Carchi Province - Ecuador

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Carchi Province - Ecuador

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Carchi Province

The golden gate of the Country, the positivism of its landscape and the richness of its land are the main attractions. The Hot Springs and the Moors of the Chiles Volcano are the must-see adventure stops, there is no need to worry about the cold because the hospitality of the people makes the visitor feel at home

Carchi is an Ecuadorian province located north of Ecuador on the border with Colombia. Its capital is the city of Tulcán. It is part of the region. The province took on behalf of the Carchi River and etymologically. Other tourist spots are the El Ángel Reserve, the Kingdom of the frailejón that is the emblem of the province, San Gabriel, a World Heritage town embellished by centuries-old houses and impressive waterfalls, the Grotto of La Paz and countless worthy sites visit. In Carchi, it is common to find decorative articles carved in wood, sacks of sheep's wool, blankets in hand looms, baskets and containers woven by hand in natural fiber by indigenous people of the Awa community.

Climate Province of Carchi

The province has several climatic floors, since its territory is from 1,000 meters above sea level, with temperatures up to 27 ° C in the subtropical border with the province of Esmeraldas, to the perpetual snows of the top of the Chiles volcano at a height of 4,723 masl and with temperatures below 0 ° C.

Flora Province of Carchi

You can see species such as: Chilcas, guarumos, chuquiraguas, tree ferns, frailejones, straw, pumamaqui, moss, bromeliads, pads and a variety of orchids.

Fauna Province of Carchi

Hummingbirds, Andean gulls, paramo ducks, curiquingues, chilicos, condors, cervicabras, deer, moor wolves, marsupial toads, trout, prewl, butterflies of multiple colors and in the subtropical areas: guanta, bear and snake.

Topography Province of Carchi

It is crossed by the Andes mountain range, which is why this region is predominantly mountainous. The highest height of the province is in the Volcano of Chiles (4,747 m). The Páramo de El Ángel stands out in the center of the province, from which the main rivers of the province arise. The relief is shown in the form of highlands or highlands and a large depression with two holes, which form a wide valley in the southeast of the province and continues through Colombian lands. This depression appears as the main area of ​​urban settlement and communication channeling. There is its capital, Tulcán, and other minor towns such as San Gabriel, El Ángel or Ciudad Colón, and through it runs the Pan American Highway.

Hydrology Province of Carchi

The rivers of the province are divided into two clearly marked basins: that of the Carchi River to the northeast and that of the Chota or Mira River to the south and southwest, the latter being larger and wider than that of the Carchi. The highlands are cut by river courses: San Juan River (north) and Mira River (south); by the east, the great massif that culminates in the hill Pelado (4149 m), rises on the hole of the river Chota. The holes of the Chota River in the south, with its tributaries of the Angel and Apaqui River and of the Bobo River in the north, are closed in the east with a mountain range whose climax is the Mirador hill (4086 m).

Economic development Carchi Province

The economy is based mainly on trade; Due to its border situation with Colombia, this province is the third to generate income from imports and exports for the country, after Guayas and Pichincha. Dairy industries occupy another important place in the economy, as they not only distribute their production locally but regionally. Agriculture went to the background, because the excess production of potatoes generates large losses in the tuber producers; However, other products such as peas, corn, beans, carrots, among others that help the economy of small and medium farmers are grown.

In Tulcán, 600 stores were opened in mid-2007 to market everything. Agriculture is limited to the highlands: corn, oats, barley, wheat. In the lower, warm and sheltered areas, coffee, sugar cane and a large fruit variety are grown. Agriculture is accompanied by a cattle and sheep farming. On these bases there are some agri-food and textile industries. Within this province, wood crafts are made, to be more specific within the San Gabriel canton. Within the livestock areas, the cantons of San Gabriel and El Ángel stand out.

Tourist Attractions in the Province of Carchi

La Encañada Lagoon in the Province of Carchi

As the name implies, the dam is located in a hollow that is known as encañada. It is surrounded by hills, pine forests, eucalyptus, crops and grassland. This artificial dike, which at one time was a natural formation, provides visitors with a space for recreation and recreation. Source: Tourist Attraction Inventory Sheets of the Ministry of Tourism.

Ecological Reserve of El Ángel in the Province of Carchi

It is an area declared a National Ecological Conservation Reserve since 1986. Located 20 km southwest of the city of Tulcán with an area of ​​16,000 ha, it has the characteristic flora of the Andean moorland as well as animal species among which the condor stands out from Los Andes that it is sometimes possible to see it crossing the skies. There are elevations that exceed 3,500 meters above sea level, such as Pelado hill, Cerro Negro, Mirador, Chinchinal and Chiltazón, the latter recently explored and in which there are important archaeological remains. There are also several lagoons and there are born the main sources of water that supply the main towns of the province of Carchi.

In the south western buffer zone of the Reserve is located the Polylepis forest which is classified as a hierarchical-primary-millenary, located at 3300 m altitude. Here there is a lodge, which has a trout farm and specialized native guides that guide and accompany tourists.

The Chiles Volcano in the Province of Carchi

Young volcano and still considered active, with a height of 4,723 meters above sea level constitutes the highest peak in the province of Carchi and is considered as a natural landmark of the Colombian-Ecuadorian border because of its perpetual snows the San Juan River to the West and the Carchi are born to the East, rivers that demarcate the political boundaries between these two countries. From Tulcán you can access Tufiño, a small town located on the flanks of the volcano, through an asphalted road of about 18 km, from there continue about 7 km on a weighted road that leads to a shelter, from where the expeditions of climbers who go In search of the top. On a clear day it is easy to see from its summit other surrounding volcanoes such is the case of El Cumbal located a few kilometers north, already in Colombia and considered elder brother of El Chiles, likewise the summits of Cotacachi, Imbabura are easily visible , Cayambe, Pichincha and Antisana. In the surroundings of Tufiño, as well as on the slopes of the volcano, you can see the pajonal, the pink Urco, the frailejones and other plant and animal species typical of the moor

Tufiño Baths in the Province of Carchi

To develop health tourism, taking advantage of the thermal or sulphurous waters produced by the Chiles volcano, on the western flanks of the volcano 5 km from Tufiño, a spa known as “The Smelly Waters” name has been installed, the name coming from the smell emanating from the waters sulphurous; its pools have temperatures ranging from 59 ° C (at the source's exit) to 40 ° C (temperature of the water removed). Inside the spa there are facilities for the tourist and a self-guided path has been built around it in which nature lovers can take walks and observe nature.

Green lagoons in the Province of Carchi

The Lagunas Verdes complex is located 3 km south-west of the cone of the Chiles volcano, a lake complex composed of 7 turquoise blue mirrors due to the presence of sulfur, the result of the union of internal springs and springs that arise from Mother Earth at 3900 meters above sea level; The largest of them is called "Styx" and is also known as "Goddess." In these natural reservoirs you can practice sport fishing for trout, fish that abounds in these waters and in the early hours of the morning you can see small flocks of wild ducks.

Grotto of La Paz in the Province of Carchi

10 km south of San Gabriel on the Pan-American Highway, you arrive at the town of La Paz, from there taking a turnoff to the west which travels a narrow road of 4 km on the edge of notable precipices of up to 300 meters of vertical fall, At the bottom of which we find the Apaquí river zigzagging, which in its millenary drill to the mountain managed to cross it forming an impressive cave, inside which a Sanctuary has been installed in honor of the Virgin of La Paz, spiritual patron of the Carchenses , so it is very visited by tourists from the town or from the south of Colombia who come in great pilgrimages for July 9, the day of their festival.

This place has been declared a National Shrine in 1975 and in its vicinity we find several plates of thanks from the faithful who have received miracles from the virgin, as well as crutches or wheelchairs from those who healed their ailments with faith in this Marian invocation. The sculpture of the virgin was carved by the sculptor from Daniel Daniel Reyes in 1916, who was inspired by Notre Dame de Paris as a prayer for the ceasefire in World War I.

