Ecuador is a country of such diversity and variety that they say it has 4 worlds: the Galapagos, the Pacific Coast, the Andes, and the Amazon.
On my last adventure in this wonderful country, I had the opportunity to discover a new maritime route. Full of emotions and completely virgin. I have tasted the delicious Ecuadorian gastronomy,I have explored remote areas and I had the opportunity to learn about the native techniques of the local communities by the hand of gastronomic experts and artisans.
All this on board a sustainable boat with all the comforts and service full of attention.
Kontiki Expeditions is a new concept of navigation based on conscious travel and focused on immersive experiences in the most unknown corners of the Ecuadorian coast. Both on land and on water, it has been an expedition that has discovered another way of traveling. Endemic flora and fauna, sea giants, funny howler monkeys, ancestral traditions such as the elaboration of the best cocoa in the world and a gastronomy that has nothing to envy to that of Peru.
Kontiki Wayra is the result of the effort and vision of Carlos Nuñez and his wife Soledad Calderón, who took care of the interior design of the yacht with great attention to detail, always taking into account sustainability and the use of local products.
His enthusiasm to make Ecuador known led him to build this luxury expedition yacht, with only 9 double cabins for 18 passengers with comfortable, comfortable areas for resting, reading or enjoying the sailing, spa and a restaurant where haute cuisine is very present.
The crew on board are professional and always attentive to the needs of the passengers.
But if there is something that I have to highlight and that makes the difference with respect to other boats, it is the great variety of water toys that Kontiki Wayra has. Among them, a swimming pool in the middle of the ocean and a paddle surf ride are the most relaxing activities, and for thrill-seekers like me, you can launch yourself down the giant slide that catapults you over the ocean waters, feeling the force of gravity, or dive with the Seabob, exploring the seabed.
One of the most curious experiences is to learn about the whole process of creating chocolate. And without knowing it, we were with Serbian who grows the most expensive cacao in the world. The National cacao, a variety that was thought to be extinct. Some trees were found in the undergrowth of the jungle and DNA tests determined that it was Cacao Nacional. Only 2% of the world's cacao is this pure.
With a masterclass we discover all the different types of cacao grown in Ecuador, the most remarkable being Criollo, Forastero and Trinatario.
They wished to make chocolate but in the middle of the Silver Stone Valley they had no equipment, so they started their process by hand. The explosive aroma and penetrating taste with a unique texture gave birth to Toa'k, the most expensive chocolate in the world. A unique chocolate, born from tradition and the purity of the earth.
Our first destination, Isla de la Plata, is a small island that could well be called "the little Galapagos". It is surrounded by rocky cliffs and wild bushes. Where the main attraction that attracts visitors from around the world is to observe closely some of the populations of seabirds on the Ecuadorian coast. Like the blue-footed boobies, a paradise for these beautiful birds, which find the island one of their favorite places to lay and breed on the coast of Ecuador.
Back on the yacht, the crew of the Kontiki Wayra had prepared a very refreshing surprise for us!
Where the sea and the countryside meet there is San Vicente and behind the hill we find the restaurant Iche, based on traditional Manabita cuisine. The restaurant Iche is a laboratory school where Valentina develops part of her culinary project, training young chefs and giving a more innovative air to the Manabita cuisine that is already beginning to be very well known.
Did you know that toquilla straw hats are from Ecuador? Its history dates back to the XVI century when they were already used by the indigenous people in the same place where we are.
We ordered a toquilla straw hat from a family of farmers that is transmitted from parents to children. A marvel to observe the traditional techniques.
A real privilege to live the baptism of this majestic boat with all the authorities of the country. Undoubtedly an enriching experience for the treatment, the generosity, and the warm welcome. I improvise a small speech of sincere and honest gratitude.
We arrived in Quito and stayed in a 17th-century house owned by Marcel Perkins. ILLA Experience Hotel shares a journey through time, family traditions, community stories, love, and unity.
The secret to remember is caring.