Gold Safari, you find it, you keep it! An Ecuadorian Adventure.

Title Image: Gold, the stuff can send people crazy! Image: Author

Gold Fever, you would think it a hiatus only found in films and outlandish documentaries about the Gold Rush.

It is in fact a very real phenomenon. Even seasoned investors get overly excited at the idea of gold and seeing the stuff coming out of the ground and nesting in their palms. I have seen it! Truth be told, it is exciting. Gold is one of the most iconic, if not the most iconic substance on earth.

Ecuador is incredibly lush and abundant with fresh water.
Cascada Gallito de La Pea Pacto. Image: VirtualTourist

Density, scarcity and conductivity are the principal attributes of gold, other than its colour. The colour of gold varies depending upon the region in which it is mined. Here in Ecuador it is a lovely rich deep colour.

Ecuador is also rich in minerals. Rule: do not trust Ecuador’s mine shafts. Image: Author

As a guide, though by no means an absolutely hard and fast rule, gold occurs nearer the equator whilst silver is more prevalent as you move further away, hence Argentina (Argento is a Latin based word for silver). Rio Plata (Silver River) is the most famous river and Football Club in Buenos Aires.

My GM inspecting black sands through a loupe (magnifying glass). Image: Author

Back to Gold. Some time ago I started researching a tourism project I dreamed up: Gold Safaris. The idea is to go from Hacienda to Hacienda and visit gold bearing rivers during the day, amongst other activities. The countryside of Ecuador really is absolutely stunning. The soil, being fed by the Andes, is incredibly fertile to the extent that a sawn post will sprout and grow! Magic fences they are called.

Gold Country. Image: Author

Along the way, we demonstrate how the rivers collect gold and where to look. The incentive for the guests is that whatever gold they find, they keep. It is amazing how well people work when incentivised!

One of the difficulties with alluvial gold is that only about 50% of it is visible to the naked eye. It is found, ultimately at the bottom of your pan in what is referred to as black sands.

From above you get a better understanding of the erosion and hotspots. Image: Author

These photographs are from a lovely area close to Pacto in the mid-north of the country. On the way to Pacto you pass through a small township called Tulipe where there are ancient Incan ceremonial baths. Each bath in the network has its own purpose.


Incan baths in Tulipe. Image: Author

Bridge across to the Incan Baths site. Image: Author


Yumbo Petroglyphs, Fertility Symbols. Image: Virtual Tourist

Panning for gold takes you to some lovely country in Ecuador. Image: Author

All Rights Reserved. ©Edward Bryans 2017. No unauthorised reproduction of this post in whole or in part is permitted without the express written consent of the author


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