April 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
Living Galapagos the project from the journalism school at UNC Chapel Hill has released a number of trailers from their work in the Galapagos Islands. The films feature a number of different subjects and do a remarkable job telling the story of the people who make the Galapagos their home.
The site and full versions of the videos are scheduled to be released in early May currently the videos and blog posts can be seen at Livinggalapagos.org
April 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
Ecuadorian Airline SAERO S.A. has announced they are to begin inter-islands service within the Galapagos Islands. There are currently three airports in the Galapagos the largest on the island of Baltra, one on the island of San Cristobal and a third which is exclusively used for inter-island flights on the island of Isabela. Travel between these islands is currently limited to either a fiberglass speed boat or EMETEBEE airlines which operates 7 and 9 passenger Britten-Norman 2 Islander planes.
SAERO which currently offers flights within Ecuador and to the beaches of Northern Peru has a fleet that includes a Turbo Commander 840, Helicopter, BeechCraft 1900 Embraer 120 and Leer Jet. SAERO’s entry into the Galapagos inter-island market will make more options available and it more convenient for travelers who wish to travel between the islands by plane.
April 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
LAN has released a new destination within the South American Airpass program: Colombia. Passengers may, through LAN.com, select a flight of entry into the continent, to design an itinerary of at least three destinations in the region and take advantage of rates of the company, and now has chosen Colombia between their countries.
Colombia has become the eighth largest network of destinations available in the South American Airpass. Bogota, Cali, Cartagena or San Andres Island are already available to the traveler with the South American Airpass.
LAN continues offering, under the South American Airpass, his classic “recommended circuits” which proposed routes for all tastes:
– “Galapagos and Machu Picchu.” Quito-Galapagos-Islands-Guayaquil-Lima-Cusco.
– “Inca Trail and Lake Titicaca.” Lima-Cuzco-Juliaca-Lima.
– “Wonders of South America.” Lima-Cusco-Lima-Iguazu Falls-Lima.
– “Urban America.” Quito-Lima-Buenos Aires-Santiago de Chile.
– “Cultures enigmatic.” Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago-Calama-Santiago de Chile.
-“Food and wine”. Lima-Buenos Aires-Mendoza-Santiago de Chile.
The company offers users the best South American Airpass travel conditions, allowing earn 100% of the mileage in their frequent flyer program LANPASS and applying the more lenient baggage rate of transoceanic flights.
March 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
Protests in Ecuador yesterday shut down the capital city of Quito while indigenous protested the governments signing of new mining contracts. The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the Americas, one in 10 species in the world can be found within the Amazon Basin.
This area is also home to a number of indigenous groups, including groups within the Brazilian Amazon which have remained without contact from the outside world. For decades the Amazon Region has also been exploited for its wealth of natural resources including deforestation, oil production, and mining operations.
Environmentalists are concerned about loss of biodiversity that will result from destruction of the forest, and also about the release of the carbon contained within the vegetation, which could accelerate global warming. As regions within the Amazon Basin continue to succumb to eco-side the many of the indigenous groups from the area have become the voice for the Amazon through community based conservation efforts.
March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Larry Stack, 51, knew something was wrong as he ascended a mountain on a recent climbing trip to Quito, Ecuador.
“I had had shortness of breath on trips before, but this was different,” said Stack, who is a physician. “I developed a headache, and felt like I was going to pass out.”
Stack’s experience during his rapid ascent may be a familiar hazard to many of the millions of Americans who trek up the side of a mountain each year. He was experiencing acute mountain sickness. Commonly referred to as altitude sickness, it is a serious condition — and in its worst form, it is potentially deadly.
Now, new research published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine suggests that those who climb may do well to add a bottle of ibuprofen, a common anti-inflammatory painkiller, to their hiking packs.
Ibuprofen is available over the counter and is perhaps most widely known by the brand names Advil and Motrin — although it is available in numerous other formulations as well.
Study author Dr. Grant Lipman, an emergency medicine physician at Stanford University, first noted a decrease in the symptoms of acute mountain sickness — dizziness, fatigue, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting — while researching a previous group of study participants at high altitude.