In the cave we find stalactites and stalagmites, which have been formed by high limestone concentration and water filtration. It is also easy to observe bats that seem to fly at the deafening rhythm of the river.

Above the cave there is a convent of the Poor Clare sisters, closing religious. Here they have a place of tourist information, which also allows the sisters to help themselves financially through the sale of religious souvenirs and tourist souvenirs. Next to the monastery we find a small but hotel, a restaurant, typical food stalls, parking and sanitary batteries available to visitors, in addition, very close to the cave and along the river there is a source of thermal water, which has been used to feed a pool for recreation and fun of travelers.

The Awà people in the Province of Carchi

Located northwest, 145 km from Tulcán. To get to this site, adventure lovers must embark on a day hike in the middle of the subtropical jungle. Its territory is shared by the provinces of Carchi and Esmeraldas and has an area of ​​101,000 ha of warm humid climate and an average temperature of 24 ° C, is inhabited by the Awá community, aborigines who still maintain their cultural traditions.

Northwestern Valleys in the Province of Carchi

Descending to the west of Chiles, next to the course of the San Juan River, the horizon gradually begins to expand, the moors are disappearing and giving way to new evergreen vegetation that is seen from a meandering path, which goes to each bend giving rise to improvised viewpoints that present us with a little known facet of this province: the subtropic.

After greeting the small farmhouses of small farmers and three hours from Tulcán, Maldonado is the oldest town, located next to the river and enjoying a spring weather; in its surroundings, parks and in the courtyards of the houses it is common to find orange, banana, guava and other products of warm earth; An hour's walk to the coast we find Chical hidden among mountains and tropical vegetation. In the fast and mighty rivers you can go rafting.

Guanderas Private Biological Reserve in the Province of Carchi

Biological conservation zone of about 1000 ha, 60% corresponds to wasteland and 40% to primary forest. The guandera tree (clusia-flaviflora) has its development in this biological station and reaches a height of up to 30 m. This reserve is owned by the Jatún Sacha Foundation and is located in the western eyebrow of the central Andes mountain range about 35 km south of the city of Tulcán. Its main access is via the Pan-American highway and then a second-order path is taken that takes us to the humid montane forests that house 140 endemic bird species and others that have been discovered on the site such as the colored toucan, as well as other animal species such as the spectacled bear, an endangered species. Botanical gardens and greenhouses have been installed around the station.

Dozens of foreign tourists come to this reserve, who are brought by the Foundation to remain there for 15 days to 2 months, during which time they carry out community work and agricultural work.

Arrayanes Forest in the Province of Carchi

Located 4 km west of San Gabriel. It is an ancient forest that was predominant in the province but due to the indiscriminate felling of peasants who turned their wood into coal, this forest has seen its extension reduced to only 10 ha and is unique in Ecuador and together with another located in Argentina , Unique in the world. The tourist will travel inside through a self-guided path below thick fronds that filter the sun's rays very effectively, but when you reach the center of the forest you will find an almost circular open field known as “The Cathedral”, so named because in the antiquity, the Pastures, aboriginals of this region celebrated ceremonies and rituals in honor of their deity the Sun.

The Laguna del Salado in the Province of Carchi

The Laguna del Salado is the name given to an artificial reservoir built almost 100 years ago and located 3 km west of the town of San Gabriel (Cantón Montúfar) and near the Arrayanes forest. With an extension of 500 meters long and 200 wide, this reservoir was created to irrigate the last large estate of the province of Carchi, the Hacienda de El Vlink owned by the Fernández Salvador family, which included land from Huaca to the Valley of Chota. Today the lagoon, surrounded by flora such as willows, sigses, cattails, orchids and inhabited by hummingbirds, owls and turtledoves, is used for recreation because its transparent waters and a moderate temperature of 12 ° C make it a suitable place to enjoy its nature.

