Fun things to do in Provincia de Pichincha

  • Idolatery?
    Idolatery?
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  • Do not mess with us!
    Do not mess with us!
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  • Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador
    Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador
    by MalenaN

Most Viewed Things to Do in Provincia de Pichincha

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    Hiking in Pasochoa

    by MalenaN Written Mar 7, 2014

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    When I arrived to Pasochoa I got a brochure with a simple map. Also at the lower part of the reserve there are maps on signboards. There are several trails, mostly in the forest area. It was a sunny day, so I was a bit disappointed to be in the shadow under the trees in the beginning. However, I walked higher and finally got to the open paramo landscape with grass and bushes. There I sat down to eat some of my lunch, with nice views in front of me.

    Up on a crest it was very windy, and there they had also cut down lots of pine trees. This had caused damages along a dirt road and I couldn’t find a path continuing to the summit of Volcán Pasochoa. I followed the dirt road down a little and finally saw a path. I doubted that it was the right one and when I first had to crouch under a barbed wire stretched over the path and then came to a point where most of the path was hidden behind vegetation I decided to turn around.

    I had a second lunch break and where it was possible I took another path down, then I had taken on the way up.

    Coming back to the entrance I told the man that I hadn’t found the path to continue to the summit of Volcán Pasochoa. He told me it starts earlier then the path I took, but probably it couldn’t be seen now because of all the rubbish from the logging. I was a bit disappointed that I had not been able to reach the top of the volcano, but anyway I had had a nice 5 hours hike.

    On the trails in the lower part (the forest) I met a few people, but higher up I didn’t. It was a Saturday when I visited.

    Hiking in Pasochoa Hiking in Pasochoa Hiking in Pasochoa Hiking in Pasochoa Hiking in Pasochoa
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    Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa

    by MalenaN Written Mar 8, 2014

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    Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa is situated 30 km southeast of Quito. It is a protected forest reserve established in 1982. Here you can find one of few remaining original Andean forests. Pasochoa is situated in the collapsed crater and on the slopes of Volcan Pasochoa. The reserve stretches from an elevation of 2700m to the summit of Volcan Pasochoa at an altitude of 4200m. In the lower region there is forest and at higher altitude páramo, with grass and bushes.

    There are several trails to hike along.

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    Facilities at Refugio de Vida Silvestre Pasochoa

    by MalenaN Written Feb 25, 2014

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    When I arrived to Pasochoa I first registered (name and passport number) and then I got a brochure with information about Pasochoa and a simple map. Along the trail there are a few signpost with information about the different trails, elevation and time it approximately takes to walk the different trails.

    Coming back down I passed a picnic area where there are several tables under roof and a great view. Below the picnic area there is a campsite. Here there is also supposed to be a place with a few bunk beds, showers and cooking facilities.

    You can find bathrooms at the campsite, the picnic area and by the entrance (where you register).

    Picnic area at Pasochoa Pasochoa Pasochoa Pasochoa Camp site at Pasochoa
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    Hiking Rucu Pichinch

    by MalenaN Written Mar 12, 2014

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    Rucu Pichinca (4696m) is one of the main summits on Volcán Pichincha (the other is Guagua Pichincha 4794m). It is the peak closest to Quito and it is not difficult to climb.

    I had read that there had been robberies along the trail so I asked at the Tourist Office in Quito how the safety was at the moment. They told me it was safe now, especially on Sundays when lots of people do the hike to the summit. As I was in Quito a Sunday I decided to do the hike that day.

    It was a nice sunny day and I started with taking the Teleferiqo up to Cruz Loma, at an altitude of 4100m and started the hike there. After some time of hiking I encountered a group of women in traditional clothes singing, and people filming. It was a nice sight so I had to stop for some time and watch. Later I sat down for a while to eat some snacks and admire the view. And of course I often stopped to take photos. In the beginning the trail is easy to walk, but higher up it is more sand and rocks, and some scrambling is needed before reaching the summit. At the sandy part it was a bit windy and lots of dust in the air. With all the stops it took me 3h and 15 minutes to reach the top, and then I had not walked very fast because I had a cough and didn’t feel too well in the chest.

    I was surprised to see so many people at the summit, but then it was a Sunday and the weather was nice, so it was a great day for this hike. Also along the trail I had seen people, but not all the time.

    The view from the top of Rucu Pichincha is fantastic! I stayed for a while and then started the descent, which of course was much quicker than the ascent.

    Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador Rucu Pichincha, Ecuador
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    Cochasqui Indigenous Ruins

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    On the way to Otavalo from Quito (a few miles before Tabacundo, or about 1hr and 15min north of Quito), there is a protected area that contains 15 truncated clay pyramids covered by earth and grass and nine with long ramps. I have acutally never been here, but some of my friends went, and they really enjoyed it. Essentially, Cochasqui is an archaeological site, administered by the Consejo Provincial de Pichincha. Built by Indians of the Cara or Cayambi-Caranqui tribe between 900 and 1500 A.D. Visits to the pyramids are available and there is a small entry fee.

    You can either asked to be dropped off by the Panamerican and walk up the hill, or you can go to Tabacundo and rent a camioneta. Ask a the tourist office what the price SHOULD be before you go (should not be too expensinve per person if you get a small group together).

    Cochasqui
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    Quito

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is for many the only place they visit in the province. No shame in that, Quito is an amazing city nestled in a small valley. For example, Colonial Quito, is one of the best preserved colonial areas in South America and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built on the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, the city is located in exactly the same place as the old capital of Shyris, and ancient people who fought off the Incas for over 17 years.

    For more info about Quito, see my Quito Pages.

    Quito
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    Mindo

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    Mindo is a weekend get away for the Quiteños. Located just 2hrs from Quito, if offerst the opportunity to hike through rainforest, swim beneath waterfalls, tubing ($3 - make sure you get an experience guide!), or horseback riding. The town is tiny (pop. 1500), but, like most places in Ecuador, very tourist friendly. There are several small hostels and restaurants for those who want to spend the night. It is posible to make it a day trip from Quito as well, however, it will be a pretty long day.

    HIKING: One of the most popular hikes is "La Cascada" - the waterfall - , which not surprisingly end up at a waterfall. The hike takes about 2hrs, and make sure to bring some cash with you (River passing= $1, Entrance fee to waterfalls=$3). Bring swim wear to go swimming underneath the waterfall - go passed the big crowded area to the left and climb down the ladder for some privacy.

    GEAR: Hiking boots, swim wear, towel, light shirt (you'll get really wet, dry to avoid cotton), insect repellent.

    HOSTEL: "El Bilao", $5/night, Av. Quito N.259, Tel: 2765470

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    Watch them bless cars in Quinche!

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    El Quinche is very well known by "La Virgen del Quinche" (El Quinche virgin) where there is a sanctuary to Nuestra Se?ora del Quinche in the main plaza.

    This is also where people from all over come to have their new cars, trucks, bikes, etc, blessed by the monks. It?s truly a cultural experience for somebody who did now grow with catholicism!

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    Visit the church of the Virgin of Quinche

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    El Quinche is very well known by "La Virgen del Quinche" (El Quinche virgin) where there is a sanctuary to Nuestra Señora del Quinche in the main plaza. Also known for the processions held on 21 November honoring the virgin and asking for miracles. The small village is situated fairly close to Cayambe. The virgin's image was the work of a sculptor around 1600 in Oyacachi.

    On the outside of the church (on the left hand side if you stand right infront of it), there are dedication plates that people have put up thanking the Virgin for different miracles in thier life. Makes for quite interesting reading.

    There are plenty of buses that go from Cayambe to Quinche, however, I went there with car, so I won´t be able to give you details. HOWEVER, if you just ask around, there should not be a problem. Also, I went to Quinche on a Sunday, and it seems like that is a good day to go as there was a big market.

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    Esperanza (close to Cayambe and Tabacundo)

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    To really experience a small highland town, you can make a daytrip to the town of Esperanza, located about 1.5hrs north of Quito. Esperanza is a cute place with a nice church, and a very nice view of the valley. A small park right infront of the church offers a good place to have a picknick while enjoying the view. The church in Esperanza is really beautiful, and is used by several off the nearby indigenous communities for such events as weddings and baptisms.

    To go here directly from Quito, take a bus going towards Otavalo. Esperanza is located a couple of miles before the town of Tabacundo. Head up the hill - to the left - to reach Esperanza.

    HOWEVER, Esperanza is best reached from either Tabacundo or Cayambe.

    If you take the local bus from Tabacundo, take a blue and white one - Transportes Mojandas - that is heading south (back towards Quito). The bus stops by the main square in Esperanza. The cost of this bus is 22cents.