“We saw that ibuprofen helped headache and, as a secondary finding, decreased the symptoms of acute mountain sickness,” Lipman said.
He then tested this hypothesis using 86 volunteers. Each was given either ibuprofen or a placebo pill just before a summer climb in the White Mountains of California. Lipman’s group found that those hikers taking ibuprofen were three times less likely to develop altitude sickness than those who took the dummy pill.
Currently, there are two commonly used treatments for altitude sickness, and both require a trip to the doctor’s office for a prescription. Dexamethasone, a steroid, and acetazolamide, a diuretic or “water pill,” both have significant side effects.
During his experience with altitude sickness, Stack took acetazolamide, but he did not like the side effects, which included excessive urination and a “weird taste.” His altitude sickness sent him to a local emergency room where he had an extensive workup — a CT scan, X-rays and an evaluation by a heart doctor. After several days, his symptoms resolved, but the current study suggests that taking ibuprofen could have helped him avoid these problems in the first place.
However, more studies may be needed to convince some physicians that this inexpensive, easy-to-administer pill should change the way they advise mountain climbers.
“Based on just one study, I’d be hesitant to recommend the use of ibuprofen for those at risk of acute mountain sickness, but I admit if I were traveling to the mountains, I’d be sure to have a supply of ibuprofen in my carry-on bag,” said Dr. Richard O’Brien, an emergency physician at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, Pa.
If one thing is certain, it is that those who experience these symptoms should seek help — and quickly. Emergency physicians said acute mountain sickness, if not treated, could lead to breathing problems, brain swelling, and death. Descending to a lower altitude at the first sign of distress is crucial.
“Unfortunately, every year there are climbers who die of high altitude cerebral edema [brain swelling] who took medications and pushed ahead on their ascent, instead of recognizing and acknowledging their symptoms and descending while they still had the opportunity,” said Dr. Gabe Wilson, associate medical director at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital’s emergency department.
We highly recommend discussing any treatments or ailments you may have with your physician prior to traveling
March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
by Libby Zay
First popularized by President Theadore Roosevelt and worn by countless travelers ever since, the Panama hat has become a symbol of coastal and tropical locales. Nothing screams I’m on vacation somewhere warm! quite like the straw hat, which is known for being breathable and able to return to its original shape after being folded in a suitcase. But what is not as well known is that Panama hats don’t actually come from their namesake country. The hats actually originated in Ecuador, but were mistakenly called Panama hats because they were shipped through the Isthmus of Panama before making it to locations across the rest of the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Panama hats are still made throughout Ecuador, where Ecuadorians call the hats sombreros de paja toquilla (or “hats of toquilla straw”). Anyone selling the hats at markets or in shopping malls, however, is well aware that tourists often ask for them by the name “Panama hat.” Several towns are famous for the production of the hats, including the small town of Sigsig in the Andes Mountains near the colonial city of Cuenca. It is possible to take an hour-long bus ride from Cuenca to Sigsig to visit a Panama hat company owned and operated by indigenous Ecuadorians who work directly with wholesalers. There, you can see women with amazingly nimble fingers as they weave the hats. Remarkably, each hat takes a single weaver several days to make. While there, you can get a good deal on a hat of your own or purchase other items made out of straw — including bowls, boxes and coasters — from a small company store. There’s also a nice photo op in front of a giant Panama hat in the courtyard of the warehouse.
March 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Galapagos Diving aboard the Humboldt Explorer April 23 – 30 for $1000 off! Dive with hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, giant mantas and more at some of the best dive sites in the world including Wolf and Darwin.
The Humboldt Explorer is the first in a new generation of dive boats in Galapagos. Spacious and comfortable with modern decor and excellent amenities. All cabins can either have two twin beds or a large single bed depending on the traveler’s needs. There is a partially covered sundeck with Jacuzzi and ample seating areas, a salon including a lounge area, a spacious dive deck with a large camera table are just some of the features.
The special offer is valid for the cruise April 23 – 30 and is $1000 off the regular $3995 low season rate. Space is extremely limited.