Bahia de Caraquez

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Bahía de Caráquez is a resort town in Ecuador and situated on a pointy peninsula by the Chone River and the Pacific Ocean. While during the weekends most people head off to Canoa for their partying, around Bahía you can find many activities such as bird-watching in the Isla Corazon, Paragliding near the Cliffs of Canoa, surfing, and many volunteer experiences also abound. About a 5 mile beach walk outside of Bahia de Caraquez is Punta Gorda Reserve where volunteers can work on the last bit of the Tropical Dry Forest while getting away from the gringo trail, busy bus lines, always on the go travel style. The Cabin Tortuguita “Small Turtle” is perched high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the west. In the reserve you can discover many old pottery laden fields from thousands of years ago, hike, maintain the trails, fish with the only subsistence fishing family for miles, try out some surfing on the board provided, and just relax on the hammocks with the cool breeze. (less...) (more...)

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  • Museum Museum
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  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Bahia de Caraquez

  • Museum (In the old Banco Central building). A great little museum . A number of interesting artifacts from indigenous societies are on display and have been well documented. A multi-lingual guide will accompany you at no additional cost. USD1.

Baha de Caraquez Beach

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About Bahia de Caraquez

Activities

  • Chirije Archaeological Site (15 km south of Bahia),  +593 99171935. 5. Chirije (chee-ree-hey) is the newest and most attractive ecological and archaeological park along the Ecuadorian coast. Completed in 1996, Chirije is surrounded by 238 hectares of Dry Tropical Forest and miles of unspoiled beaches. This valley was the home of many consecutive pre-Columbian settlements. Chirije is one of the many interesting archaeological sites of coastal Ecuador. The archaeologist Emilio Estrada discovered the site in the 1950s, and named a new culture called the Chirije Culture here. (Found in Arqueologia de Manabi Central, 1962). Chirije, an ancient seaport, was the site of the great settlement of the Bahia culture (500 BCE-500 CE). These seafaring merchants traded skillfully crafted ornaments or whole shells as far north as Mexico and as far south as Chile, for gold, copper and other precious items.

Chirije Onsite museum, is built over an excavation in a hill. Here you find 3 sources of archaeological pieces. The first being all the pieces found by the Archaeologists in scientific controlled excavations. The second, being the pieces found by the staff on site and on the surface of the ground, and the third being the pieces found by all the travelers combing the beach. There are still many mysteries of the ancient past to be found in Chirije.

Chirije pre-Columbian Port They were the most maritime of all cultures on the western coast of South America. They used Ecuadorian balsa wood and for thousands of years traded the mythical and sacred red thorny oyster, the Spondylus shell. The most demanded shell of all the Pacific was this bivalve that existed mostly in Ecuadorian waters. The sailors traded this shell in their routes from the territory of Ecuador all the way up to the lands that comprise Mexico in the north and Chile to the south, for gold, turquoise, lapis lazuli. The first contact of one of these sailing vessels was made when Francisco Pizarro's exploratory ships (Bartolomeo Ruiz was the captain) to the land of the gold, in 1526, and the design was drawn to the most perfect detail.

"This ship…seems to hold up to 30 tonnes, and the bottom is made of canes, as thick as posts. All tied up with rope made from something like hemp. And in the high parts, thinner canes, tied with this rope, where the people where in. All the items of trade were also on the higher part, because of it probably getting wet if it went on the bottom. There masts and antennas were made of very fine wood, and Sails as large as the ones we use on our ships."

Samano Account, 1526 (The first manuscripts of Accounts of the Conquest led by Francisco Pizarro)

Balsa wood vessel replica of first contact found in Bahia de Caraquez Museum.

Chirije is an ecolodge located on a secluded beach atop an ancient archaeological site. Bahía de Caráquez is the nearest town to the resort, located 15km north of the site. On the coast of Ecuador, Chirije lies just 90 km south of the equator. USD35.

Isla Corazon Tours

Isla Corazon (Heart Island) is a naturally heart-shaped mangrove island in the Chone River estuary. It is a nesting site for one of the Pacific's largest frigatebird colonies. During mating season, male frigatebirds inflate a red sac on their throats and make loud, clicking calls. Local fishermen expanded the island through their mangrove restoration efforts and have since begun to offer canoe-led tours of the mangrove ecosystem. The island is now recognized as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Heritage Site.

Tours are offered directly through the local fishermen or can be arranged through E Ceibos Tours, Bahia Dolphin Tours (in Bahia) or Guacamayo Tours, with offices in Bahia and Canoa. Tours depart from Puerto Portovelo, a small village on the north side of the Chone River. To arrive from Bahia de Caraquez, take a boat taxi across the estuary to San Vicente. Then, catch a bus or taxi on the "via Chone" (route to Chone). Puerto Portovelo is just 7 km up the road. Bus rates average about 30 cents.

Take a trip to Rio Muchacho Organic Farm. They offer 1-3 day tours with activities including horse treck to howler monkey forest and waterfall, making chocolate and coffee from the bean, making necklaces, bowls, and rings from natural materials, and lots more. They also offer volunteer programs for the farm and ecoschools. You can get more information on Rio Muchacho or other tours in Ecuador at their office in Bahia which also sells fair trade items.

Food

  • Arena Bar Pizzeria (On Avenue Bolivar near Hotel Italia). More than just pizza. The pizza is good, and is popular for take out. There are many other things on the menu. The shrimp in fresh sauce is fantastic at USD4.79. The fish in asparagus sauce is also excellent at about the same price. One may dine inside, or sit on the sidewalk and watch the passing people. The owner, Elizabeth, is very friendly and takes pride in the quality of the food.
  • D'Camaron (At the end of Ave Bolivar, where it intersects the Malacon at the tip of the peninsula). Delightful al fresco restaurant. As the name implies, there are many shrimp dishes on the menu, along with some fish and chicken as well. Most menu items are between USD3-4.
  • Restaurant Row (Adjacent to the ferry landing). There are four, almost identical, barbecue restaurants next to the ferry landing. Each features charcoal broiled beef or chicken and fried fish or shrimp. USD4-6.
  • El Rey del Burrito (Two streets from the bayside at the streets Daniel Hidalgo and Carlos Hurtado (corner)),  (05)2690736. Excellent Mexican food: burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, flautas, tacos, quesadillas and much more. The most popular dish is the "Rey de Burrito" which is quite big and very delicious. The owner, Maria Elena de Dueñas, looks forward for high quality food and is very friendly. Home delivery service. Meals between USD3-10.

Drinks

  • Saiananda, Av Sixto Duran Ballen km 6 (Five minute drive out of town). noon-18:00. Saiananda is a serene marina and resort just five minutes from Bahia. They have beautiful gardens with a large and diverse collection of birds including peacocks and parrots. They only serve a delicious three course vegetarian meal for USD12, but both the food and setting are wonderful. USD12.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Bahia de Caraquez on Wikivoyage.

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