Blog

Season of the Humpback Whales in Puerto Lopez

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Season of the Humpback Whales in Puerto Lopez

On August 1 a small group headed out to coastal Ecuador on trip organized by Circle on the Square and by our very good friend Jairo Munoz who did some amazing work to make this trip run smoothly.  We flew into Manta and visited Alfaro City ( see our previous post), then we made our way south along the coast to Puerto Lopez. Puerto Lopez is a fishing village with a wide variety of places to stay, restaurants with delicious seafood, and places to buy souvenirs, as well as what is said to be the very best place on the Ecuadorian coast to take a whale watching tour.  Humpback whales are present in the coastal waters from June through August, and there are plenty of licensed companies offering tours to see whales as well as to visit and explore Isla de la Plata, aka “Poor Man’s Galapagos.” Our group stayed at the very comfortable hosteria, Nantu, at the edge of town north of the new pier.  In March 2012 when I first visited Puerto Lopez there was no pier.  In order to board a boat one had to wade into the water and climb aboard; now with the new pier, boarding the yachts is very easy for guests and crews. We took a tour on the “Isla Tour” with two guides and a captain who looked all of 18 years old. They gave us a fabulous day which included whale watching, hiking on Isla de la Plata and becoming acquainted with the spectacular birds and other animals who live there, and near the end of the day I came back with fantastic photos which were taken for me by one of our guides. We were able to go snorkeling and we were thrilled to see many colorful fish as well as curious sea turtles who came right up to the boat to check us out. It was a magical day in terms of being able to see and explore so many life forms unique to this particular area  of the world, and for me it was really thrilling to be out at sea since I haven’t personally spent much time there.  That night when I crawled into bed and laid still, I could still feel the sensation of the rocking of the waves  beneath me. It was an unforgettable day.  ...

Read More

Cuidad Alfaro in Montecristi Ecuador

Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Cuidad Alfaro in Montecristi Ecuador

Our latest Circle on the Square tour took us to visit attractions along the Ecuadorian coast right at prime whale watching season.  We flew from Quito to Manta then began our tour with breakfast followed by a visit to the Cuidad Alfaro.  Eloy Alfaro Delgado was President of the Republic of Ecuador from 1895 to 1901; and, he took office a second time from 1906 to 1911. Although he was disliked by conservatives, today he is considered by Ecuadorians to be one of their greatest presidents. Perhaps his greatest achievement was to establish a railroad between Quito and Guayaquil. From the airport in Manta we traveled a short distance to Montecristi where Cuidad Alfaro is situated. The site overlooks the port of Manta and has several attractions.  There is a marvelous mausoleum of stunning design and incorporation of fine art depicting historically significant events in the life of General Alfaro and the history of Ecuador. There is also a large hall and meeting room used by Ecuador’s national assembly,  a historical museum and a beautiful area with artesan shops.      ...

Read More

Convening at El Convento

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Convening at El Convento

Circle on the Square’s Solstice trip to Cochasqui pyramids was concluded with an end of the day gathering at El Convento in Cotacachi.  El Convento, once the home of nuns, El Convento now houses a cafeteria, a restaurant, meeting rooms, a bakery a lounge with fireplace and a tour information company. After our tour we went to enjoy coffee, and fresh fruit salads with yogurt.  We were also treated to live music by an excellent flautist who played traditional music accompanied by chimes which added a lovely and ethereal  element to the music.  We also enjoyed a short dance performance. One dancer wore her traditional dress and the other dancer was dressed in clothing you might typically see around town these days.  The traditional dress is the dress that many if not most indigenous women in the Otavalo and Cotacachi areas still wear. Even tiny little girls are usually dressed in this traditional style, but some do opt to follow ‘modern’ styles.  Both men and women still let their hair grow long and keep it fastened back in a long...

Read More