Inca Empire

ecuador-flightsThrough a succession of wars and marriages among the nations that inhabited the valley, the region became part of the Inca Empire in 1463. Atahualpa, one of the sons of the Inca emperor Huayna Capac, could not receive the crown of the empire since the emperor had another son, Huascar, born in the Incan capital Cusco. Upon Huayna Capac’s death in 1525, the empire was divided in two: Atahualpa received the north, with his capital in Quito; Huascar received the south, with its capital in Cusco. In 1530, Atahualpa defeated Huascar and conquered the entire empire for the crown of Quito. However the emperor Atahualpa never ruled the empire, as he was fighting the Spanish at Cajamarca.

Military governments (1972–1979)

In 1972 a “revolutionary and nationalist” military junta overthrew the government of Velasco Ibarra. The coup d’etat was led by General Guillermo Rodríguez and executed by navy commander Jorge Queirolo G. The new president exiled José María Velasco to Argentina remaining in power until 1976, when he was removed by another military government. It was a military junta led by Admiral Alfredo Poveda, who was declared chairman of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council had two other members as well, General Guillermo Durán Arcentales and General Luis Leoro Franco. After the country stabilized, socially and economically, this Supreme Council proceeded to hold democratic elections and stepped down to hand presidential duties over to the newly democratically elected president.

The food

The food in Ecuador is diverse, varying with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef, and cuy (guinea pig) are popular in the mountain regions and are served with a variety of grains (especially rice and corn or potatoes). A popular street food in mountain regions of Ecuador consists of potatoes served with roasted pig (hornado). Fanesca, a fish soup including several types of bean, is often eaten during Lent and Easter. During the week before the commemoration of the deceased or “día de los muertos“, the fruit beverage “Colada Morada” is typical, accompanied by “Guaguas de Pan“, which is stuffed bread shaped like children.

The food is somewhat different in the southern mountain area, featuring typical Loja food such as “repe“, a soup prepared with green bananas; “cecina“, roasted pork; and “miel con quesillo” or “cuajada” as dessert.

A wide variety of fresh fruit is available, particularly at lower altitudes, including granadilla, passionfruit, naranjilla, several types of bananas, uvilla, taxo, and tree tomato.

Cities

* Quito – the capital of the country, tourist interest.
* Guayaquil – the largest city in the country industrially dominated.
* Cuenca – Ecuador’s third largest city, capital of Azuay province in the southern Andes, UNESCO World Heritage Site
* Baños – city beneath the active Tungurahua volcano.
* Ambato – city of flowers. Known for its Mardi Gras parades.
* Latacunga – capital of Cotopaxi province. Famous for the “mom-Negra Festival” in November.
* Otavalo – in the northern city of Quito. The Otavalenos are famous for their handicrafts (textile)
* Bahía de Caraquez – coastal city with its special charm thereby gets that they are only a ferry / a small boat can reach.
* Atacames – coastal town in the province of Esmeraldas. Popular destination for Quiteños. Strong nightlife.
* Puerto López – coastal town in the province of Manabi. Interesting because of the trip to Isla de la Plata and whale watching. Located near the beach paradise Los frailes

The Inca Empire

Through a succession of wars and marriages among the nations that inhabited the valley, the region became part of the Inca Empire in 1463. Atahualpa, one of the sons of the Inca emperor Huayna Capac, could not receive the crown of the Empire since the emperor had another son, Huascar, born in Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire. Upon Huayna Capac’s death in 1525, the empire was divided in two: Atahualpa received the north, with his capital in Quito; Huascar received the south, with its capital in Cusco. In 1530, Atahualpa defeated Huascar and conquered the entire Empire for the crown of Quito. Most of current-day Ecuador was under control of the Incan Empire which was governed from Cusco, and from Quito after Atahualpa conquered the southern portion of the Incan empire with the death of Huascar. However the emperor Atahualpa never ruled the empire, as he was fighting the Spanish at Cajamarca. Despite of this Quito became the new capital of the empire.

History

Evidence of human cultures in Ecuador exists from c. 3500 B.C. Many civilizations rose throughout Ecuador, such as the Valdivia Culture and Machalilla Culture on the coast, the Quitus (near present day Quito) and the Cañari (near present day Cuenca). Each civilization developed its own distinctive architecture, pottery, and religious interests. After years of fiery resistance by the Cayambes and other tribes, as demonstrated by the battle of Yahuarcocha (Blood Lake) where thousands of resistance fighters were killed and thrown in the lake, what is now Ecuador fell to the Incan expansion and was assimilated loosely into the Incan empire.

When to Go

Generally speaking, Ecuador has two seasons, wet and dry, but local weather patterns vary greatly depending on geography.

In the highlands, the dry season is between June and September and around Christmas, but even the wet season isn’t particularly rainy. The central valley is spring-like all year, with temperatures no higher than 24°C (66°F). The Oriente experiences rain year-round; July and August are the wettest months, September through December the driest. Canoe travel is best in the wet season, when streams are high, while trekking is best done in the dry.

On the coast, the wet season (roughly January to May) sees sunny days with daily afternoon downpours, but it’s the best beach weather. June through August sees gringo vacationers descend.

The mainland coastal areas and the Galápagos Islands are sweltering and wet between January and April. Despite the rain, this season has the most sun and is when Ecuadorians flock to the beach.

In the Galápagos, the wildlife frolics year-round but you’ll find January to April the best time for snorkeling. If you’re prone to seasickness, avoid the rough-sea months between July and October.

The high seasons are mid-December to January and June to August – accommodation rates are highest during these months, and reservations are advised.

El Niño hits hard about one winter every decade, playing havoc with road and rail connections.

Every city, town and village in Ecuador has local festivals, which are celebrated with a generous dose of fireworks, alcohol, music and dancing. Some of the biggest include the Good Friday processions in Quito, Corpus Christi in Pujilí or Salasaca, and Fiesta del Yamor in Otavalo.