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All Travel-related News Flashes Now Improved & Streamlined   Leave a comment

As we have apparently become a popular and trusted source for breaking travel-related news for mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, we have decided to change (improve) the manner in which news is presented and updated.

From October 1st, 2011 this service is now being aired on this dedicated channel

Example: 

Sky News contacted us during for their Ecuador President Hurt During ‘Coup Attempt‘ report on September 30th, 2010

Our popularity arose during the hour by hour updates relating to the tsunami alert issued for the Pacific region, the political uprisings on September 30th 2010 (aka 30-S) against President Rafael Correa and our continual coverage of the frequent eruptions of Mount Tugurahua Volcano.

The comments of gratitude and thanks for this spurred us to improve our news desk system.

By news we do not refer to deals, offers and such.  What is presented is travel-related news that may be important for you (or family members) to be aware of.

Examples include erupting volcanoes & natural disasters, airport closures, safety news, strikes & protests.  Basically news-worthy material that foreign travelers should be aware of (and for family & friends back home) to be informed as accurately and up to date as possible.

We have broken the news into relevant sections:

  • Breaking News …. the latest news flashes
  • Health & Safety News
  • General (travel) News
  • Flight-related News
  • Galapagos Islands (travel) News
  • Quito (travel) News

http://www.sangay.com/travelnews/

Posted September 20, 2011 by sangay in TRAVEL NEWS

Mariscal Sucre Quito International Airport News   2 comments

On Friday, September 16th at 19h00 a TAME airline airplane (Embraer 190), flight no.148 from Loja to Quito, crashed into the far north safety extension region of the Quito International Airport of Mariscal Sucre.  Aboard were 97 passengers and 6 crew.  No victims were reported, and 11 people received medical attention.

The TAME plane ended up some 300 meters beyond the extreme end of the runway.  Airport operations have been irregular subsequently due to the fact that the ILS radars, which assist inbound air traffic for runway approximation, were damaged.  As a result, pilots are forced to use VOR (Voice over radio) for approximations in the meantime.

If climatic conditions (low or poor visibility etc) present themselves, flights may be forced to land at the nearest alternative airport. For this reason flights have been irregular since Friday evening.

 

New Galapagos Islands National Park Regulation (effective September 1, 2011)   2 comments

New National Park regulation for tortoise corals visits at the Darwin Station Research Station (Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island)

Effective September 1st 2011, visitors to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz, will no longer be allowed to enter or walk inside the interior walls of the tortoise corals.

Guides have reported that passengers are not following rules prohibiting them from touching or feeding the tortoises.  Passengers will only be able to view the tortoises from outside the corals walls.

Photo source: Parque Nacional Galapagos - http://www.galapagospark.org

For a more in-depth report, please go to http://www.sangay.com/ecuadorguide/galapagos-islands/2457/

Posted August 31, 2011 by sangay in TRAVEL NEWS

Photojournal & Insights   Leave a comment

For those looking for a more personal insight to the various aspects of the Galapagos Islands, mainland Ecuador and travel related issues … feel free to jump to my personal blog – EcuadorGuide – Ecuador & Galapagos.

Posted August 28, 2011 by sangay in OTHER

Ecuador on Alert for possible Pacific Ocean waves reaching 4m   Leave a comment

AUGUST 11th, 2011  13h30

The Ecuadorian government has issued an “Orange Alert” for the southern Pacific Coastal region (where waves could reach between 2 to 4 meters – according to local news sources, and has just included the Galapagos Islands (where waves could reach 2 to 3 meters in height – according to local news sources here in Quito).

The timing is not ideal as we head into a holiday long weekend, and a good majority of the major city inhabitants tend to flock to the coast during this period.

Spanish news link:  http://www.elcomercio.com/pais/Vigente-alerta-naranja-ecuatorianas-oleaje_0_533946603.html

14h30 INOCAR (National Oceanographic Institute) is predicting the strong possibility that the strong waves that hit the coast of Chile & Peru yesterday will arrive on the coast of Ecuador later this afternoon, with waves 2 to 2.5 m.  Forecasts for August 12 predictstronger and larger waves (>2.5 m), while those for August 13 predict that the waves will start to diminish and end in the evening of August 14th.

