All the ingredients for a dream vacation
At the invitation of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism I recently travelled to
for a tour of this small country on the east coast of South America. I had already been there and again I noticed the enormous variety: from snowy volcanoes to tropical rainforest and from colonial cities to the extraordinary Galapagos Islands.
The journey starts in the capital Quito; it exudes the atmosphere of the province, not least by the still large presence of indígenas (Indians) from the highlands coming to the city. No big urban antics, but a beautifully restored colonial centre. Top hotel Casa Gangotena on the Plaza San Francisco is a colonial gem.
Mexican cuisine and in particular that of Indian Oaxaca is world famous and declared a UNESCO heritage site. Corn (in tortillas or atole) is still important (Indian) folk food and “the ear pong of life” throughout the country. For the exquisite maistruffels, huitlacoche every Mexican from rich to poor likes to make a detour!
With wonder I have been watching what is sold and prepared. The many types of chili peppers on the market and the convenience where small children also eat them. The most delicious oysters from the trunk of a car on a secluded harbour or the fried chilli locusts of the street hawker. Food is definitely an adventure in Mexico! Discover for yourself the local markets with Indian cuisine goddesses and learn more of the complex traditional cuisine in a warm and inviting atmosphere in Oaxaca. For example, learn to prepare a real Mole!
I stay in colonial Quito before flying to the immense Amazon forest to get acquainted with the tropical flora and fauna of this pristine area during a cruise. After immersing myself in unadulterated Indian culture just north of Quito, my journey to the Mashpi Cloud Forest continues to explore from the most beautiful lodge in the world.
Food and drink, it is part of every trip. More and more people are choosing specific destinations because of the restaurants and the local tastes. Culinary journeys where gastronomic highlights are strung together are in demand. I travel to Lima for the Mistura festival, the biggest food festival in South America and the valhalla of the goodies. And for the many top restaurants that the city is rich.
Colombia… for me the most surprising country of South America. Spectacular, versatile landscapes, different cultures and climates but above all the incredibly welcoming, friendly population and positive energy that the country radiates…. Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay!