October 29, 2010
Ecuador started this Friday evening a five-day long National Holiday, decreed by the Government. Traditionally, Ecuador has included for decades on its Holiday’s Calendar, the second of November, a day to commemorate All the Dead and the third of November, to celebrate the Anniversary of the Independence of Cuenca, the country’s third largest and most important city. As this year November 2 and 3 were a Tuesday and Wednesday, the Government decided to also give a free Monday, in order to unite the weekend with the two celebrations, thus giving the Ecuadorians a five day Holiday.
The occasion, announced two weeks ago, prompted the tourism sector to prepare special programs and tour packages to attract visitors to all Four Natural Regions of the country. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians have flocked to the main tourist attractions of the country and it is expected that close to two million visitors will have travelled to different regions, cities, towns and tourist attractions during this Holiday. This massive exchange of internal tourism, only on the six annual long holidays scheduled on the National Calendar, provides yearly revenues which can reach some four hundred thousand million U.S. dollars, over 50% of the total revenues which Ecuador receives through international tourism every year.
The President of Ecuador invited all the Ecuadorians to visit their own country and find out its immense beauty on every corner of the Nation. Main vacationing targets are the beaches, some of them spectacular and pristine and many with increasing facilities and good access roads along a more than 500 miles-long stretch of coastline, along the Pacific Ocean, from the border with Colombia in the extreme north, to the border with Peru at the extreme south. Media coverage of the Holiday show the most important beach resorts of the country, packed with domestic tourists, enjoying the sun, the sandy beaches, water sports, phenomenal gastronomy and a host of cultural, sports and traditional events, together with music, concerts and lively dancing.
However, the rest of the country has its share of interesting proposals for the vacationers who do not go to the beach. Cuenca, whose 190th Anniversary of Independence is celebrated this year, will have a spectacular show of sound and light, complete with awesome fireworks, tagged the “Cuenca Nights”, as one of the highlights of their multiple celebrations which will include many cultural events, parades and popular dances.
Along the Andean highlands, many of the celebrations which attract large numbers of national and international visitors are the traditions to remember the Dead Souls, which stages ancestral customs which are kept alive, especially by the indigenous communities, such as bringing their deceased loved ones, their preferred food and drinks to share with them around their tombs. One of the most colorful such traditions takes place on the small town of Calderon, just ten minutes northeast of Quito. The Amazonian Region and the Galapagos Islands have also their own share of activities and superb natural and cultural attractions to be the chosen destination of the vacationers. Meanwhile, the highly touristic zones of Mindo and San Miguel de los Bancos, a fantastic cloud forest ecosystem on the lower western flanks of the Andes have organized the First Exhibit of Tropical Flowers, which will feature many of the hundreds of species of orchids, bromeliads, heliconias and other tropical plants which abound in the area, also dotted with cascades, unique bird life with over 500 species of birds, including the spectacular and unique “cock of the rock” with its brilliant red plumage, in addition to numerous species of hummingbirds, colorful butterflies, a true nature’s paradise.
For those who love adrenaline and adventure travel, multiple venues on the Amazon Region; the Pacific Coast; the Andean Region and the Galapagos Islands will provide the ideal location to live unique experiences. Whether to relax, enjoy the beach and the sea, to watch postcard sunsets or to participate of cultural activities, party and have fun, the Ecuadorians and large numbers of foreign visitors have the opportunity to enjoy Ecuador at its best during this special Holiday.