Paluz Waterfall in the Province of Carchi

Located 3 km from San Gabriel, it is a 25 m high waterfall formed by the river of the same name, it has served as inspiration for poets, painters and musicians for its colorful landscapes.

Las Canoas Complex in the Province of Carchi

At 1 km west of Tulcán, a backwater of the Bobo River has formed a natural island next to which there is a country area suitable for family rest. In the backwater a dock has been installed from which small boats depart in which couples in love eternalize those peaceful afternoons where the clouds turn the sky green. It is said that the writer Juan Montalvo in his time of exile in Colombia, came to a cave near this place to be inspired and write some of his romantic and lyrical poses.

The Tulcán Cemetery in the Province of Carchi

In the north center of the capital city of the province is located the municipal cemetery that houses a 4-hectare park adorned with “green sculptures” and that are nothing more than artistically trimmed cypress trees (See: Topiaria) by skilled gardeners trained by the late Manuel María Azael Franco, who for the year 1936 and as head of city parks was entrusted with the maintenance of the garden inside the cemetery, creating this masterpiece that was declared National Heritage on May 28, 2023 by the government of President Osvaldo Hurtado Larrea.

Labyrinths, anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures, pre-Columbian archaeological-inspired sculptures, arches and effigies taken from Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultures adorn the place that enjoys international fame because in addition to the locals, national and Colombian tourists, for its fame it is frequently visited by tourists from other latitudes and continents.

In the tombstone of Manuel María Azael Franco reads the following legend: "This place is so beautiful that it even makes you want to die."

Museum and Auditorium of the House of Culture in the Province of Carchi

In Tulcán and inside the Ecuadorian House of Culture -carchi nucleus- is the archaeological museum Germán Bastidas Vaca, in which archaeological pieces of the Negative Culture and Formative Period of the Carchi are exhibited, in addition to works of art and painting.

Also inside the building of the House of Culture is the Auditorium "Luis Freire del Castillo" which has a mural on its main wall pictorially represents the evolution of Ecuadorian culture, since pre-Inca times, through the conquest and the subsequent destruction of many details of our indigenous culture, until reaching the contemporary era highlighting Benjamín Carrión, founder of the House of Ecuadorian Culture.

Rumichaca in the Province of Carchi

In Carchi, apart from the Grotto of La Paz, there is another important geological formation and it is a natural bridge of Piedra that is known by its indigenous name Rumichaca, formed by the Fragoso Río Carchi, which marks a natural link in the Colombian border Ecuadorian On this “bridge, a great flow of commerce and brotherhood between Ecuador and Colombia has developed. The old customs building on the natural bridge on the Ecuadorian side is a Republican-style house currently dedicated to cultural activities.

Monument to the Work Procedure in the Province of Carchi

It is a monument in the center of the central park of the town of San Gabriel (Cantón Montúfar), 35 km south of Tulcán following the Pan-American Highway. Erected in recognition of the working people of the region is supported by 10 Doric columns in the shape of a crescent, the stars symbolize the parishes that make it up, cultural symbol for connoisseurs of Greek-Roman art.

Events and sports activities in the Province of Carchi

Pilgrimage to the Grotto of La Paz on July 9 of each year; Commemorative celebrations of provincialization of Carchi and cantonization of each of the cantons.

The area has resources for sports and physical leisure activities such as climbing, trekking, 4x4 motor racing, motocross and bicicross, road and mountain biking, sport fishing, camping, rafting and boating.





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Ecuador and its unique charms.

4 worlds in one place, so you can enjoy them to the fullest...!

Ecuador country of 4 worlds, in one place...!

Ecuador, officially called the Republic of Ecuador, is a sovereign country located in the northwestern region of South America. Bordered on the North by Colombia, Northwest with Peru, to the South and to the East with the Peru. The Pacific Ocean bathes the western coast, and separates it from the Galapagos Islands located thousand kilometers to the West.

