Tag Archive: galapagos

This past February the world’s largest solar powered boat visited the Galapagos Islands.  Named the MS TURANOR Planet Solar, the boat can welcome over 200 people aboard, and is powered using 500 square meters of solar panels.

The TURANOR is journeying around the world, though it specifically chose to stop at the Galapagos to help promote conservation efforts taking place on the islands.  The boat’s crew hopes that their presence will help promote the use of renewable energy both on the islands and around the world.

Though you unfortunately won’t be travelling by solar boat on your Galapagos cruise, you will still get to see the amazing sites the TURANOR took in on its’ journey.  Teams doing their project on the Galapagos will also be working towards conserving the islands and the various endangered species that make it their home.  As a company, World Challenge greatly encourages responsible travel, and we are constantly working to improve our green credentials.

To read more about TURANOR’s trip to the Galapagos and see additional photos of the ship, check out this story on WWF.  Be sure to continue following its’ journey as it works to be the first solar powered boat to circumnavigate the globe!

To see the boat in action, check out the video below (try and ignore the corny music!):


Isla Bartolomé
Walk to the top of Bartolomé’s volcanic cone for a stunning view of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding white sand beaches. You may also have the opportunity to swim with Galápagos penguins.

North Seymour Islet
This tiny uplifted seafloor is home to sea lion colonies, blue-footed booby and frigate bird nesting colonies. Snorkel among tropical fish and reef sharks at the base of the cliffs.

Isla Santiago
Follow a path along a series of tide pools and underwater caverns in search of Galápagos fur seals, marine iguanas, sea lions, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.

Genovesa Island
Walk among swallow-tailed gulls, red-footed boobies and Nazca boobies and keep a look out for hunting short-eared owls. Ride Zodiacs, kayak along the caldera, and snorkel among large schools of parrotfish.

Isla Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a breeding station for endangered native species. Learn about the Darwin Foundation and their giant Galápagos tortoise breeding program. Visit “Lonesome George,” the last surviving tortoise of his kind. Later, travel into the highlands where wild tortoises forage.

Isla Isabela
Spend the early morning on the lookout for dolphins; whales; sea turtles; and the unusual ocean sunfish, the Mola mola. Explore caves and hidden lagoons by Zodiac, and snorkel among sea turtles.

Isla Fernandina
Discover Punta Espinosa; the largest marine iguana colony in the Galápagos is found here. Brightly colored Sally Lightfoot crabs scamper among the rocks and sea lions play along the coast against the dramatic backdrop of volcanoes.

Isla Floreana
At Champion Islet, snorkel among sea lions in clear waters, or peer into an underwater world in a glass-bottom boat (Endeavour only) while keeping an eye out for the endangered Floreana Mockingbird. Visit Post Office Bay—if you see a letter addressed to someone who lives near you, the tradition is to deliver it by hand.

Sombrero Chino Islet
This charming volcano is named due to its resemblance to a “Chinese Hat”. Take Zodiac rides, kayak or go ashore to admire the volcanic landscape, and snorkel in an area often frequented by penguins, sea lions and small reef sharks.

Rábida Island
Land on the bright red volcanic sand of a charming beach. Snorkel among the friendly Galápagos sea lions, and take a scenic hike into the island to search for hawks and other land birds.

San Cristóbal Island
Visit Punta Pitt with its fascinating geology, where all three booby species of the Galápagos can be found along the cliffs. Visit the port of Baquerizo Moreno, home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in the archipelago. Swim, snorkel, kayak, and stroll along the beach at Cerro Brujo.

Isla Española
See Darwin’s finches, boobies, and waved albatross on this birder’s paradise. Walk among vivid green and red marine iguanas, and observe sea lions up close on a pristine white-sand beach.

For more information about the Galapagos Islands: www.visitecuador.com.ec

Celebrity is not usually associated with middle-aged giant tortoises from the Galapagos Islands, but then few have been so influenced by humanity’s whims as Lonesome George and Pepe. They have no choice but to live out their lives lumbering torhythms set by invaders from the outside world.