15h03 From local media source Telegrafo: COEN (National Emergency Operations Committee) has started limited evacuations of southern coastal regions of Ecuador, particularly the province of El Oro.  In addition, the government is permitting people to visit the coastal regions during the holiday long weekend (Friday to Sunday) but swimming in the sea will not be permitted .. along with any aquatic sports, fishing or whale watching.

Any further updates will be posted here:
(http://www.sangay.com/ecuadorguide/travel/ecuador-on-alert-for-possible-pacific-ocean-waves-reaching-4m/)

357 Sharks illegally captured in the Galapagos Islands   1 comment

Original Spanish news source: Parque Nacional Galapagos (PNG)

A Total of 357 sharks were counted aboard the ‘Fer Mary I’

357 sharks were found aboard the FER MARY I

Technicians and authorities of the Galapagos National Park (DPNG), Navy, National Police conducted an inspection of the fishing boat ‘Fer Mary I’ detained for illegal fishing in the Galapagos Islands.

The ‘Fer Mary I’ and its six smaller fishing boats were detained 20 miles within the archipelago, to the east of the northern island of Genovesa, by the Galapagos National Park boat ‘Sea Ranger 02’ – with assistance from the Ecuadorian Navy.  The captured vessel was escorted to the port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) in the evening.

The smaller vessels detained accompanying the ‘Fer Mary I’ were F/M Siempre Virgen de Monserrate, F/M Narcisa de Jesús, F/M Keyla Yeannely, F/M Heyder Josue, F/M Nuevo Destino II and F/M Siempre José.

At 17h30 local authorities conducted inspections to identify the catch aboard.  The final inventory determined the following: 357 sharks, 11 dorados, 9 albacores & 1 sword fish.  The species of shark identified were:

  • 286 Bigeye Thresher (Alopias superciliosus);
  • 22 Blue sharks (Prionace glauca);
  • 40 Galapagos sharks (Carcharinus galapaguensis);
  • 6 Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini);
  • 2 Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvieri);
  • 1 Mako shark (Isurus oxirrinchus)
The Galapagos National Park authorities have initiated the respective legal and administrative processes to determine the corresponding sanctions, destination planned for vessels etc.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve prohibits the capture, commercialization and transportation of sharks.

Ecuador Travel News: Air Cuenca operations temporarily suspended   4 comments

The Ecuadorian National Aviation Authorities (DAC – Dirección General de Aviación Civil) temporarily suspends Air Cuenca operations due to technical problems that do not guarantee the safety and security of the passengers (according to an article published in El Comercio on June 21st, 2010.

According to this news source, Air Cuenca can only start operating again once the aircraft is checked.

In the Quito airport of Mariscal Sucre, the personal at the airline counter of Air Cuenca commented that they are not selling airline tickets and that the aircraft will go to Miami to be checked.

Santa Fe Islands temporarily closed from June 5th to 7th 2011   Leave a comment

According to the latest Galapagos National Park resolution (No.033-2011) the island of Santa Fe will be closed off from June 5th to 7th, 2011.

According to the resolution, this temporary closure of Santa Fe Island is to realize a monitor/study of emblematic species such such as iguanas, rats, marine birds, Opuntia cactus, species in danger and other aspects of the current conditions on th island.

Boats that are scheduled to visit this island during this period (June 5th to 7th 2011) will visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center.

Galapagos Islands Tourist Boat Gets Stranded   3 comments

April 27, 2011

Having picked up on unconfirmed and very vague news (via local television) that a vessel in the Galapagos Islands got stranded off the coast of Isabela Island, I started to get my feelers out there.

As I keep my ears to the ground, I have managed to ascertain & confirm with the direct operator of this vessel (Eric) that indeed there was a minor incident that occurred off the coast of Isabela Island, causing the boat to get “stranded” (the actual Spanish term used was varado). All passengers and crew were efficiently and safely removed from the vessel without any incidents.

The boat will apparently be out of commission for approximately one month to make the necessary repairs.

