The Templo Machay hike
A hike to a sacred Chimborazo cave
From: USD 70
What awaits you during this 1 day experience
We’ll hike to a sacred cave on the flanks of Chimborazo, where for centuries people have conducted rituals asking for blessings. Enjoy the landscape formed by lava, discover the tiny little vegetation that's growing here and be surprised of the view and landscapes on your way.
The community you will be visiting
Puruha Razurku is a tour agency offering visits to various indigenous Puruhá community tourism projects in the province of Chimborazo. The agency is owned by the participating communities, who receive 90% of the profits, providing them with a sustainable source of income. In addition to authentic experiences in indigenous rural villages, Puruha Razurku offers a number of one-day hiking tours, including to the Templo Machay, a sacred cave on the flanks of Chimborazo; ice-mining with the legendary “last ice man of Chimborazo”; to a millennial polylepis forest; to the arbol solitario, the only tr … Read more about Puruha Razurku
Food & Drinks
Experience traditional, local food.
Select Tour Dates
San Juan • Templo Machay hike from Refugio Carrel
In the morning we will drive through the Chimborazo Reserve to the Carrel Refuge at 4850 m altitude, from where we will begin our hike to a sacred cave on the flanks of the volcano Chimborazo. On the way, we will have the chance to see the llama’s delicate wild cousin, the vicuña, roaming the otherworldly landscapes. You will feel the lack of oxygen and discover that the barren landscape is home to more plants than was first apparent.
San Juan • Visit to the cave Templo Machay
At lunchtime we will arrive at the cave known as the Templo de Machay which, according to the Puruhá cosmovision, is the ear of the deity Chimborazo. For hundreds of years, the Puruhás have been making offerings in the cave, a tradition still continued to this day. It is believed that those who enter with humility and gratitude may have their wishes granted by the volcano. It is a truly magical experience, sitting in the cave and listening to ancient legends as we watch hummingbirds swoop in and out to their nests.
San Juan • Downwards from Templo Machay to the arbol solitario
During our descent to the road, we will stop at the arbol solitario, the only tree within the Chimborazo reserve, thought to be the only remaining specimen of its kind. The Puruhá yachaks (shamans) believe the tree to be strongly connected to the moon and stars, and that circling it 12 times will cure illness. We will also pass some dunes of fine, nearly white sand, which have been blown by the wind into desert-like ripples and peaks.