Bahía de Caráquez (The Central Bank Museum) includes an important collection of Manta's Pre-Columbian craft. By the first millennium, South America’s vast rainforests, mountains, plains, and coasts were the home of tens of millions of people. Some groups formed permanent settlements. Among those groups were the Valdivia of Ecuador who were among the most important sedentary Amerindian groups in South America. They concentrated on the coast.
The museum includes a permanent exhibit room of the archeology of the seven cultures that inhabited the province of Manabi from 4.200 BC to 1.530 AC: Valdivia, Machalilla, Chorrera, Guangala, Bahía, Jama-Coaque and Manteño-Huancavilca
You may be particularly interested in the coca shamans of the Jama-Coaque culture that could extract the hallucinogenic effects of the coca leaves without chemical processes. They combined lime and ash to neutralize the harmful effects and extract the hallucinogenic juices. Another thing worth admiring of this same culture are the gigantic huts that are impressively similar to the Asian-Pacific pagodas. Tnere is also a mural that represents the long voyages of the natives on balsa boats.
Archeological findings have shown that the Ecuadorian natives were one of the oldest in the Americas, spanning from 3500 to 1800 BCE. The Valdivia lived in a community that built its houses in a circle or oval around a central plaza, and were sedentary people that lived off farming and fishing, though occasionally they went hunting for deer. From the remains that have been found, it has been determined that Valdivians cultivated maize, kidney beans, squash, cassava, hot peppers, and cotton plants, the last of which was used to make clothing. Valdivian pottery initially was rough and practical, but it became showy, delicate, and big over time. They generally used red and gray colors; and the polished dark red pottery is characteristic of the Valdivia period. In their ceramics and stone works, the Valdivia culture shows a progression from the most simple to much more complicated works.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9h00 to 17h00. Entrance is $2.00 which should include a tour in English, but we did not know about this and so only saw a film in Spanish.
Off the beaten path, the beach of San Lorenzo is a nice getaway. Check out the cafe/inn (Cabanas) on the beach and ask about the rain forest tours nearby. Depending on the time of the year, you can do whale watching as well.
We had great time with the Buchelis and we lerarned a more than basic spanish thanks to the lovely teachers of this school... A good address to learn this language next to the ocean...
On s'est beaucoup amuses en compagnie des Bucheli, directeurs de l'ecole, et on a appris un espagnol plus que correct grace a des profs bien sympas... Une bonne adresse pour apprendre cette langue pas loin de l'ocean...