    Esperanza The church in Esperanza
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    Maquipucuna: River Trail

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Jul 11, 2008

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    This moderate but exhilarating trail runs about 3 km in length, taking about 2-3 hours to complete. You start off heading down along the Umachaca River, weaving through the dense undergrowth as you follow the water downhill. Turning up from there, it is a long slog through the forest. I highly recommend a walking stick as it is almost always damp and steep. Along the way you see bountiful ferns, epiphytes, and if you turn to look back you can see the river. You ascend through the jungle, hearing the calls of local birds as you finally level off and turn north. The rest of the hike is relatively level, sloping down towards the lodge. It is a really pretty hike, but be prepared to get muddy and sweaty. It really requires you have good physical shape.

    the Umchaca River
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    Maquipucuna: Easy Bird Watching

    by HasTowelWillTravel Written Jul 11, 2008

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    One of the great things about the forest surrounding the Maquipucuna Reserve is the abundance of avian creatures. In just a few days, we were able to observe numerous species, including the beautiful quetzal, several different toucans, tanagers, hawks, and flycatchers.

    However, one of the best, and easiest, ways to observe birds is to have lunch. Around the dining area are several hummingbird feeders, and there is never a moment when the birds are not whizzing about the area, dipping their long beaks into the sugar water to drink. They fight and squabble over the feeders, then zip off into the jungle. Most common are the white-necked jacobins (Flourisuga mellivora) and green-crowned brilliants (Heliodoza jacula). But it is great to sit and sip your drink, or eat quietly while watching them fly about. They are not scared of humans at all; indeed, sometimes they got so close I though I'd be impaled on their beaks!

    white-necked jacobin (Flourisuga mellivora)
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    Hacienda Picalqui

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    The Hacienda Picalqui is owned and run by the Ecuadorian NGO Fundacion Brethren y Unida. The following information comes from their website. For more information regarding their work, please visit www.fbu.com.ec. For information about volunteering or stays at the hacienda, you can e-mail them, in English or Spanish, at info@fbu.com.ec Tell them Lotta sent you!

    "Hacienda Picaqlui, located one and a half hours northeast of Quito along the Pan-American Highway, close to Tabacundo.

    The hacienda is set in 25 hectares of agro-ecologically farmed land, with stunning views of the Andes; the snow capped Volcano Cayambe to the east, to the north Volcano Fuya Fuya who's extinct crater contains the Lagunas de Mojanda. and in the distant south the peak of Cotopaxi can be seen on a clear day.

    The infrastructure, now approaching 100 years of age in places, is made of traditional materials, with walls up to 3 feet thick in places. Of course over the years we have provided the modern touches to create a homey feel to the hacienda, a place where people can come to relax and forget the stresses of the city."

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    Mitad del Mundo

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    Located just 20km north of Quito, going here will not only give you a chance to stand on the Equator, but it also hosts a very nice little museum with artifacts from all of Ecuador's ethnic groups. The museum is located in the monument standing on top of the Equator. Also, there are nice little shops etc. right next to it. Some days (I believe on weekends ) there is live enterntainment in the little square.

    Predictably, major festive days fall around March 21 and September 23 (the equinoxes) when neither monument nor tourists casts a shadow, and June 21 and December 21 (the solstices).

    Be aware, some people argue that when the monument was built, they missed the equator by a few yards. So ask a local if they can show you where the "real" equator is; then it's up to you to determine when you think you're really standing on the equator.

    Mitad del Mundo
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    Cayambe

    by tejanasueca Updated Dec 16, 2005

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    The city of Cayambe, situated 1.5hrs northeast of Quito, got its name from the Volcano that towers over it (at 5790m).

    The city of Cayambe is a medium size city and has most things you need to live comfortably. The city is charming and while it has some tourist activities (the closest most tourists come to Cayambe is when they pass by 10km west of it on their way to Otavalo) and you see one or antoher tourist, there are not that many gringos and therefore the city feels more authentic Ecuadorian (which is unusual in this country!). However, don?t let this less touristy look fool you, there are plenty of things to do in the area around Cayambe, including incredible mountain lakes and indigenous ruins.

    The countryside area is surrounded by flower plantations and farms. The area is actually one of the biggest producers of flowers in the world, with its biggest export market being the USA. Because of the manual labor needed to run the platations, the population in the area is constantly expanding.

    For more information about Cayambe, visit my Cayambe Pages.

    A couple of facts about Cayambe
    The biggest festival in Cayambe is San Pedro, which occures in June.

    Cayambe, is the main access point for the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.

    Cayambe Main Plaza
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Provincia de Pichincha Things to Do

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