Soo close Quito the capital of the Andes, stands the Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. It is currently one of the most traditional and culturally better preserved on the planet, it has 5 nominations for the Cultural heritage of humankind, two natural heritage of humanity and over 20 candidates for other commemorations of the Unesco .

History of the Ecuador

The first human settlements in Ecuadorian territory date back to 12 000 to.C., subsequently developed several pre-Columbian peoples. After the definitive independence from Spanish rule, part of the territory joined quickly the Gran Colombia, while the coastal territory remained independent until the annexation by manu militari by Simón Bolívar. In 1830 the Colombian territories of the South seceded and created the Ecuadorian nation.In 1979, the country returned to democratic system, although political instability between 1996 to 2006 led the country into an economic, political and social crisis, resulting in the dollarization of its economy and toppled three Presidents before the end of its mandate.

The Ecuador culture

Rag dolls representing the indigenous culture of Ecuador is a multi-ethnic and multicultural nation.It should consider the ethnic and regional diversity of Ecuador to analyze their culture. Ethnically it is marked by the presence of mestizos and indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian, white; as well as regions such as the coast, the sierra, the East and the insular region, all of them with very rich specificities.

The Ecuador climate

The country has a tropical and humid climate, the air quality is very good by the presence of large natural forests, national parks, and the Amazon rainforest.

Geography of the Ecuador

Ecuador is located on the terrestrial Equator by which its territory is located in both hemispheres.The country has an area of 283,561 square kilometers. It is divided into four natural regions (La Costa, Sierra, the Amazon and the Insular region or Galapagos), in turn is divided administratively into 24 provinces.
In the Pacific coast are the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabi, Los Rios, Guayas, Santa Elena and El Oro.In the Andes, in the North and central are Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo, in the South are Bolivar, Cañar, Azuay and Loja.In the Amazon, on the other hand are succumbing, Napo, Pastaza, Orellana, Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe and in the island, the Galapagos Islands, made up of 13 main islands region.

The Ecuador economy

Ecuador is a major exporter of bananas (first place worldwide in its production and export), flowers, and the eighth World producer of cocoa.Petroleum accounts for 40% of exports and contributes to maintaining a positive trade balance.

Festivals in the Ecuador

  • Easter, many of the provinces celebrated on this date, with regional events.
  • November 2, the Difuntos.
  • 25 of December day, they celebrate Christmas, sharing in family.
  • 331 December, farewell of the year.

Regions natural of the Ecuador

Amazon rainforest, Andes mountains, Costa and the Galapagos Islands.

Ecuador national parks

Parque Nacional Yasuní, Cotopaxi, Sangay National Park, National Park Podocarpus, El Cajas National Park, National Park Machalilla National Park.

Languages spoken in Ecuador

Ecuador speaks the Spanish throughout the territory, also Quechua indigenous populations of the Sierra and the Amazon, but as it is a country with a tourist infrastructure in development, can be guides in several languages; It is possible to speak in English at the points of attention to tourists called "iTur"; created by the Ministry of tourism also in airports, Bus Terminal, municipalities and others find information points.

Shopping in Ecuador

We recommend going to the handicrafts market of Otavalo, located about 2 hours (120 km) of Quito city, there you can get variety of souvenirs and handicrafts that are found in the rest of the Andean region.And don't forget Cotacachi, a town with cute works in leather of high quality.
In the city of Cuenca also can be purchased pottery, textiles, jewelry, crafts in toquilla straw, wrought iron, etc.

Food typical of the Ecuador

Ecuador has a variety of typical food, in each of the natural regions, such as Costa, Sierra and East have their own typical food, in the East can eat a Chontacuro (worms grilled on skewer), in the Sierra you can eat a delicious "fry pork", a hornado, llapingachos, the Guinea pig, the classic "sing" in Cuenca, and a fish coconut coast, prieta salt, green bolon or ceviche de concha and many more dishes.In Manabi most importantly the food is tanning with lemon and fresh fish.