To George fame came in 1971. He was discovered on the tiny uninhabited island of Pinta, the last surviving member of his sub-species. Now he lives under the scrutiny of scientists who hope against hope that he will pass on his genes to a new generation.

Pepe is unique in another sense, the last domesticated tortoise on the Galapagos, which teemed with the pets until conservationists impounded his contemporaries. The tourism boom finally fenced him in.

Three weeks ago the tanker Jessica ran aground near the islands, leaking almost 950,000 litres of oil. It was feared that the islands’ many unique species would be damaged, but ecologists expect the archipelago to make a full recovery.

Londsome George

Pirates and whalers began the onslaught on tortoises when they realised that they made excellent fresh meat supplies on board their ships, because they can survive for six months without food and water.

But it was the goats introduced to the Galapagos by the early settlers that really did it for George’s clan, destroying the ecological balance on the islands, 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, where it evolved over millennia.

By the time George was discovered rearing programmes were replenishing the gene pool of other tortoise sub-species, but his case was different. Unless a mate could be found his group faced extinction.

George was taken to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz island and provided with a harem from related sub-species, but he was just not interested. Thirty years later the last Geochelone elephantopus abingdoni is as lonesome as ever.

Pepe grew up on San Cristobal island in the 1920s, in an era when it was common to whip baby tortoises out of their natural habitat and take them home. In 1959 the Galapagos National Park was formed and park officials rounded up all the domesticated tortoises they could find. All, that is, except Pepe, who was by then in the charge of Franciscan missionaries, who were allowed to keep him.

Eventually he became the island’s mascot, and he lumbered around freely until the early 90s, when tourism began to interfere with his routine.

Since then he has lived in a small enclosure, where younger visitors ride on his saddle-shaped back.

For more information visit  www.visitecuador.com.ec

Trekking is one such outdoor activity which requires no professional training. The only thing a trekker needs to consider is the place for undergoing this activity. While many people prefer to enjoy trekking in busy locations, some take pleasure to experience trekking in peaceful areas. If you want to have an unusual trekking experience of your lifetime, then consider exploring the Galapagos Islands. It consists of 18 islands, some of which are paradises for adventure seekers.

The volcanic islands in the Galapagos archipelago are dotted with wide range of wild animals and bird species. The chain of islands including Baltra, Bartolome, Espaniola, Fernandina, Floreana, Genovesa and Isabela are blessed with scenic vistas to captivate the mind of the visitors. While you trek through the foothills of volcano Sierra Negra in the Islabela Island, you will be able to capture the incredible views of the northern part of the island as well as other volcanoes such as Alcedo and Wolf. As you hike through the lava formations, you might come across the colonies of iguana.

Apart from the adventure of trekking, you can consider to take a boat trip to the Galapagos Islands and enjoy some close glimpse of the sea lions, penguins, pelicans and other marine creatures. You can halt for a while on the La Concha Perla bay and can take chance to explore the mangrove forest. Trekking turns out to be more interesting as you visit the Floreana Island. While you trek in this island, you might get the chance to see Darwin finches, yellow warblers and Galapagos fly snappers.

Although the oceanic islands in the Galapagos offers the opportunity of trekking, but you cannot expect to undergo this activity in all the areas within the archipelago. In order to enjoy trekking at the fullest, you need to have proper information about the different places in the Galapagos as well as the suitable time for undertaking this adventure.

For comfortable trekking tours, you can consider contacting the tour operators who deals with providing trekking tour packages in the Galapagos Islands. There are some tour service providers who are known to provide tours to the Galapagos Islands by means of luxury cruise ships, tourist class boats, motor yacht and catamarans. You can plan to contact them for having comfortable tour arrangement as per your choice and budget.

In order to enjoy vacation in the Galapagos Islands, you can also consider taking hotel based tour services from the tour operators. So, contact some reliable tour operators and spare out some time to choose best trekking tour itineraries in the Galapagos.

