Sustainable Tourism in Ecuador
ECUADOR: SEARCHING FOR GOLD IN IMBABURA
In addition to its geological richness, as a matter of fact, the region is home to one of the largest gold, silver, and copper reserves in the world. This territory possesses natural and ethnocultural riches that attract thousands of visitors each year, hence UNESCO has labeled this province as a Global Geopark.
Living at 2,450 meters of altitude, surrounded by Andean lagoons, in the valley of the volcano Imbabura and between the towns of Cotacachi and Otavalo, the community of La Calera currently includes around 250 families, who all principally devote themselves to agriculture and the production of artisanal objects.
The inhabitants of the region, who observe a mix of Catholicism and indigenous ancestral beliefs have tried to promote community tourism linked to experience, and consequently, many families have been welcoming people looking for a new kind of stay into their homes.
The visitor is submerged into the heart of customs and thousand-year-old rituals in each family and around rituals such as la Pachamanka, “universe casserole.” This cuisine, which is baked in the Earth, is a tradition that has been preserved thanks to the indigenous people of La Calera.
We have shared the experience of the local farmers, the preparation of yokes and plowing of the land with bulls in the fields. Those who have the opportunity to travel during the month of September enjoy the festivities of Tarpuy Raymi, the plantation festival; and in December, Kapak Raymi, a homage to the sun.
Late at night, in the community house, people talk about Cosmogony and practice games from ancient times. A vision of a magical and mysterious world and an unforgettable experience is shared while listening to the sounds of local music and observing traditional dances.
As part of an exclusive agreement, QUIMBAYA TOURS ECUADOR has initiated and developed
many touristic community programs that are managed 100% by the community of Caléra and have done so for many years. One of the leading objectives is to encourage interactions and bring awareness to participants who are involved with the aim of solidarity, sharing, and sustainable development. The coexistence with the members of the community allows exchange and to discover the culture, traditions, and other ways of thinking.
A word from Leonardo Castillo, Country
Manager QUIMBAYA TOURS ECUADOR:
QUIMBAYA TOURS ECUADOR has carried out the program “sponsor a tree” as part of its natural preservation awareness program. Each traveler is accompanied by a child of the community who will plant a seed, which will be taken care of and will become the responsibility of his partner. This is an activity centered around the protection of the envi- ronment, around la Pachamama – Mother Earth.
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