After having lunch in Tulipe I walked to Museo de Sitio Tulipe. The admission was $3 (July 2012) and it included a guided tour. The guided tour started in the interpretation centre where the guide showed some of the items and talked about the Yumbo culture.
Then we walked the path down to the ceremonial pools. Along the path the guide stopped to show me several plants, among others a nice orchid and pineapple. Tulipe was a ceremonial centre of the Yumbo people and here they built pools (one is actually built by the Incas, but probably on top of an older one). These pools were used for purification rites and as big mirrors for astronomical and religious observations of the stars, sun and moon. Of the eight pools in Tulipe two are semicircular, two rectangular, one square, one polygonal and one circular.
In the area around Tulipe there are many tolas, artificial mounds with a rectangular platform. There are around 20m high and were used both for households and as ceremonial areas.
Another special feature made by the Jumbos is the coluncos (I have walked in coluncos in Santa Lucia Cloud Forest and in Parque Arqueológico Rumipamba in Quito). Coluncos are the old mountain paths made by the Yumbos along the trade routes. They are narrow and deep and often covered by vegetation, which protected the trade’s men from the strong sun. The guide in Tulipe said they are called coluncos because of the sound made buy liquids when they were carried.
The museum and archaeological site is open every day of the week between 9 – 16. Admission was $3 (July 2012).
The museum opened up in 2007 and in 2011 Tulipe was the winner of Premio Internacional Reina Sofia de Conservación y Restauracion del Patrimonio Cultural.
It was when I visited the Museo de Sitio of Tulipe that I heard of the Yumbo petroglyphs near Pacto. Outside the museum in Tulipe there are some replicas of the petroglyphs and the guide told me about the petroglyphs near Pacto, and how to go there.
I took the bus from Tulipe to Pacto (see my transportation tip) and walked from the main road. The trail to the waterfall and petroglyphs starts on the right side of the bridge. From the bridge there was a 20 minutes walk to the waterfall. Near the waterfall there is a small cabin where you can buy snacks. I bought a coca-cola and got my change back when I returned back from the petroglyphs. I think I paid $0.80 for the coca-cola and then $1 as admission to the site. The waterfall is called Cascada Gallito de La Peña and the stream is Río Chirapi. As it was Sunday when I visited there were some people around who had come for a swim in the stream.
There are no signs for the petroglyphs but the man selling me the coca-cola tried to explain. There were some people at the waterfall and I asked them as well, but they had never heard of the petroglyphs. I knew the petroglyphs were on some rocks upstream and that I had to cross the stream to come on the right side. I was glad that I had borrowed wellington boots at La Posada del Yumbo because it made it easier to cross, and I found a big stick to have as support when I walked over the rocks and the stream. I felt it was a stupid thing to do when I had a broken wrist, but I was so close and didn’t want to turn around. After a while I met a man and he could point out the right rocks for me.
The Yumbo Culture lived in the area from around 800AD – 1660. Their petroglyphs are often geometrical patterns like circles and spirals. On the rocks by Río Chirapi there was also the fertility symbol which is present on flags and signs all over Tulipe. In this petroglyph both the male and female organ can be seen and a circle (it looks like it is in the hand of the male) represents the new life.
They didn’t serve breakfast at La Posada del Yumbo where I stayed, but I was sure there would be breakfast available at Hosteria Sumak Pakari, so I went there in the morning. I arrived before 8am and found the gate closed and locked. I didn’t know what to do, but a girl who was in the street was fast and rang the bell for me.
The woman who opened the door told me they didn’t serve breakfast until 8.30. It was a Sunday and usually people want to sleep longer in weekends. However, she was very kind and told me I could come in and they would make me breakfast. She brought me to the dining room and then closed the door, as she didn’t want the guests to arrive too early. I sat down at a table and breakfast was brought to me. I got bread, butter and jam, a fruit juice, coffee and majado with a fried egg on top. Majado is a traditional breakfast made of mashed and fried plantains. The breakfast was $4.50 (July 2012).
The atmosphere at Hosteria Sumak Pakari felt very nice and welcoming. It seemed to be a very clam place and there was a swimming pool. I was told it was $30 per person to stay there ($25 per person if there are four people sharing room). Now, about half a year later I see at their website that the prices are higher, but then it includes breakfast, admission to the archaeological site in Tulipe and some other activities.
Before going to the museum and archaeological site in Tulipe I needed to eat lunch and I asked for a place to eat. The man at La Posada del Yumbo told me his parents had a place close to the main road, and I had seen it when I arrived, so I went there.
When I arrived they told me they had chicken soup so I took it (there didn’t seem to be any alternatives) and to drink I had a lemon juice with panela. Both the soup and juice were very tasty, but I was still a bit hungry after the meal. I was a bit surprised that the price for the soup and juice was $4 (July 2012), maybe because I have become used to cheaper lunch menus around Ecuador.
