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Intag Discovery Tour

Intag Cloud Forest is one reason why Ecuador was named by National Geographic Magazine as one of the top ten adventure destinations in 2007.

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Waterfalls in the Intag Cloud Forest.

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White water rafting in Intag.

We get raves about the Ecuador tours lead by Jean Marie and Bonnie Keough almost every day.

One delegate wrote: Bonnie, I wanted to thank you so much for the tour! Paul and I had such an awesome time. It was so worth it. From having someone pick us up at the airport to the beautiful charming hotel. We met so many fun and interesting people. I loved Ecuador and the wonderful places that we visited. You were wonderful! I really believe if you are going to visit Ecuador this is the way to do it. I also got all of my Christmas shopping done at less than half of what I spent last year! I will be back! Cheers to you!

Now there is a new tour...  The Cloud Forest Discovery Tour – Intag.

Here is an article from Bonnie to tell you more about Intag.

The Intag – An Introduction

By Bonnie Keough

Few know it and even fewer go there, but just 30 miles away from temperate, warm Cotacachi lies the hidden, little known tropical valley of the Intag. It is almost a hidden valley, because though close, Intag is a bone-jarring two and a half hour ride by car. Intag is not easily accessed but those who make the effort and sample its delights return again and again.

Yet a wonderful opportunity is lost by not following the dirt track that continues on from Cuicocha. Follow it and you pass haciendas for sale with wonderful panoramic vistas, a couple of remote but spectacularly located guest houses, (one is for sale), until after 5 miles, and a further 500 feet of altitude, there is a pass over a ridge of the western cordillera of the Andes. There the unpaved highway passes the occasional house, some with straw roofs, and starts down the Andes western slope.

As the road descends, the vegetation thickens. The few trees dotting the barren landscape either side of the pass turn into cloud forest. Lush vegetation sprouts everywhere, nourished by the moisture laden clouds that cling to these hillsides.

The road follows torturous curves with sharp drops that create spectacular waterfalls.

Often there are delays created by land slides, occasional heavy rainfall and just the out and out ruggedness of the terrain. The engineers who maintain these parts are never short of work, the bulldozer is invaluable in pushing back the rocks and dirt that frequently slide into the roads.  The locals accept this as part of daily life during the rainy season. Unfortunately for us, it was the tail end of the rainy season, we unknowingly added more adventure to our trip than we planned.

Finally past the worst stretch, there were signs of civilization; little cabins stretched along the roadside, one-classroom schools, mothers and children walking alongside the roadside inevitably carrying something and here and there.  One can see the occasional burro used as a beast of burden or mode of transport.

However all this is about to change. A project to pave the road all the way into the Intag has been approved.  This creates potential for appreciating real estate value and easier visiting this beautiful forest.

The ladies in Ecuador are very skilled at using whatever inexpensive  materials they find locally to make useful items to sell.  In Cotacachi, they use leather scraps and fashion them into wonderful ponchos, shawls and scarves which are crocheted together.  In the Intag, they use threads made from a local plant, Agave, to make utilitian items like baskets, purses, hats, placemats and table mats, which are very unique and long lasting.  In contrast to this use of Agave, in other parts of the world it is used to make tequila.  This speaks volumes about the nature of Ecuadorians!

Making an item from Cabuya is a process that entails first making the fiber from the plant, then dying it with natural dyes,  it is a long process requiring patience and skill.

While driving through the Intag, it is a familiar sight to see Cabuya fiber spread in fields to dry before dying.

Here is a master…

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extracting the fibers from…

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the agave leaves.

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There are several people in the area who act as sales agents selling the fiber products from a woman’s collective in this area.  We met one of them, Maria, when we stopped by her house.

Naturally, I’m always on the lookout for local crafts.  I like to buy unique items and I also want to support the local artists.

Accompanied on this trip by my friend Jimmie, we found lots of things to buy at Maria’s little informal display. We paid for our purchases and Maria carefully noted which of her friends had made each item.  In the end we spent $50 and Maria overwhelmed us with her gratitude. Jimmie commented, “It’s almost secondary what you buy. You feel so good making a difference in their daily lives”.

Ecuador Thermal Pools in the Intag National Forest at Apuela and Nangulvi Offer Relaxation and Profit. Further in, you can see Apuela hemmed in by green cliffs.

