Category Archives: Gastronomy

la garrapata - Places to Eat in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands

Places to Eat in Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands

Looking for places to eat in Galapagos? Puerto Ayora is a mainstay on itineraries of cruise ships and island hopping tours in the Galapagos Islands. The town has developed alongside the influx of tourism in the islands, and is the place to stock up on supplies, relax before disembarking on a cruise, and enjoy a meal in one of the growing group of local and international restaurants. Keep reading for a handful of places to try while in town.

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Lab - Off the Beaten Path Restaurants in Quito

Off the Beaten Path Restaurants in Quito

Quito’s restaurant scene has bloomed in the last decade and put the capital on the map as an international foodie destination. Across the city you can find curry, classic French, Ecuadorian fusion, Middle Eastern, and Vietnamese restaurants that are pushing the edge when it comes to dining out.

With the explosion of options comes new trends that spread through the city. One of these is the advent of the pop-up restaurant. Keep reading for two hip pop-up and off-the-beaten path restaurants to try while you are in town. Continue reading

Medicinal plants of Ecuador

Medicinal plants of Ecuador

Medicinal plants of Ecuador

It’s estimated seven out of ten Ecuadorians use medicinal plants. Ethnobiologist Omar Vacas has spent 15 years researching local flora used for centuries to cure diseases. He published an article about traditional medicine used by the Kichwa people in the Napo jungle province. He says the Kichwas are often unaware that this info can be useful in developing pharmaceutical drugs. For example, balsa can reduce labor pains. There are 23 conditions including toothache and rheumatism that can be cured by plants used by the Kichwas. These include uña de gato (cat’s claw), ortiga brava, achiote de venda, palo de tortuga, sábila (aloe), ruda, dulcamara, sangre de drago (dragon’s blood), chancapiedra, chaya, valeriana, boldo, condurango and zarzaparrilla.

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Pawkar Raymi, as celebrated in Otavalo, Ecuador

Pawkar Raymi - Otavalo, Ecuador

Pawkar Raymi – Otavalo, Ecuador

Carnival has an ethnic flavor in the Sierra Norte (northern Andes). There are mestizo, indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian celebrations. In the town of Peguche, near Otavalo, the Kichwa fiesta known as Pawkar Raymi features 11 days (February to early March) of crafts fairs, sports competitions and music. One of the rituals is called tumarina. It’s kind of a baptism with water and flower petals.

Pawkar Raymi means the Fiesta of the Flowering (of the crops). It’s a time to give thanks to Pacha Mama for her bounty. This is also the time of the year when indigenous merchants and musicians who work overseas come home to be with their families. It’s estimated that 10,000 Otavaleños earn their living abroad. They are considered the country’s cultural ambassadors. They usually stay for up to two months.

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