We're in Ecuador!! Temp's in the low 80's. Partly sunny. Partly cloudy.
Ecuador was named for being located on the equator and is much more prosperous than Chile and Peru. They have a thriving fishing industry, exporting yellow-fin tuna to Japan and much more. They have discovered oil and are definitely profiting from that. They also export bananas, cacao, sugar and flowers, mainly orchids. They are also thriving on tourism. The Galapagus Islands are part of Ecuador. Their currency is the US dollar.
They were conquered by the Spanish in the 1500's like most of the other Latin American countries, so they speak Spanish. They became an independent country in 1840. Ecuador is a fairly small country with just 17 million people.
There is a great variety of climates here. On the Pacific coast the climate is tropical with a severe rainy season. The climate in the Andes Mountains is temperate and relatively dry. The Amazon basin on the eastern side of the Andes is rain forest.
We left the ship on a bus that drove us up into the lower mountain forests. They call it a dry forest. It gets heavy rain in January and no other time. So looking at the forest from the road, it looks dead. But there are green spots where different trees bloom at different times of the year.
Our goal was the Cerro Jaboncillo Archaeological site. There were many indigenous peoples in the area over the centuries leaving behind artifacts. This particular site was from the Cancebi-Mantenos peoples from 900 to 1500 AD. We visited the archaeological site and the museum. The pictures will show you some of the artifacts that have been found, especially the U-shaped chairs.
We passed by several cities. Montecristi is famous for weaving straw hats. The name of the hats is "Panama Hat", but that's not correct. Most Panama hats are made in Ecuador. But because so many hats have been exported to Panama over the years, the name stuck.