  • Pope locro, is a stew with squash, beans, corn or potatoes.
  • Roast Cuy or Guinea.
  • Cebiche or ceviche, this dish is very consumed in the coastal area.
  • Encebollado, is a stew of fish containing Yucca and pickled red onions.
  • Cuy or Guinea pig, is usually roasted.
  • Bolón de pescado
  • Bolón, is based green bananas broiled or fried previously.
  • Fritada is another delicious dish of Ecuador.Not be left confused by the name, is not a dish of fried meat.The meat of pig or pork is cooked in plenty of water and orange juice with cumin, garlic, onion, salt and pepper until the water has been consumed to be completed. Then the meat begins to Brown in its own fat. Also is it accompanied by mote (boiled maize).

Drinks and fun in Ecuador

There are many clubs and bars in constant renewal in the country.

  • A reference point for nightlife is Montañita where Sun, surf, beach and joy.
  • In Guayaquil, there are bars and clubs for all tastes.
  • In Quito, the area of fun, dancing, alcohol is known as the Mariscal. Current law restricts the opening of bars and nightclubs on holidays; the days Friday and Saturday until 2:00 am, on Sunday the sale of alcoholic beverages is limited.

Lodging in Ecuador

Ecuador has a good hotel infrastructure for all kinds of tourists, from Hostels up to Super exclusive luxury hotels such as the Hilton Hotel Oro Verde, Sheraton, Wyndham, Unipark, among others. All this is thanks to the good tourist development that has had the country in recent years.
If you need more information about where to stay, we recommend you to enter this link: Lodging in Ecuador and review the tourism infrastructure that exists in all of the Ecuador.

Tourism in Ecuador

Ecuador lies within the countries more diverse in its ecosystem and for this reason National Geographic categorized it within the top 10 tourist destinations in adventure.

Cultural in Ecuador tourist attractions

Historic center of Quito, Mitad del Mundo, Ingapirca ruins, historic centre of Cuenca, Latacunga, and much more.Come and visit Ecuador!

Natural tourist attractions in Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, National Park Yasuní, National Park El Cajas National Park Sangay, Parque nacional Podocarpus, Vilcabamba, bathrooms.
Glaciers and volcanoes: Antisana, Cayambe, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo Illinizas.El is the volcano and highest mountain of Ecuador, is the farthest from the center of the Earth, and «the point closest to the Sun». Its last known eruption is believed that you occurred around the 550 dC.
Beaches: Crucita, Atacames, Bahía de Caráquez, Esmeraldas, Manta, Salinas, Montañita

Mirador de Turi en Cuenca Ecuador

Turi, which comes from the indigenous word kuri which means gold, has the typical conformation of rural settlements in the region.

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Galapagos Islands

Extraordinary flora and fauna, a place you must visit...!

Galapagos Islands are worldwide known for their wide biodiversity and for being the point from where Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution.We present you 5 facts that perhaps you didn't know about the Enchanted Islands.

The term "Enchanted islands" first appeared on a map in 1589.Sailors nicknamed thus to the Galapagos Islands, by referring to these "appeared and disappeared", since due to the sea currents strong, access to the Islands was limited at certain times of the year. The nickname transcended over the years and today is still saying that the Islands are "delighted", but referring now to the great biodiversity of flora and fauna.

The Galapagos marine iguana, is the only species of reptile in the world that has managed to adapt to life under water.

The Islands are named for the giant tortoises that live there (the Galapagos word meaning turtle). This species can reach up to 16 hours a day to sleep and mainly feeds on cacti that grow there.

In keeping with the turtles, originally there were 15 species of giant tortoises in the Galapagos, unfortunately 5 of them are completely extinct, so there are only 10. The main threat of the turtles is the human being, who for years has been dedicated to hunting them for their meat and oil.

The Galapagos Islands were part of the second world war! During this war, the Government of Ecuador allowed the United States Government build a runway with strategic aims in the Islands.When the war ended, the Americans abandoned the place. That track currently serves as the main airport of the Islands, which welcomes the year thousands of passengers.