A stunning wildlife reserve with remote, indigenous communities that rarely see foreigners
Information about Chimborazo
Would you like to live a HIGH ALTITUDE experience? Get know the earth´s closest point to the sun and combine it with nature, culture, and adventure. The colossus Chimborazo , a volcano covered with centuries-old glaciers, snow and with its 6,268 meters above sea level (it surpasses Everest in height from the center of the earth) is the central point of a dazzling and still unknown destination.
The Chimborazo region, in the center of Ecuador, contains some of the most impressive landscapes in the country: its impressive sand banks as real moonscapes , the paramo, the sponge of the Andes that absorbs and provides water to large cities… Did you know that the Guayas River, one of the main rivers of the Ecuadorian Coast, is born in the snows of Chimborazo?
The Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve with the Chimborazo and Carihuairazo volcanoes, create a magnificent backdrop for the undulating Andean slopes dotted with llamas, sheep, and ever present vicuñas. The Chimborazo Wildlife Reserve, a protected area that is located between the provinces of Chimborazo, Tungurahua and Bolívar. You can drive around it on the paved road, which makes it a 360-degree destination. It is also one of the protected areas with the best accessibility in the country, equidistant from the biggest cities of Ecuador: Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.
This region of the country is undoubtedly the cradle of the Quichua nationality and its indegenous groups: : Puruhás, Guarangas and Pilahuines; who inhabit the area since before the arrival of the Incas. Because of their ancestral beliefs, they take care of the paramo and the mountains because they consider them part of their family and have venerated volcanoes for centuries as their “Apus” or protective deities. This is a land where myths, legends and ancestral ways of life are still lived: food are treated with rituals and medicinal plants, pilgrimages are made to the Machay Temple (a sacred cave made of volcanic material, located on the southern flank of the Chimborazo volcano) to ask for blessings. Glacier ice is extracted by hand from the volcano and transported by mule. The women make handicrafts with paramo grass harvested during the full moon and spin hand-shorn wool from their herds of alpacas and sheep to make different garments.
Agriculture is their main source of income, highlighting delicious traditional cereal crops such as quinoa and corn, or tubers like potatoes, and Andean beans like habas and chochos. To harvest them, they often transport them using llamas or mules. Dairy production contributes in a complementary way to its economy.
In recent years, several of the indigenous communities of Ecuador have opened the doors of their territories to tourism to share with visitors: their way of life, culture, traditions and generate unique and authentic experiences that allow them, through responsible practices of community based tourism, generate economic alternatives that improve their quality of life.
A legend tells that thousands of years ago, the tayta (father) Chimborazo and the Carihuairazo volcano, fought for the love of the mama (mother) Tungurahua throwing giant and incandescent rocks at each other. Visit us and you will know who the winner of this epic battle was!
Interesting facts about Chimborazo
Flora & Fauna
Pictures of Chimborazo
Highlights in Chimborazo
Paramo walk in Llangahua
A 2km walk through pristine paramo to two crystalline lakes, Lagunas Molinococha and Chuquibantza, and a millennial polylepis forest, where ancient trees are hung with lichens. We will learn about the paramo ecosystem, its medicinal plants, and how it provides water for the region by trapping humidity from the air, eventually forming streams and rivers.
Calshi community walk
Accompanied by local people in traditional dress, we will set out on a guided walk around the community of Calshi. We will visit the Virgin de Peña, an image of the Virgin Mary that was painted on a cliff after her presence was revealed in a dream to a Calshi resident in the 1930s. We’ll stop to converse with shepherd women in bright shawls, their faces bronzed and lined by the sun, who spin wool as they watch their flocks. Those feeling brave will have the chance to try their hand at milking a cow and drinking the warm frothy milk. Stopping at the reservoir, we’ll marvel at the feat of engineering that allows the community to automatically irrigate its crops with water from the Carihuairazo volcano, before visiting the carrot washing and packing plant where their main crop is prepared for sale.
Traditional food in Llangahua
We will participate in the pachamanca, a traditional way of preparing food for special occasions in a subterranean oven. After lining the oven with leaves and fire-heated stones, we will fill it with layers of meat, vegetables and hot stones, before covering it with earth. Accompanying the meal will be sumfo, a tea made with a paramo plant.