• A Pretty Nice Walk at Ceibo Valley Golf Club

    As you know, I'm a golfer... 

    Witnessing the construction of Ceibo Valley Golf Club is an absolute delight for me and being part of the design committee is a real privilege.

    On Thursday, I went to walk around the 14th, 15th and 16th holes to see the latest developments on the construction side and I wanted to share some pictures here with you.  Unfortunately, the pictures don't render the reality perfectly... and once it will be all green, the contrast with the ocean will make it even more spectacular.

    This is the front right of the 15th green.  That green is just HUUUGE... 55 yards deep!

    This is the left side of the green. The wood you see at the bottom will be used to built an old-looking wall with fescue grasses growing between it. You will probably prefer to avoid missing there!

    The rough planted at the back of the green is picking up very well. If you hit over green, you will have to it from the beach!

    That's the view from the 14th green, a par-5.  Not bad either... ;)

    And this is from the back of the 16th green complex.  Pretty nice view...

    I just love the contrast between that blue sky and the green of the valley... That's the view homeowners at the back of Vista al Mar community will have over the 16th green complex.  And they turn right, they have to above view.  Pretty spectacular don't you think?

  • Win Ecuador Crafts and Food Products

    Ecuador is much more than bananas...

    Since we are are here, we are amazed by all the things we are discovering.  I when I say discovering, I mean it, because a lot of amazing local products are very tough to find locally as they are either too expensive or not popular amongst locals.

    Chocolate is the perfect example.  60% of the world's best cacao is grown in Ecuador, and some say there's even better cacao available, but it's so rare that it can't be exported.  You can find absolutely amazing pure chocolate, but it's unfortunately not available at every supermarket... 

    Same thing with coffee, same thing with many other products.

    Las Olas Ecuador is doing a contest and will be showcasing many of the finest Ecuadorian products. Make sure to connect to Las Olas Facebook page and participate using the link below.  And the more you share, the more chances you have to win! ;)

  • Ceibo Valley Golf in Construction, First Drive on 10th Hole

    There are some special moments in life and I experienced one (another one) last week when I was fortunate enough to hit the first drive out of the 10th hole at Ceibo Valley golf club at Las Olas Ecuador, while the course is still in construction.

    The 10th hole at Ceibo Valley will be one of the most spectacular holes on the course and we were all eager to test the back tee locations who are spread out on a hill at the entrance of the Las Olas Private Nature Reserve.  Two tee locations were cleared, but only one had a flat platform to hit from.  We went (climbed) there to test where the balls would land, which players should play from that location? (carry, distance, etc.), are the houses will be far enough?, should we put a bunker here or there?, etc.

    From the tee block, the hole is very intimidating. The carry from that location is about 200 yards.  You can see the ocean on your left, but the hole is located in a secluded valley and the green sits at the bottom of the cliff.  You are playing from well up above the fairway, a creek runs all along the rigth side of it, and a slope on the left side will make any approach played from there much longer and tougher because of the stance (I forgot to mention there will be a pond located on the right side of the green, plus a bunker and a big slope in front of it...).

    A good drive will leave you no more than a 7 iron into the green, located next to a majestic Ceibo tree.

    It's truly a spectacular hole and I hope I will be able to hit the exact same drive when it will be all green and open for play! ;)

  • Longer Days at the Equator

    It might sounds stupid, but yes, there are longer days at the Equator.  Living between the tropics can sometimes be difficult especially when you are used that summer = long days.

    Sunny until 9pm or even more (in Europe, you still have light until +10pm during summer), you get accustomed by the fact that it's dark at 7pm, sometimes earlier.  Since December 21st (shortest day at Equator along with June 21st), each day is a little longer and the trend will continue until the peak is reached on March 21st.

    I just came out of the office at 6:30pm and witness this amazing light over San Vincente, just opposite to Bahia...

    Now, just imagine how it is in my back, on the other side of the city where you see the sunset in the Pacific Ocean!  I can't wait to witness that from our terrace at Las Olas... As long as I leave the office before it's dark! ;)

  • The Hidden Treasure of Las Olas Ecuador

    When people look at Las Olas, they are usually attracted by the amazing beach and coastline, the daily sunset over the Pacific Ocean, the spectacular golf course and all the other amenities. Normal.

    But there's a hidden treasure with which I'm more and more falling in love; the 650-acre private nature reserve! This morning, it was the third time I was going in the nature reserve, and with the rain we recently received over the last week, the trees are starting to turn green.  Each time I went, I turned my GPS tracking on, so I can help mapping the trails and help building new ones.

    There's currently a trail that starts from the top of the Vista Turqueza community heading to the back of the property.  Have a look at the below image.  Isn't nice?

    Of course, these trails are a work in progress, but do you know a lot of real estate developers that will build trails on a property where no one lives yet?  At Las Olas Ecuador, yes!  For me, that really shows the dedication of the promoters to make it the perfect place to live.

    A second trail starts at the top of the Los Cielos community, located on the other side of the Las Olas nature reserve, and also head at the back of the property.  Next step is to join them together.  Once done, this trail that goes along the ridge of the nature reserve will measure over 7,5km.  If you want to do a loop, you will be able to do it by going down the Los Cielos main road, go down near the clubhouse, pass between golf holes 11 and 12, walk along the 13th hole, the whole Aldea Ecologica community, the equestrian center and the horse pastures, until you reach the back of the Vista al Mar community where you will be able to climb up the hill to go back to Vista Turqueza.  That whole loop will be over 11km in distance!

    Look at some of the views... There a lot of great places for picnic spots!