Details on this particular boat [LINK]

Galapagos Islands Tourist Boat ‘Eric’Gets Stranded

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April 28th update (original Spanish article in El Universo)
“Galapagos boat ran aground with 31 people”

The tourist boat Eric, carrying 31 people on board, including 20 passengers and 11 crew, ran aground early yesterday morning in Punta Cordova, north of Santiago Island in the Galapagos archipelago.

Until the closure of this edition the ship remained trapped in a rocky area where it ran aground at 01:15, said Lt. Edwin Aguilar, in charge of the Port Captain of the island of Baltra, who said the incident caused no injuries .

The strandings took place because of  “fatigue” of the crew, said Aguilar, as they did not realize what could occur in this rocky area.

But at the moment a final report is pending, said the official.

“At the moment we take steps in saving human lives”, citing Aguilar.

Passenger in hotel …

The 20 passengers on board were brought to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), where they were staying in an undisclosed hotel, whose name was not released by the officer.

Meanwhile, efforts to remove the ship, about 25 meters (length), were unsuccessful. During the day, the work of the Port Captain of Baltra and the National Directorate of Aquatic Areas (DIRNEA) focused on “lightening” the boat to get out of the site.  This involves removing heavy objects such as furniture and other combustible materials.  For this purpose, several barges are being used.

Towing the vessel pending …

At 18:00, Aguilar said they would wait until 23:00 to try to tow the boat, because at that time the tide would be high. “If not, between 10:00 and 11:00 tomorrow (today, April 28th),” quoted the officer.

According to sources,  the boat (Eric) left Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island) on Monday.  A few hours before the grounding the boat sailed from the northern island of Genovesa in the direction of Puerto Egas on Santiago Island, east of Isabela Island.

Staff of the Galapagos National Park (GNP) also went into action at the site of the accident to realize a report of what happened. Meanwhile, relevant official authorities – which control the operation of tourism companies – realized that the registration of the ship is TN-00-00123.

Ecuador Tungurahua volcano re-erupts   2 comments

REUTERS/Carlos Campana

UPDATES 2011 NOW FOUND HERE

LATEST UPDATE (Dec.2/2010)

Volcanic activity has been reported in the Tungurahua (Throat of Fire) volcano in Ecuador, the second case sighted in the past few weeks.  The volcano spewed molten rocks and large clouds of gas and ash near Banos, south of Quito, Reuters reported on Tuesday.  The Tungurahua’s volcanic activity follows last month’s eruption, when a column of gas shot up seven kilometers into the sky.  No casualties have been recorded so far, but flight re-direction is being considered.

Tungurahua is located approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Ecuador’s capital, Quito.

RECENT CHRONOLOGY ….

After almost 6 months of relevate calm, Mount Tungurahua seems to be reawaking in the first days of 2010.

DEC.30 2009 – long-period earthquake followed by fumarolic activity with a steam plume reaching 300 metres above the crater.

JAN.01 2010 – beginning of emissions with low ash content, accompanied by rumbles that have gradually increased their intensity.

JAN.03 2010 – crater glow visible, lava fountaining begins, with the projection of incandescent material onto the upper slopes and intense rumbling sounds

JAN.04 2010 – increased ash emissions with eruption columns reaching as high as 2 km above the crater, ash fall reported to the west.

MAY.31 2010 – explosion (see photo series below)

Tungurahua volcano eruption process last night (May 31). Photo credits: Armando Prado/El Comercio

NOV.22 2010 – A sudden eruption of the Tungurahua volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes sent a column of ash more than 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) into the sky.

APR.27 2011 – A significant explosive eruption occurred, prompting evacuations of schools and villages near the volcano. Tungurahua produced a 7 km / ~23,000 foot ash plume, which is a bit surprising considering that last report from Instituto Geofisico in Ecuador from January 2011 reported “activity at Tungurahua continued to decrease and ash was absent from plumes.”  Hugo Yepes, a geologist from the IG, was quoted as saying (Spanish) this eruption was one of the largest at the volcano in the past 11 years and that the IG expects that this eruption might gone on for “several days”.  The Ecuadoran government placed the volcano on Orange Alert status, meaning mandatory evacuations for a number of villages near Tungurahua. Some air traffic in and out of Quito has also been effected by the eruption.

