It has been truly amazing to watch all the changes that have taken place in Ecuador since Tom and I first set foot here in 2005 to visit the Galapagos. We returned the following year for a water quality sampling expedition in the highlands which ended with a very spontaneous decision to purchase what would later become our home in Crucita.
Most notably, the changes we have witnessed here have involved major infrastructural improvements such as roads and bridges. For example, the highway connecting Crucita to the major city of Portoviejo was a dusty two-land washboard road, full of enormous potholes and a nightmare to drive at night. Today, it is a smooth (relatively speaking) four-lane highway with a median containing large street lamps.
The bridge connecting Bahia to San Vicente was another enormous project that has vastly improved access to growing towns such as Canoa. We remember the days when we would cross the bay by passenger ferry for 10 cents (which is still an option for crossing if you don’t have a vehicle–you can catch a taxi or mototaxi to your final destination on the other side).
Sometimes, if traveling with friends with a vehicle (this was before we could even dream of being able to afford our own vehicle!) we would have to wait, sometimes for a couple of hours, to get on the car ferry that transported vehicles to one side of the bay to the other.
Actually, we have rather fond memories from those days since we would use the wait time to hang out with friends, shop for tagua jewelry, and try exotic foods served by street vendors on the San Vicente side (avoid the grilled cow udder, by the way).
More large projects along the coast are in the works and are slated to begin sometime in the next year, including a marina on the far southern end of Crucita that will undoubtedly result in elevated tourism to the area (as well as real estate prices).
There are also plans (which are still very much under discussion as to the actual routes involved) for the creation of a major highway connect Bahia to Manta in less than 50 minutes, allowing faster access to Manta’s airport, which *one day* will receive direct international passenger flights. The new coastal highway will also include a much-needed bridge between Crucita and San Jacinto/San Clemente (get oriented to this region with our Maps page).
So the times, they are certainly a-changing.
And then the other day, my brother sends me a link to a CNET news article entitled, “Plotting the Next Silicon Valley–You’ll Never Guess Where.”
This news story, dated March 26, 2013, is part 1 of a four-part series about the creation of “Yachay, a planned ‘City of Knowledge’ that the Correa administration hopes will one day compete and collaborate with Silicon Valley, South Korea, Japan, and the other great innovation centers of the world.” It is a controversial project with many critics and naysayers but the simple fact that it is actually in progress is amazing.
Here are links to all four parts of this story:
We have enjoyed watching Ecuador’s projects come into fruition, especially those thought never to be possible. Who knows where this latter project will end up but it will be fascinating to watch how it unfolds over the coming years. The undoubted question is that Ecuador is determined to keeping progressing.