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The valley floor has been carved by the rapid white waters of the Intag River that rushes headlong into the Pacific. Here is the Intag River.

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Apuela is a market town and also headquarters of the Intag Coffee Company which produces a delicious, organic, high pH coffee from Intag.

You can learn about buying wholesale or retail, with local woven packaging or without, raw or roasted for drinking or for profit!

The raw organic coffee beans for the coop come from small farms settled around Apuela and scattered throughout the Intag.  Here is an Intag farmer picking coffee.

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Apuela is the home of the Intag Coffee Company.

We serve only the delicious, organic coffee from Intag at our hotel Inn Land of the Sun (formerly Meson de las Flores). One of our readers who stayed at Meson tested Intag coffee for acidity and it scored a remarkable 6.7 on the ph scale!  Unbelievable!  Most coffee is very acidic…some register as low as 1.75!  No wonder people are in love with the coffee.

Intag Coffee Company is a cooperative located in a small cement and wood building  just off the main square.  You can smell the coffee roasting as you enter town.

Here is our trusted taxi driver, Isaak, looking at the huge bags of raw beans brought to the roasting house by the farmers of this cooperative.

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Though a small operation, Intag coffee sales are steadily growing and demand often exceeds supply. The cooperative’s aim is fair trade and they pay far higher prices to local farmers than the Ecuador norm. The coop grades the beans in the roasting and packing center. Then begins the roasting procedure.

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Here is the roaster machine and the beans.

In Intag one can buy wholesale or retail, with packaging or without. Raw, white beans are available to roast or roasted whole or ground coffee is sold. There is a selection of three roasts; expresso, medium or fine.

Though small,  Intag Coffee is a very efficient operation.  It exports to Spain and Japan.   Here´s a picture of  the Japanese Intag fair trade, organic coffee packaged and ready to go.

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I was surprised to learn that many of the restaurants and cafes throughout Ecuador serve Nescafe instant coffee.  Rest assured, that is not the case at Inn Land of the Sun!

Many folks travel to the Intag to visit the thermal pools at Nangulvi Villas, a cluster of cabins perched along side the Intag River.  There’s a restaurant serving inexpensive typical Ecuadorian meals.  The colorful gardens are full of tropical flowers that attract exotic birds.  Birding is another popular activity in the Intag and brightly colored butterflies are everywhere.  The very famous Cock of the Rock is easily seen in the Intag, considered rare elsewhere.

Here is Nangulvi Lodge.

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There are great hot pools here for a soak.  The complex has many pools each with a different temperature.   They are often used by Ecuadorians, Colombians and Spanish as well as the growing expat community.

Bonnie

Gary

Join “Ecuador Cloud Forest Discovery Adventure : Intag”  See details of the first Intag tour January 29-30 2011.

Tour Fee: $299 single $499 couple.  Everything included except Lodging and food.

Ecuador Tour Schedule 2010

Nov. 10-11        Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 13-14        Coastal Real Estate Tour

Nov. 16-17        Quito Real Estate

Nov. 19-21       Cuenca Real Estate Tour

December.

Dec.   3-5        Ecuador Shamanic Minga

Dec.   7-8        Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Dec.  10-11     Coastal Real Estate Tour

Dec. 13-14      Quito Real Estate Tour

Dec. 16-18       Cuenca Real Estate Tour

2011

Jan.   7-11     Ecuador Export Tour   ($499 or couple $749)

Jan. 13-14-15   Imbabura Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)

Jan. 17-18-19   Coastal Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749) Jan. 19-20

Jan. 21-22-23  Cuenca Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)

Jan.  25-26-27   Quito-Ambato Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)

Jan. 29-30    Intag Exploration of Life in a Cloud Forest  ($249 $299)
or  Mindo Exploration of Life in a Cloud Forest  ($249 $299)

Enroll here $299
For Two $499

Feb. 13-14-15   Cuenca Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)

Feb. 17-18-19   Quito Real Estate Tour  ($499 or couple $749)

Feb  21-22-23   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($549 or couple $799)

Feb. 25-26-27  Coastal Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

Enroll here.

Ecuador multi course adventures can help you save.

Normal course and tour fees are up to $499 or $749 for a couple.  Here are your savings.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

For just $100 more than the six pack attend up to 50 Ecuador tours FREE.

See more on Club Ecuador