    This morning, I was walking a path down at the bottom of the nature reserve where we currently bring our horses for training. Suddenly, I just realized how great these trails are and what an amazing asset the trail system will be for Las Olas Ecuador's owners.  Up on the ridge, or down in the ravine, the landscape is just phenomenal.

    I really look forward to using the trails for walking, hiking, running and biking (no, you won't see me on a horse!).  In total, I wouldn't surprise if the whole nature reserve trails reach over 15 or even 20km in total.  Add this to 20km of unspoiled beaches and you have an amazing exclusive playground.

    People are all amazed by the golf, the equestrian center, the beach club, the spa, the tennis club and so on... but this private nature reserve is truly Las Olas' hidden treasure! (including these giant Ceibo trees...)

  • Sundowner at Las Olas Ecuador Beach

    I have to admit that I'm not really proud of me... 

    Nearly one month without a post, that's far from being brilliant!  To my defence, the whole family has been pretty busy coming in the holiday seasons.  The kids finishing the school year, and the parents trying to delete items on the to-do list at work.

    This afternoon, employees and homeowners at Las Olas will gather together at the property to celebrate Christmas and the end of the year (visit Las Olas Ecuador Facebook page to see pictures).  Here, we have been waiting and preparing for an El Nino that doesn't seem to arrive.  Big sun outside as I write...  We would like to have at least a little bit of water, so we can start planting wild grasses on the mounds and rough areas of the Ceibo Valley Golf Club (which by the way is just more and more spectacular!).  I had the opportunity to discuss with Jerry Pierman during is latest visit, and it's really fun to hear all the stories he has after building golf courses for Jack Nicklaus, Fazio, Hills and other big names.

    It seems obvious for me that the construction at Las Olas will begin in January 2016.  That means if you want to benefit from the actual pre-construction sale at Las Olas Ecuador, it's now or never!  

    Just sharing with you this video we took on the beach at Las Olas two weeks ago.  We finally found some good and affordable bubbles to enjoy for sundowners (Santa Carolina Brut from Chile, $13 at Mi Comisiriato).  Fortunately, some bottles are much easier to open than this one (I cut a previous one minute video where I was struggling more with it. Funny!).

    For the Holidays, we will be going to Cuenca and spend some time with other Las Olas owners.  We are really looking forward to it and enjoy quality time with our kids.  Cuenca seems to be a wonderful city, but looking at the weather forecasts, IT'S COLD!!!  After spending 8 years under the tropics, we are not used to temperate around 10C.  I guess we will all come back with a cold... Merry Christmas! ;)

    **Looks like Virb doesn't like my video... Sorry, I'll just post a screenshot of it!...**

    ***F... even the screenshot doesn't work! Too bad, I have to leave!***

  • The Chance Of Playing an Ecuador Golf Course in Construction

    Am I lucky?  Am I blessed?  Probably both... and maybe more!

    Having the opportunity to participate in the design and the construction of an oceanfront golf course in Ecuador is simply an amazing experience.  The more shots I hit at Ceibo Valley Golf Club, the more I'm amazed by the beauty of the site and the concept behind the design of the course.

    To test Ceibo Valley 8 sets of tee markers, we are bringing different players on the course, having different levels of play and different driving distances.  The goal is to make sure that whatever their level of play, every player is hitting the same club into every green.  And it works!!  It's weird because it sometimes mean a professional golfer will hit his second shot before a junior or beginner golfer will hit his drive.  So what.  Now everybody can make birdies! ;)

    So how do we make birdies when the course doesn't have grass yet?  Well, have a look at the video above!  That's how you make a birdie (by the way, I played the 14th twice up to now, and birdied it twice... I hope this will continue when Ceibo Valley in Ecuador opens for real!)

    Usually, golf courses built in golf communities are some sort of boring.  But Las Olas Ecuador is a different oceanfront community.  The amenities and green spaces are taking so much space in the master plan design that you don't feel you are "caught" in a real estate community.  You just feel in the middle of nature all the time.

    I made that remark last week to a new Las Olas owner while we were teeing up on the first hole (which he birdied by the way!).  The golf hole and the surrounding nature were the only things we were seeing.  Left, right, back and in front of us; a golf hole, a ravine, trees and mountain on both sides.  You won't see any house, any building, any car or truck... you won't even see another golf hole!  This oceanfront real estate property and this golf course in Ecuador are absolutely spectacular!

  • Get Together at Las Olas Beach

    The last things we expected when we arrived in Bahia de Caraquez, was to meet people from our own place, the province of Quebec in Canada.  After a one or two weeks in town, our daughter arrived home saying "I met other people from Quebec on the street, a family of six!" and she gave me their phone number.  They were planning to stay in Bahia for around 6 months as they were in a sabbatical year visiting the country.  We had in plan to call them later during the week, but I ended up losing their phone number (a server might get it, sticked to a $20 bill).

    I told myself: "a family of six... we will bump into them later for sure".  And that's exactly what happened, just before we moved in our new place.

    Since then, we saw them a few times and it's really cool to speak French! ;)

    They have a really cool blog where all the family participates.  Have a look at it here (sorry, it's in French!)

    Last week, we went to the Las Olas Ecuador beach at low tide and spend the afternoon there with them, picnicking, playing on the beach, and having fun in the

    waves.  It was on a Sunday afternoon.  It was so quiet that we only saw one other person who drove by us during the 3-4 hours we spend there!  Quiet and peaceful?  You bet!!

    Here are a few pictures to make you dream a little...

    I found plenty of living Sand Dollar on the beach.  Here's one.  I have some footage to do a video, but that will be for later.

    Even Zara was running around, playing in the waves and having a lot of fun!