciatives related to improoving the tourism flow into the country.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.


Tips from Galapagos: What to expect in the Archipiel During Carnaval


Lots of people! Carnaval is a great opportunity also for Ecuadorians to travel, so many people that already lives in Galapagos, in Puerto Ayora, might go for a short Carnaval vacation to Isabela island, and spend there the long weekend. Many services have a great demand, like the speed boats that transport people between islands, and also the ones that do navigable day excursions to isolated islands.

I must say that the weather is great, very sunny and hot, maybe a stron rainfall at some point of the day or night, but in general the best weather for the ocean lovers.

So, if you do your reservations with enough time, you will be able to have a great vacation during this time of the year at the enchanted islands. For your good luck the animmal world doesn't go on vacations! so you will see what you expect to find in Galapagos: lots of wild animmals, untamed and not shy at all.

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

Tungurahua Volcanoe Status at the end of February 2014


Today until 15h00 local time, the Tungurahua Volcano presented no further activity. It was partially clouded and there was no ash fall registered. It has not rained jet, but the vulcanologists fear some lahars or mud flows, since the volcano has accummulated new material at its flancs during the last two months.

We will keep you from time to time updated on the volcano activity.

Here the link to the original report on the volcanoe:

http://www.igepn.edu.ec/images/collector/collection/informes-volcanicos/tungurahua/2014/02-Feb/inf0228t.pdf

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

Quito Like in the Old Times

For me are not so old. I will turn 40 soon, and I remembered just how cold and raini Quito could be, or was, and how rarely you see rain now a days. We are in the middle of the "highland winter" in our country and it resembles more of a constant summer with bits of water from time to time.

When I was 10 years old Quito didn't gave us a rain break between Jannuary and May. It was cold, cloudy, foggy and rainy - stormy. It didn't bother me that much back then, and I love that weather, since I love water. Now I must say, it is a bit tiring.

This year, already end of February, we have seen in the wole month perhaps 8 days of rain, and nothing else. In the valley to the east of Quito, only half of those raini days.

Well, of course, if you are planning to visit Quito, it will be a great opportunity for you, but if you love gardening, then it is a mess!

We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.

Tungurahua Volcano: Again Active and Spectacular

The volcanic ash from the Tungurahua Volcano is falling now in Quito. It became active again since this last saturday in the afternoon, and will continue to go like this for several weeks, according to the National Politecnical Geophisics Institute.



We will be happy to organize a great adventure or holiday for you. Visit us at: www.surpasstravel.com, specialized in-land tour operator from Ecuador.