From: http://www.articlesnacks.com

For more info about the Galapagos Islands visit www.visitecuador.com.ec

Las ecuatorianas Islas Galápagos, un paraíso en el Océano Pacífico que inspiró al científico inglés Charles Darwin su teoría sobre la evolución de las especies, se encuentran amenazadas por una especie peligrosa: el hombre. El turismo, la introducción de especies nocivas al frágil ecosistema del archipiélago, el aumento de la demografía, el cambio climático e incluso la globalización son los principales fenómenos de origen humano que ponen en riesgo a las también llamadas Islas Encantadas.
En su viaje a bordo del “HMS Beagle” Darwin encontró en las Galápagos, hoy una reserva terrestre y marina de 40.000 kilómetros cuadrados, un “laboratorio natural” y las pruebas vivientes de su teoría. En ese archipiélago descubrió unas variedades de pinzones, pájaros de entre 10 y 20 centímetros, de color entre marrón y negro, similares en morfología, excepto en sus picos, cuyas formas estaban plenamente adaptadas a la alimentación particular de cada variedad.
El problema del turismoSegún el presidente de la Fundación Científica “Charles Darwin” de Galápagos, Gabriel López, estas islas siguen siendo importantes para la ciencia, ahora “para explicar cosas nuevas, como el cambio climático, porque representan un microcosmos del planeta”. Aunque ello no supone dejar de lado el estudio de las especies que tienen su hábitat en las islas, el fuerte de la investigación se dirige al entendimiento de los “nuevos desafíos de nuestro tiempo”, dijo López. “El paso importante que estamos haciendo ahora es entender mejor las dinámicas del ecosistema, que incluye el impacto humano en la biodiversidad”, añadió el científico.
En su opinión uno de los mayores peligros de las islas es el turismo; en 2008 “llegaron 173.000 visitantes a Galápagos”, 90.000 de ellos en cruceros, “bien controlados”, pero el resto, “es un turismo con base en tierra, hoteles en dos o tres islas”, que generan un aumento en la demanda de servicios. Ese último tipo de turismo, para López, puede llegar a ser muy dañino para el ambiente y esa ha sido una de las preocupaciones de la Unesco y de la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN), que han ubicado al archipiélago en una lista negra de reservas en peligro.
Galápagos sostenibleTras reconocer el riesgo que corre Galápagos, el presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, ha ordenado que se apliquen estrategias encaminadas a la protección de la biodiversidad en las Islas. “Soy optimista de que se puede crear un Galápagos sostenible para el año 2020”, añadió López, para quien, el mejor homenaje que se puede hacer a Darwin, al conmemorarse este 12 de febrero el bicentenario de su nacimiento, es trabajar para crear una conciencia mundial sobre la fragilidad del medio ambiente.
Por eso, añadió, “nuestro interés no es la ciencia pura, sino la ciencia aplicada para resolver problemas, para tomar decisiones y para construir un camino más sostenible para Galápagos y para el mundo”. “Tenemos muchísimo por descubrir” y el trabajo nunca se detiene, agregó el científico, que asumió la dirección de la estación Darwin en Galápagos a principios de enero pasado, pocos días antes de que se incluyera en la lista de especies endémicas de ese archipiélago a la iguana rosada, que no había sido vista sino hasta 1986.
La incorporación de la iguana rosada a la lista de especies de Galápagos “alienta a profundizar el conocimiento. Nuestros científicos de planta han descubierto ciertas especies de mariposas” endémicas, añadió López. Sin embargo, insistió en que “más allá de especies específicas, lo importante es entender mejor la dinámica de un ecosistema sumamente complejo y que es parte de un enorme rompecabezas, cuyas piezas hay que poner en su lugar”.
Por eso, al conmemorarse el bicentenario del natalicio de Darwin y los 150 años de su libro sobre la evolución de las especies, la Fundación, que evoca “el coraje” del científico inglés, prevé congregar en julio próximo a una pléyade de científicos del mundo, en un simposio en el que fuera el laboratorio del naturalista. Ese encuentro se celebrará entre el 20 y 24 de julio en el marco de la celebración, también, de los 50 años de creación de la Fundación “Charles Darwin”, cuya sede se encuentra en Puerto Ayora, en la Isla Santa Cruz, a mil kilómetros al este de las costas continentales de Ecuador.
Para mas informacion sobre Galapagos visita www.visitecuador.com.ec