When it was time for dinner I went out to look for a restaurant and found Restaurante Tía Eloy. It seemed like they were cleaning the kitchen, maybe to close for the day, but I asked if it was open and possible to eat. I was told it was open, but they needed 20 minutes to prepare the meal. That was okay for me and I took a walk while waiting.
To eat I got trout steamed in a banana leave, rice, lentils and fried yucca. And to drink I had a limonada Yumba, a lemon juice with panela. It was a very good meal, and it was $6.50 (July 2012).
Before going back to Quito I wanted to see the petroglyphs near Pacto, so I went down to the main road in Tulipe to wait for a bus. Other people were also waiting there and not until 45-50 minutes later a bus arrived. The ticket to Pacto was $0.50 (July 2012).
I had heard the path to the waterfall and petroglyphs started from the road somewhere before Pacto, so I told the bus attendant that I wanted to go off there and he said he would tell me. The bus was full and I tried to stand in the front, but as more and more people came on during the journey I ended up in the back of the bus. I realised I had missed to go off the bus at the right point and stayed until the end stop at the square in Pacto. I asked the bus attendant about the way and it was only a 10-15 minutes walk back down the road.
Coming from Pacto the path to the waterfall and petroglyphs start on the right side of the bridge. From the bridge there was another 20 minutes walk to the waterfall. Near the waterfall there is a small cabin where you can buy snacks. I bought a coca-cola and got my change back when I returned back from the petroglyphs. I think I paid $0.80 for the coca-cola and then $1 as admission to the site.
There are no signs for the petroglyphs but the man selling me the coca-cola tried to explain. There were some people at the waterfall as well, but they had never heard of the petroglyphs. I knew the petroglyphs were on some rocks upstream and that I had to cross the stream to come on the right side. I was glad that I had borrowed wellington boots at La Posada del Yumbo because it made it easier to cross, and I found a big stick to have as support when I walked over the rocks and the stream. I felt it was a stupid thing to do when I had a broken wrist, but I was so close and didn’t want to turn around. After a while I met a man and he could point out the right rocks for me.
When I was back at the main road I didn’t have to wait very long for a bus back to Tulipe. It was a bus heading for Quito and it was not full.
From Tulipe to Quito on a Sunday
It was not so easy to go from Tulipe to Quito on a Sunday. After I had visited the waterfall and petroglyphs near Pacto I went back to Tulipe to pick up my luggage. When I came back down to the main road it was around 13.00. Someone told me the next bus would not come until 15 and a taxi driver wanted to take me to La Armenia for $5. There were some other people waiting so I waited for a while to see what was going to happen. Soon a camioneta (pickup truck) was going to La Armenia and everyone could get a ride for $0.50 each (July 2012). I sat inside the camioneta between the driver and an old man. The old man had a terrible cough and he thought he had the flu. I wonder if this was the reason why I some days later got a terrible cold and cough.
In La Armenia I crossed the highway and waited for a passing bus to Quito. The first bus was full and only took standing passengers who were going to Nanegalito. The next two buses didn’t stop and the third bus was also full. I said I could stand until Nanegalito, but the bus driver said it was better to wait in La Armenia for a Quito bus. I had waited for over an hour and it had become very foggy. Finally a bus stopped. It was also full, but the bus attendant told me I could take the seat next to the driver. They understood that I had waited a very long time because buses are often full on Sundays when people are going back to Quito.
t was good to sit in the front and see how the landscape changed, from a lush, very green valley to the dry landscape near Mitad del Mundo. The bus journey to Quito was $1.50 (July 2012). In Quito the bus was going to Terminal Carcelen, but that far I didn’t want to go. I went off near a shopping centre, were many other people went off. I took a taxi to Centro Histórico, and with taximeter it was $5. The taxi took Av Occidental which I like as there are nice views from there over Quito. On clear days you can see Cotopaxi.
From Mindo up to La Y (the junction at the highway to Quito) a taxi/camioneta cost $3 (July 2012). I heard there was a bus leaving the square in Mindo for Santo Domingo at 11am, so I took that bus up to La Y. The ticket was $0.50. At La Y, I and five other people waited at the highway for a passing bus. After 10-15 minutes a bus heading for Quito arrived and we went aboard. The bus was full so we had to stand up. I was only going to La Armenia (the ticket was $1) where I was changing buses again. In La Armenia I only had to wait two minutes for a bus. When I told the bus attendant that I was going to Tulipe and that I didn’t know where it was he told me to sit in the front seat, next to the driver., from where it was a very good view of the passing landscape. The bus from La Armenia to Tulipe was $0.50 (July 2012).