15th September 2021: 02/2021 Galetter »Environment & Nature 5 new species discovered; water conservation teaching site planned at Humboldt House at Antisana »Tourism New Galapagos yacht “Gran Daphne”; tourist police back on duty; new excursion destination “Lava Tunnel” on Santa Cruz »Ecuadorian Products Cocoa Museum opens in Guayaquil; aid fund for Galapagos products launched »Wildlife Pink land iguana threatened on Isabela »Faces of Ecuador Environment Minister Gustavo Manrique Miranda »Legends and myths Birds as mystical figures
the really good news first: as of September 12th, 2021, there is no longer a travel warning for Ecuador and many other South American countries. After 18 months of the de facto ban, we are now off to a full start. The reason for the all-clear is the successful vaccination campaign. Ecuador is just overtaking Germany in this respect. By the end of September, over 70 percent of the inhabitants on the mainland have been fully vaccinated. Tourism on the Galapagos Islands is coming back in leaps and bounds. In August, visitor numbers were at 50 percent of 2019 levels. Otherwise, things are also going very well in many places in Ecuador and there is a lot of encouraging news. Have fun discovering.
Yours, Beate Zwermann
» Environment & Nature
Five new species discovered since June
The Ministry of Environment reports the discovery of new species in Ecuador in its 100-day assessment: a “cloud frog” de Chical, a lizard (Anolis nemonteaen) and three orchid species. In addition, numerous water protection areas have been designated. Ecuador and Germany agreed on September 6, 2021, to cooperate more closely on species conservation in the future.
Humboldt house at Antisana volcano becomes water school
The rustic small building is already more than 200 years old and stands quasi directly in front of the volcano Antisana. Alexander von Humboldt spent a lot of time here in 1802. For a long time, the building has been lying abandoned in the meadows of the páramo. The grassland is an important ecosystem for the water resources of the capital Quito. With the help of the German embassy in Quito, it is now being renovated into a place for teaching about water. It is providing 70,000 US dollars for this purpose. I wonder if this is connected to Steinmeyer’s state visit in February 2019. At that time, the presidential couple had their pictures taken picturesquely in front of the building.
Discover the Galapagos Islands with the Gran Daphne
At the beginning of March 2020 – just before the pandemic, the luxury yacht Gran Daphne arrived in the Galapagos Islands and has since been lying in the Itabaca Channel north of Santa Cruz Island waiting for her first guests. In September 2021 it will finally be ready. Gran Daphne is a very comfortable ship and enriches the existing product. Bookable now at Galapagos PRO.
Tourist police back on duty
You can meet them at all sights in Ecuador’s big cities and they are very popular with tourists: In Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil, the members of the tourist police have resumed their work. They ensure the safety of the guests and answer any questions.
New excursion destination “Lava Tunnels” on Santa Cruz
On the Galapagos Islands, lava tunnels are a regular feature on excursions to the Santa Cruz highlands. Now the national park has opened a tunnel near the small town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island as a visitor site. The tour can be done on your own and will soon be on offer at Galapagos PRO.
» Ecuadorian products
New Cocoa Museum in Guayaquil
Ecuador’s cocoa is considered the best in the world, and the country is the cradle of cocoa. Now the port city of Guayaquil is dedicating a museum to the export hit with comprehensive information about it. The historic building in the centre of the city was renovated true to the original. In the vicinity of the museum, there are numerous nice coffee shops and restaurants, which invite you to stroll after the visit. The museum visit is optional with city tours in the offer of Galapagos PRO.
Aid fund for Galapagos products launched
If you want to offer a hotel, a ship or tours on the Galapagos Islands, you need a license from the national park and must be well insured. After the pandemic, many small local providers lack the money for this. Galapagos PRO has started an aid fund to help the providers. 18 companies will get a jump start in September.
Pink land iguanas
The staff of the Galapagos National Park counted the pink land iguanas on Isabela Island and found only 211 specimens. Alarmingly, they did not encounter any young lizards. Therefore, they are now considered endangered. The lizards live at the volcano Wolf in the north of Isabela Island in impassable terrain without contact with tourists.
» Faces of Ecuador
Gustavo Manrique Miranda
Ecuador has a new environment minister who wants to rock a lot. He just announced his first 100-day performance review via video. The 51-year-old agricultural engineer from Guayaquil studied in Costa Rica and since 2001 has been president of the recycling company SAMBITO, which carries out hundreds of environmental projects a year. Gustavo also created the Latin American Green Awards (LAGA) in 2013.
» Legends and myths
Birds as Mystical Figures
Learn about the central role birds play in the mystical narratives of indigenous communities. This BBC article helps understand how myths can help preserve culture and language.