El viche, café y humitas son comidas que acompañan la fanesca

La fanesca es por excelencia el plato típico de la Semana Mayor en el Ecuador y se consume prácticamente en todo el territorio nacional.

Sin embargo, hay lugares donde existen variaciones de la receta que son causadas por la inclusión de productos originarios de las distintas zonas. En otros casos, este plato se acompaña con diferentes postres.

De igual forma, hay zonas donde el consumo de este plato es casi desconocido. Solo se conserva un factor común en el país que es no comer carne roja, tal como lo dispone el catolicismo.

El sociólogo Carlos Celi señala que comer la fanesca es una costumbre “que combina el sincretismo religioso y la herencia indígena”. Cada ingrediente, dice, tiene un simbolismo. “El pescado representa  a Jesús crucificado y cada grano, a los apóstoles. Pero en la cosmovisión indígena, los granos son sinónimo de abundancia”, señala.

Otra de las virtudes del plato, además de ser una tradición familiar que se realiza solo en el Ecuador, es que es el único plato que no se elabora con residuos como en aquellos platos donde se utilizan vísceras.

“En la Colonia, los indígenas no podían acceder a la carne y debían utilizar las sobras como cabezas y patas de res. En este plato, en cambio, todo es de primera”, explica.

Por ello, Celi considera que la tradición no desaparecerá pese a que se ha modificado según la región y condición económica de la población.

“El uso de pescado seco, sobre todo en la Sierra, se debe a que no había otra manera de conservarlo hasta el día de la celebración. Otros usan sardina, pero la esencia se mantiene. La única tendencia actual es facilitar la preparación y eliminar procesos como descascarar los granos”, asegura. (GM)

Las comidas típicas de la semana santa

En Guayaquil, la fanesca es el indiscutible protagonista de la Semana Santa. En cuanto a los acompañantes que se le dan, sí existe una variante. Una de las costumbres arraigadas en las familias tradicionales guayaquileñas es el beber chocolate caliente con humitas. (AM)
En Carchi, la trucha al horno, frita o con verduras es una de las alternativas que en la Semana Mayor destrona a la carne de res, cerdo o cordero. Además, la tradicional fanesca se acompaña con un espeso y burbujeante chocolate acompañado de queso. Así mismo, los dulces pasan a ser protagonistas. Estos se elaboran con guayaba, calabaza, piña y chilguacán, y se sirven con quesillo o cuajada, especialmente en el noroccidente. (RC)

A la tradicional fanesca cuencana, donde predominan la arveja, porotos, choclo, pallares o “tortas”,  que se combina también con achogchas, papas, col finamente picada, pescado salado y finalmente guisado con nata o crema de leche, se lo acompaña con los tradicionales chumales,  conocidos también como las humitas o choclotandas. En varias familias, la costumbre será acompañar la fanesca con arroz con leche  o el dulce de zapallo. (XPA)

Una ancestral receta  a base de maní, mariscos y verduras conocida como viche es el deleite de miles de personas en Manabí. María Ayde Zamora, dueña del restaurante Monserrate, dice que lleva 35 años preparando la receta, en la que la clave es lograr una buena fusión entre el maní, las bolas de verde, el zapallo, maduro, choclo, verduras y los camotes. El toque final lo pone el pescado camarón y hasta cangrejo, según el gusto. (LFV)

