Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.”
– Ansel Adams
Funny how life comes full circle
In northern Ecuador, we had the option of having an overnight community stay in either Moran or Morochos…or neither, if that sort of thing wasn’t our cup of tea.
Lynne and I chose Moran, a small community of 11 families dedicated mostly to livestock and subsistence agriculture, as well as a few nature tourism activities. Moran used to be a destination for trekking tourism but this stopped a few years ago. Due to the remote location and tiny population, there’s a lack of government support even though the stunning natural landscape makes it a special and unique place.
With the support of the Altropico Foundation and other organizations, the community is working to bring tourism back as a sustainable activity to help with income generation in nature protected areas.
When Lynne first told me about Moran (and that our tour even had community stay opportunities), my ears perked up. Way back when (1992), after getting my BA in General Studies with a focus on Leisure & Tourism, I was accepted to Queen’s University to get my Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning. I was interested in tourism planning – working with local communities to develop socially and environmentally sustainable tourism.
That’s what the plan had been (at that point, I was still putting off my writing dream).
In the end, I decided not to get my Master’s. Instead, I chose love 🙂 and moved to British Columbia with my boyfriend, John (and had far more fun than actually getting any writing done). The rest, as they say, is history.
When Lynne and I (and about a third of the tour group) first arrived in Moran, the beauty and serenity of the landscape was striking:
Perhaps even a little magical. Moran is where the Sadie look-alike wandered out of the forest to say hello. This happened less than a week after Sadie’s death and, for some reason, seeing this dog helped my heart heal. I just got the sense (yet again) that everything is connected and weird little coincidences like this could be a sign of sorts that I am right where I need to be…and all is unfolding as it should.
After this, we went on a hilly hike to a gorgeous waterfall, with many laughs (and selfies) along the way:
Love this shot of the group wandering back from the hike through the mist:
This is the home some of us stayed in (and where other travelers will stay):
Adorable kids (who were rather fascinated with us):
We spent a morning helping fill potholes in the road:
If you are heading to Ecuador and are interested in having a unique cultural experience within the tranquil setting of this delightful community, please contact the Altropico Foundation.
Although I certainly couldn’t offer the community much in the way of sage advice in terms of tourism planning (not that they need it…with Carlos at the helm and Altropico involved, I have no doubt Moran will achieve it’s sustainability goals), what I can do is write a travel blog about this lovely community. Full circle indeed 🙂
About Experience International Study Tours
Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track. Please click here for details.
Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.
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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.