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Archive for February 2018

Ecuadorian Cuisine – The Coast

Amber Cypcar  | February 26, 2018

Ecuador’s coast is known for its beautiful beaches, warm waters, and relaxed style of life. But what is also exceptional about this area is the savory foods that make up the typical cuisine. Differing greatly from the chicken and potato gastronomy of the sierra, the decadent seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables thatcan be found all over the region leave no question as to why so many people have fallen in love with the coast’s local flavors.
Sitting directly on the Pacific Ocean, mariscos (a general term for seafood) are veryeasy to come by and very popular. Pescado (fish), camarones (shrimp), calamar (squid), concha (black shell), langosta (lobster), and cangrejo (crab) are offered on almost every menu and the price is typically asdelightful as the food is. Freshness is practically guaranteed withmany of the restaurants purchasing their ingredients directly from the daily seafood market in town; and no seafood plate is complete without some patacones (fried plantains) and a healthy serving of arroz (rice.) At the end of every meal you are sure to feel satisfied.

Ceviche is pieces of raw fish (or shrimp, clams, crab or other seafood) marinated and cured bylime juice and salt with onions, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and cilantro. It is often eaten for breakfast, and served with patacones of chifles (plantain chips) in order to soak up the marinade. The citrusy freshness of this dish makes it unlike any other dish we have tried and that is why ceviche makes it at number 1 on our list of favorite foods in Ecuador.

Encebollado is a fish soup made with onions and yucca. It is usually served for breakfast and diners can spice it up as they like by adding lime, oil, pepper, or the local aji (hot sauce). It is highly filling and fully energizing. It is also known as the ultimate hangover cure with its high Iron content and many Ecuadorians enjoy a morning bowl of it after a night out on the town.

Tigrillo is a tasty breakfast dish made up of mashed plantains, cheese and a fried egg on top. Simple yet fulfilling, this dish is sure to leave you with a happy belly. We love our tigrillo with loads of Aji (in house hot sauce).

Bolón de verde
Bolón de verde is tigrillo in ball form. The only difference is it is fried instead of boiled. Most come with cheese however you can also enjoy them with chorizo or chicharrones. Sometimes served with an egg and a cup of coffee, a bolón is a great way to start off the day.

Viche de Camaron
Viche de Camaron is a peanut-based fish stew with plantain, shrimp, and yucca. Many times it is one of the soup options offered during lunch. People find it especially delicious when squeezed with a generous helping of lime and it will leave you wanting more.

Arroz Marinero
Arroz Marinero is a grand mix of brown rice, a variety of seafood including shrimp, squid, and black shell, onion, garlic, pepper, cilantro, and various spices. It combines all of the mouth-watering flavors of each ingredient together so that every bite is just as delightful as the last.

There are many other flavorful foods that come from the coast of Ecuador but these are just a few of our favorites. Whatever your preference is, there is sure to be something that satisfies your taste buds. See Live the Life’s recommended restaurants of Puerto Lopez and find out where the best restaurants in town are to enjoy these appetizing meals.

Carnaval in Ecuador

AgentImage  | February 10, 2018

Colorful costumes, enormous parade floats, lively music, cheerful dancing; it must be Carnaval!

Carnaval is a special holiday that takes place 40 days before Easter each year in many countries with dominant Christin populations. People go all out with their celebration and Ecuador is no exception however Ecuador also incorporates the indigenous tradition of celebrating the second moon by throwing flowers, water and flour.

The festivity events begin with the Taita Carnaval (Father Carnival) being elected to preside over the festivities and head the parade of each city. The parades and parties fill the streets and feature elaborate costumes, music, dancing, food, and drinks. Children and teenagers drench everyone around them with water pistols, water balloons, buckets of water, even eggs and flour, all in good fun.

While celebrations occur all throughout the country, the largest celebration takes place in the city of Ambato where they also celebrate Flower and Fruit Festival, which includes the usual parades and music, as well as concerts, plays, a beauty pageant, and fireworks.Many people from the sierra also take advantage of the long weekend and travel to the coast for vacation. Cities like Puerto Lopez, Manta, Pedernales, and Salinas come alive with hundreds of visitors each day.

Carnaval a playful holiday for all and gives people one last chance to let lose before they begin the 40 day Lent fast.

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ecuador

AgentImage  | February 5, 2018

Ecuador is an insanely beautiful country and I’m pretty sure we all know this. From the abundance of life inhabiting the great Galapagos Islands and the lush vegetation of the Amazon rain forests to the awe-inspiring peaks of the Andes Mountains and the cultural rich city of Cuenca, Ecuador has a little something for everyone.

However, here are 10 things you maybe didn’t know about Ecuador…

  1. Because the Earth bulges at the Equator, Ecuador’s Mt. Chimborazo is technically 1.5 miles higher than Mt. Everest when measured from the Earth’s core
  2. In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to include recognition of the rights of nature in its constitution. Nature has the “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.”
  3. With the protection and conservation of nature being such an important part of Ecuador, it makes sense that the main airport in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, located on the island of Baltra, operates exclusively on wind and solar energy, thanks to a $40 million engineering feat .
  4. The world’s highest active volcano is found in Ecuador: Mt Cotopaxi, which is 5987m above sea level.
  5. Ecuador grows and makes 70% of the world’s fine cacoa, Arriba, which is used in chocolate products worldwide. However, Ecuador lacks processing plants and therefore the Chocolate that is processed in Ecuador is often sub-par.
  6. Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas and the total value of Ecuador’s banana exports exceeds US$2 trillion each year.
  7. Ecuador is home to more than 1600 species of birds, which is more than double the number found on the continents of North America, Europe or Australia.
  8. Ecuador is approximately the size of the state of Oregon in United States
  9. Spanish is the national language however 23 other languages are spoken among different groups. Quichua and Jivaroan are the second and third most popular languages of the Sierra and Oriente.
  10. Ecuador’s Ministry of Tourism secured the rights to the Beatles hit song ‘All You Need is Love’ in 2014 to use as part of its new ‘All You Need is Ecuador’ campaign to show how Ecuador can help people emotionally connect with culture and nature.

There is so much to explore in this tiny, bio-diverse, volcano speckled, cultural filled, country and around every corner is something new to learn. So why don’t you come see for yourself the many wonders this country has to offer!

It’s time for adventure. It’s time to visit Ecuador.