En Tungurahua, una de las particularidades de la Semana Santa son las compotas de frutas como postre. La más destacada es el dulce de manzana. Este rico y tradicional manjar ambateño se lo sirve frío y acompañado con un pedazo de queso fresco, y es una rica alternativa al dulce de higos. (VCH)

En Orellana, se mantiene la costumbre de no comer carne roja. Sin embargo, la fanesca deja de ser el plato más consumido en esta zona del país y en su lugar se degustan platos típicos de la A mazonía como el pincho de mayón, hecho con los gusanos de la planta chontacuro y el maito, que consiste en pescado envuelto en hojas de plátano y cocido al vapor. (EROI)

En Esmeraldas, en cambio, se prepara la fanesca. Este plato se suele realizar con ralladura de coco, que se acompaña de humitas, ayacas, corviches y pescado en diversas variedades.

Para el dulce, en la “Provincia Verde”, se prepara el casabe, arroz de leche, la cocada, troliches (harina y leche) y otros. Una nueva preparación que se come esta semana es el “cebicangre” que consiste en un cebiche de cangrejo y camarón criado en cautiverio. (LFA)

Articulo extraido de http://www.hoy.com.ec

Para mas informacionde comida tipica ecuatoriana visita www.visitecuador.com.ec

While post offices are usually associated with long lines and inefficient service, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should be totally kept off the travel itinerary. With this in mind the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com) offer their picks for “Top 10 Must-See Post Offices.” Reuters does not endorse this list:

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

This small post office is on the ground floor of La Tour Eiffel, so even if you’re afraid of heights, it is worth a visit. You will be sure to impress with the special Eiffel Tower postmark on all your postcards.

2. Port Lockroy, Antarctica

No need to worry about long lines here. Despite its off-the-beaten path location, around 70,000 cards a year from over 100 countries are posted here. Mail usually takes 2-6 weeks to arrive and there is no overnight shipping available so tell your friends not to wait by the mailbox.

3. Vanuatu Post’s Underwater Post Office; Republic of Vanuatu

Located three metres (yards) beneath the ocean’s surface and only fifty metres from shore, this office is accessible without the need of a scuba license. Just don’t forget your snorkel and mask.

4. Post Office Bay; Floreana Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

In 1793 British Captain James Colnett placed an empty wooden post barrel on the island so passing ships could aid each other in getting mail to the mainland and even today the tradition continues. Visitors can leave mail in the barrel and pass on what they find addressed to someone in their hometown.

Post office, galapagos

Post Office in the Galapagos Islands

5. Washington Park and Oregon Zoo; Portland, Oregon.

A throwback to when mail was mostly delivered by train, according to the zoo’s website the zoo railway “…is the last operating United States railroad with its own authorised railway postal cancellation to continuously offer mail service.”

6. Madison Square Post Office; New York, New York

Its rundown Art Deco exterior may not draw admiring glances, but inside the 1930s-era Depression murals by Kindred McLeary make this post office a must-see. Each mural illustrates Manhattan’s unique areas from Greenwich Village to Wall Street.

7. Post Office of Mardin; Mardin, Turkey

Even if you have nothing to mail, this post office is worth a visit purely for its architectural beauty. This stunning 17th-century palace looks more movie set than post office so make sure not to leave your camera at home.

8. Austrian Postal Savings Bank; Vienna, Austria

This historic landmark demonstrates Art Nouveau master Otto Wagner’s first foray into modern architecture. While dropping your mail, be sure to admire its famous atrium as well as the in-house museum that celebrates its architect.

9. Polish Post Museum; Gdansk, Poland

Even though you might not be able to send mail from this post office-turned-museum, it’s worth a visit for its historical value. Be prepared to learn about more than just the mail; the museum’s fascinating exhibits relate mostly to the German assault on the building during WWII.

10. US Post Office, Christmas, Florida

During the Christmas season, people flock to this sleepy town outside of Orlando so their Christmas cards will be postmarked from Christmas itself! It might not be the North Pole, but it certainly gets one in the holiday spirit. – Reuters

For more info www.visitecuador.com.ec