(Photo by Cecilia Puebla/AFP/Getty Images)

COTALO, ECUADOR – The Tungurahua volcano spews ashes and lava on January 11, 2010, in Cotalo, Ecuador, 135km south of Quito.

Posted April 27, 2011 by sangay in MAINLAND ECUADOR, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES

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Fuel costs for certain Galapagos Islands vessels to increase 30%   Leave a comment

You probably have already heard the news, the Ecuadorian government has announced new measures effective this month (April 2011) that will increase the cost of diesel nearly 30% only for certain vessels operating in the Galapagos Islands.

We will keep readers up to date as official, confirmed details become available.  In addition, we will inform readers which Galapagos Islands cruise operators are directly effected and the associated measure they are taking.

For example, the operators of the sister boats Eric, LEtty, Flamingo have just communicated the following …

You probably have already heard the news, the Ecuadorian government has announced new measures effective this month that will increase the cost of diesel nearly 30% only for certain vessels operating in the Galapagos Islands.  Instead of tacking on a “fuel surcharge” (we abhor that word and assume you do as well), and in an effort not to pass along additional costs to the consumer, we at Ecoventura prefer to revise the structure of our promotions offered going forward. Additional savings has been eliminated entirely, some departure dates have been removed and the amount of discounts have been reduced. All confirmed reservations are locked in and have received a really good deal by booking early. All cabins under option have until April 12 to confirm and receive the former discounts.

TAME airline increases flight rates for Galapagos Islands flights   Leave a comment

As is quite often the case here in Ecuador, it is not uncommon to get wind of official changes in regulations after the fact.  Much as is currently occurring with the ‘new’ national transit laws.  This is also the case with recent changes (apparently took effect on March 31st, 2011) that were made available today (April 7th, 2011).

According to official information from TAME airline, they have changed the rates for thier flights to/from the Galapagos Islands. Up until this date, all airline tickets were classified as ‘Y’ (or Yankie) class – both for high and low season flights.  Now TAME airline has dropped class ‘Y’ and replacing it for class ‘B’ (or Bravo) and class ‘W’ (or Whiskey) in high season, and class ‘H’ (or Hotel) in low season.  Furthermore, TAME airline now only considers the months of July, August & December as high season.

In addition, TAME airline is now charging penalty fees for such things as change of date, change of name etc.

It appears that one set rate is applied to low season flights (much like in the past) but for high season flights one of two tariffs will be applied (class ‘B’ or class ‘W’) depending on availability.

Here is how the fees pan out ….

HIGH SEASON: July, August & December

GALAPAGOS FLIGHT RATES – HIGH SEASON

ROUTING ADULT CHILD
QUITO – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $418 (*B) / $463 (*W) $286 (*B) / $315 (*W)
QUITO – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $395 (*B) / $440 (*W) $270 (*B) / $300 (*W)
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $393 (*B) / $438 (*W) $267 (*B) / $298 (*W)
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $370 (*B) / $415 (*W) $252 (*B) / $283 (*W)
CODE REFERENCE
High season classes: (B) = SEAT CLASS B / (W) = SEAT CLASS WNOTES 

(a) Seat class subject to availability (*)
(b) ‘Child’ is anyone under 12 years of age / ‘Adult’ is anyone over 12 years of age.
(c) Copies of passports are required by airline for all passengers (adults & children).
(d) Rates do not include USD $10 per airline ticket issue fee charged by airline.
(e) Flight rates are subject to change without prior notice. 

(f)  USD $30 penalty for change of date
(g) USD $50 penalty for change in name
(h) USD $50 penalty for reimbursement refund

UPDATED: APRIL 7th, 2011


LOW SEASON: January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October & November

GALAPAGOS FLIGHT RATES – LOW SEASON

ROUTING ADULT CHILD
QUITO – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $373 (H) $254 (H)
QUITO – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $356 (H) $245 (H))
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – QUITO $379 (H) $260 (H)
GUAYAQUIL – GALAPAGOS – GUAYAQUIL $326 (H) $223 (H)
CODE REFERENCE 

