Did you know that Ecuador's
early coastal peoples were important for the development of
the famous cultures in Central America and Peru? The Bahia Culture
- known as the "Phoenicians of the Americas" - set up important
trade routes and were responsible for transfer of ideas and
technologies that helped the complex social organizations of
the neighboring countries to succeed.
Sailors and merchant traders in search of the sacred Spondylus
and mother of pearl shell arrived at this site aboard balsa
wood sailing vessels. These seafaring merchants traded skillfully
crafted ornaments or whole shells as far north as Mexico and
as far south to Chile, for gold, copper and other previous items.
We are truly interested in making Bahia
de Caraquez known to the travel world - especially the archaeological
site of Chirije. It would be great for students interested in
ecology and archaeology to visit this site and for volunteer
The following are some tours that visitors interested in the
local environment can enjoy:
Bahia de Caraquez boasts an ancient and rich cultural history.
Situated on a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, and the
bay of "Los Caras," Bahia de Caraquez lies in one of the most
scenic areas in coastal Ecuador.
Visit the "Isla de los Pajaros," an island inhabited by a
variety of bird species, such as the Frigate, Egret and Pelican.
Navigate through groups of mangroves and observe the unusual
natural formation of islands, such as the "Isla Corazon." This
island is a naturally formed in shape of a heart. It served
as a place of local worship according to sixteenth century Spanish
In the past, the easily accessible location of Bahia de Caraquez
has facilitated the commercialization of products from this region.
Currently, shrimp farming offers economic benefits to this city
and to the country. Ecuador is now among the three leading shrimp
exporting nations in the world. Visit a shrimp farm and learn
from the pioneers of shrimp farming about a particular method
of production native to this region.
En route to the shrimp ponds, navigate the estuary in private
touring boats and discover a unique mangrove ecosystem. Visit
the "Isla de los Pajaros," a small island inhabited by an array
of bird species and "Isla Corazon."
Tour the area and learn about current aquatic techniques and
the commercialization of this product. Of course, we invite
you to sample the traditional fresh shrimp dish, "Cebiche."
Internationally recognized, but mislabeled, "Panama Hats" originated
during colonial times in Indian villages such as Montecristi and
Jipijapa. Using ancient Indian techniques, villagers produced
this high quality hat, much appreciated for its style and texture.
The same weaving techniques are still used to produce the world-renowned
Just fifteen minutes from Montecristi lies another artesian
town known as La Pila. La Pila is regionally known for its indistinguishable
replicas of pre-Columbian ceramics. Choose from an array of
ceramics that represent various coastal civilizations, some
dating back 3000 years.
Scientific investigations in the field of astronomy gained validity
in Ecuador during the eighteenth century. In 1735, under the auspices
of the Scientific Academy of Paris, a group of astronomers and
scientists reached the coast of Ecuador with the intention of
measuring the exact location of the equator.
The mission was led by French astronomer, Charles Marie de
la Condamine, who in that same year, discovered the equatorial
line here at Punta Palmar, dividing the earth into the Northern
Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
Located just two hours north of Bahia, visit the equatorial
monument and its surrounding unspoiled beaches. The spectacular
topography of lush forests, mountain ranges and the white-sand
beaches of Don Juan make this a magnificent trip.