Ecuador announces plans to build a coastal railroad

President Lenin Moreno announced Tuesday plans to build a coastal train system, connecting Guayaquil with Manta. Moreno made the announcement at a ceremony commemorating Guayaquil’s independence. “The project has two purposes,” the president said. “It will encourage tourism in the region and provide modern, reliable transportation for residents.” He added that the train will also have the objective of promoting art, culture and gastronomy and fishing and said it would help boost local festivals along the route. Among the towns and cities that will be served by the rail line are Daule, Nobol, Guayaquil , Posorja, Playas and Engabao in […]

Read More…

El Maiz Restaurante, a traditional delight

We were with a small group of newcomers to Cuenca and wanted to give them a taste of traditional food, so we all went to El Maiz, one of our favorites. El Maiz is in a bright yellow house on Calle Larga, right on the corner of Calle de Los Molinos, a short walk from Museo Pumapungo and with parking for a couple of cars in front.  It has ample indoor seating for couples and groups, plus a romantic covered patio outside.  We were there on a cool evening, so chose to sit inside.  The décor is very tastefully done, […]

Read More…

What’s behind the juicing fad

Author’s note: This is the first of three columns on vegetables and fruits. In the first column, I tackle the popular “juicing” fad. The second column reviews what you should know about buying produce and tips to avoid pesticide contamination. The third tackles the perennial question — what is the best way to consume produce — raw or cooked? Juicing: what you should know (and claims to ignore!) Juicing. It seems like an ideal way to lose weight and get healthy, right?  After all, you’ve seen that sexy babe with her fingers wrapped around a glistening glass of juice, a […]

Read More…

New hummingbird species spotted in Ecuador

The bird has been named Oreotrochilus cyanolaemus, or blue-throated hillstar, for its deep blue neck and is about 11cm (4in) long.Ecuador, which is rich in biodiversity, is home to 132 hummingbird species out of the more than 300 in the world. Ornithologists say there are only about 300 blue-throated hillstars and that the species is in danger of extinction. Francisco Sornoza is the ornithologist who led the team of researchers from Ecuador, Venezuela, Denmark and Sweden which made the discovery. He told Agence France Press news agency that he had a hunch it could be a hitherto unknown species as […]

Read More…

How potatoes from Ecuador and tomatoes from Mexico changed the world

It was a small round object sent around the planet, and it changed the course of human history. Call it “Spudnik.” It was a potato. On Columbus Day, the country commemorates the grand global changes — discoveries and destruction alike — that unfolded after Christopher Columbus linked the New World and the Old. But some scholars take a more granular view of what Columbus wrought. They look at the very seeds, seedlings and tubers that began crisscrossing the oceans in what they call the “Columbian Exchange.” The potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cassava and other plants native to the Americas did […]

Read More…

A pen pal of mine recently moved to Cuenca. This is his story.

“My parents did not prepare me to live in the United States.” He stated this as a matter of fact. “Instead, my parents instilled in us to place trustworthiness, honesty, and above all else, kindness, as the fundamental responsibility of mankind. And it was this very belief that led my sister and me into years of heartache and disappointment. My parents set their children adrift without the benefit of developing skin  like armadillos, or the propensity to question people’s motives at every turn. “I never understood why my homeland so embraced money as the greatest God,  and that, again and […]

Read More…

Hearts of Gold celebrates five-years

What started as a small group of friends trying to raise money so that Ecuadorian families they knew could send their children to school, has turned into a legal foundation that monitors $100,000 a year to support other non-profit organizations as well as to empower women to better their lives. And to recognize its accomplishments and growth, Hearts of Gold will celebrate its five-year anniversary from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the recently moved Vegetable Bar (The Castle), located on 3 de Noviembre, just steps east of the Broken Bridge. Everyone in Cuenca is invited. “We’ve […]

Read More…

Cuenca makes plans to replace diesel with electric buses in El Centro by 2022

The Cuenca transportation office has released a plan that would eliminate diesel-powered buses from the historic district within four years. The plan, prepared by Quito-based transportation consultants León and Godoy, would add a fleet of 30-passenger electric buses to the district, complimenting tram service. Cuenca’s tram system will provide all east-west service under the new plan to eliminate buses. Under the plan unveiled Monday, Daniel Cárdenas, city mobility services director said the tram would provide east-west service in the district while the electric buses would run north and south, connecting to train platforms. Electric buses would also provide services between […]

Read More…

Republica del Cacao, great airport coffee

Is that an oxymoron?  “Great airport coffee?”  No oxymorons at the Republica del Cacao stand at the airport in Cuenca. We discovered Republica del Cacao originally in 2013 in Quito, where they have a small coffee shop a few blocks away from our hotel.  There I had the best  latte I’d ever had, and we went out of our way to remember the name of the company.  We were pleased to discover that Republica del Cacao had a large coffee stand at the Cuenca airport.  They also have outlets in Peru, Columbia, and the U.S. They had been at the […]

Read More…

Should you take low-dose aspirin to prevent stroke or heart attack? New research says no

Four years ago “The Skeptical Cardiologist” wrote the (in his extremely humble and biased opinion) definitive post on aspirin and cardiovascular disease.  Entitled “Should I take aspirin to prevent stroke or heart attack,”  it pointed out that although Dr. Oz had recently told almost all middle-aged women to take a baby aspirin and fish oil, there was, in fact no evidence to support that practice. The publication of the ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial results in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine further strengthens the points I made in 2014. Between 2010 […]

Read More…

Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions