Insider Blog

Filter By Month: March 2013
  • Photo: Quito Turismo

    Holy Week in Quito

    There are a few events every year in Quito that bring hundreds of thousands of people together: Ecuadorean Independence (August 9-10th), the Fiestas of Quito (December  6th), and Semana Santa, or Easter Holy Week.

    Holy Week (happening the last week of March) is the only one that allows visitors to witness Quito’s significant expressions of faith. Below we explain the significance of the celebrations and where they can be observed.

  • Interview: Chilean Wine Expert on the Local Wine Scene in Ecuador

    As Ecuador’s wine culture grows it attracts attention from beyond the nation’s borders, including from the preeminent producer of wines on the continent, Chile.

    Last year wine expert Patricio Tapia visited Ecuador for the first time as the ambassador of the Tour de Vinos Chilenos a promotional campaign by ProChile, the commercial branch of the Chilean State Department.  As ambassador, Tapia–who has appeared on the Gourmet Channel and writes for El Mercurio Newspaper in Chile–visited several  Latin American countries, but this was his first time in Ecuador.  We took the opportunity to ask him what he thought.

  • Two Bold Reds: Malbec and Tempranillo

    Since the 1550′s, when Spanish colonists brought vine cuttings over to South America and began cultivation, Argentina has become the fifth largest wine producer in the world. And perhaps no two varietals have become as popular here as Malbec and Tempranillo, two bold reds that grow particularly well in Argentina’s most productive wine-growing region, Mendoza.

  • Bicycling through Mendoza’s Wine Country

    Set in the eastern foothills of the Andes, with the tallest peak on the continent, Mount Aconcagua, looming on the horizon, the vineyards surrounding Mendoza are a spectacular sight, even for those who don’t care for wine.

    The wine-growing regions around Mendoza city are clumped into three areas, the Uco Valley, the Luján region, and the Maipú region. Both the Uco and Luján areas are gorgeous and filled with wonderful vineyards, but since they are closest to the Andes and farthest away from Mendoza city, the best way to tour each of them is to hire a car service or take a bus tour.

  • Photo: Juan Ernesto Jaeger - Gentileza de Turismo Chile

    Mysterious Wine: Carmenere

    The history of Chilean wine began approximately 500 years ago with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. They were the ones that introduced wine made of Vitis Vinifera (Common Grape Vine) to Catholic mass rituals.

  • Tropical Wine

    Conventional wisdom says that wine-producing grapes are grown between 20 degrees and 50 degrees latitude above or below the Equator (above the Tropic of Cancer and below the Tropic of Capricorn).

    Though most wine is imported into Ecuador, with 70% coming from Chile, visitors to the Equator will be in for a surprise to discover locally produced wine from three vineyards.

  • Mate: The Argentine Tradition

    What coffee is to the U.S. and tea is to Britain, mate is to Argentina. Throughout southern South America—but especially in Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay—the bitter beverage is consumed around the clock. It’s prepared by steeping the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant in a cup, usually made from a hollowed calabash gourd. Then the strong tea-like drink is sipped through a silver straw, which in Argentina is called a bombilla. Sugar or honey is sometimes added to cut down on the bitterness.

  • Photo: Emma

    The Avenue of the Volcanoes: Exploring Two Hours South of Quito

    In 1802 German explorer Alexander von Humbolt in a visit to Ecuador´s Sierra coined a phrase that is now part of the tourism vocabulary for mainland Ecuador: Avenue of the Volcanoes.

    Between the eastern and western cordilleras of the Andes Mountains, along a stretch of 300 kilometers, all of Ecuador’s highest mountain peaks (nine are above 5,000 meters) are part of a protected area, either a national park or an ecological reserve.  The mountain peaks are actually volcanoes, both active and inactive, which offer the opportunity to experience their beauty in many ways.

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