Low season class: (H) = SEAT CLASS H

NOTES

(a) ‘Child’ is anyone under 12 years of age / ‘Adult’ is anyone over 12 years of age.
(b) Copies of passports are required by airline for all passengers (adults & children).
(c) Rates do not include USD $10 per airline ticket issue fee charged by airline.
(d) Flight rates are subject to change without prior notice.
(e) USD $30 penalty for change of date
(f)  USD $50 penalty for change in name
(g) USD $50 penalty for reimbursement refund

UPDATED: APRIL 7th, 2011

Tsunami alert for Galapagos Islands & Ecuador: Continuous updates   3 comments

Tsunami alert Galapagos Ecuador

For news, details and updates on the tsunami alert in effect for Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands …

please go to live updating page

http://www.sangay.com/ecuadorguide/galapagos-islands/tsunami-news-updates-for-ecuador-galapagos-islands/

Galapagos Islands news: Rabida Island temporarily closed (Jan.7 – 28/11)   1 comment

According to Resolution no.0071 issued by the Galapagos Islands National Park Directive on December 30th, 2010, the Island of Rabida will be temporarily closed to tourists from January 7th through to January 28th, 2011.

De acuerdo a la resolución 0071 emitida por la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos con fecha 30.12.10, se dispone el cierre temporal para uso turístico del sitio de visita Rábida durante el periodo 07 al 28 de enero del 2011.

Ecuador culinary tradition: Colada Morada con Guaguas de Pan   1 comment

This tradition dates hundreds of years ago; and it is almost impossible to know its exact origin.  But without a doubt it is a result of the syncretism of indigenous rituals and traditions brought by the Spanish with the Catholic religion.

Recipes for Colada Morada can vary from region to region and family to family. Almost all versions contain basic ingredients like:

  • mortiño (i.e., “Blueberry of the Andes” or myrtle berry) [link]
  • mora (i.e., very similar to blackberry)
  • piña (i.e., pineapple)
  • naranjas (i.e., oranges)
  • canela (i.e., cinnamon)
  • clavo de olor (i.e., cloves)
  • panela (i.e., unrefined whole cane sugar)
  • maicena – corn flower base (i.e., cornstarch, black flour or purple corn flour)
  • ishpingo (Ecuadorian spice)
  • pimienta dulce (i.e., sweet peppercorns)
  • bundle of aromatic herbs (huerba buena, arrayan,  orange leaves, lemon verbena)

… some will include strawberries, blueberries, naranjilla juice (an Andean fruit), babaco (champagne fruit), allspice  and even raisins.

Ishpingo (from the Quechua ‘ishpinku’) is the native Ecuadorian cinnamon tree Ocotea quixos (Lauraceae), found only in a small region of Amazonian Ecuador and Colombia. It is in the same family (Lauraceae) as the common Cinnamon and has a similar aroma. It has been used locally as a spice and flavoring agent since pre-European times.

Colada Morada has its roots in ‘El Dia de los Difuntos’ or ‘Day of the Ancestors’ (November 2), a time to celebrate and pay respects to one’s ancestors.  In the small villages, families dress in their finest clothes and carry a meal to the cemetery. It is generally customary to leave one plate for the dead ancestor.  This traditional meal includes guaguas de pan and the colada morada.

Guaguas de pan literally translated means  ‘bread babies’.  The word guagua, pronounced wa-wa, is Quechua for baby or young child.) These bread babies can be up to 12 inches long and are decorated with icing and may have jam or some other sweet filling inside.

In the larger towns and cities, families no longer eat with their ancestors. They spend the day visiting the cemetery and laying flowers on the graves. They may make guaguas de pan and colada morada, but only for eating with their family at home. Nevertheless, the spirit of the Día de los Difuntos carries on as one of the important traditions of Ecuador.

 

Recipes for colada morada can vary from region to region and family to family. While all versions contain blueberry, blackberry, and pineapple, some will use naranjilla juice (an Andean fruit), babaco (champagne fruit), strawberries, and even raisins. 

Read more at Suite101: Colada Morada Fruit Juice Recipe: Traditional Ecuadorian All Soul’s Day Blueberry and Blackberry Drink http://www.suite101.com/content/colada-morada-fruit-juice-recipe-a34344#ixzz16h1J6tKq

Posted November 29, 2010 by sangay in MAINLAND ECUADOR, PHOTOGRAPHY & IMAGES