La Chimba

La Chimba is a town of around 360 families located in a fertile valley, a one hour, 60 cent bus ride northeast of the city of Cayambe, within the canton of Cayambe. The valley that contains the city is situated at the northeast end of the basin that contains Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Named after Ecuador’s nearby third highest mountain, the canton contains three urban parroquias and five rural ones. La Chimba is in the parroquia of Olmedo, which was formerly known as Pesillo.

Before the eighties, cooking was done in a llanda, or indoor fireplace, and the people lit their houses at night with oil lamps. However, this time period saw the installation of electricity and the introduction of stoves with portable gas tanks. It was also during this time that the people of La Chimba built a water purification plant through community minga, eliminating the use of river water for drinking.

La Chimba is a beautiful town. Located in a high valley, surrounded by mountains, the view in every direction is that of rustic Andean scenery. The Golondrinas hot springs, administered by La Chimba, can be reached by a twenty minute car ride followed by thirty minutes of walking in the countryside. The springs, located in a crevice between two mountains, give a breathtaking view of the valley below.

Not far past the springs is the huge Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. The preserve offers a large freshwater lagoon, diverse wildlife, and a view of the mountains that mark the border between the Sierra and the rainforest. Within the town itself, is the ancient Petroglifo La Chimba, dating 730 years before Christ, and the old hacienda which, now under renovation, gives us a glimpse of Ecuador’s history.

One way in which La Chimba maintains its unique identity is through its traditional style of clothing, which is different from even its nearby neighbors Olmedo and Pesillo. At any fiesta in La Chimba, you are sure to see the men dressed in samado. The colorful shirt worn by the women is called a pañalon. Their bright, gold-colored necklaces are made from the metal hualka. Also unique are the women’s slipper-type shoes, called apargates, and the makiwatana bracelets made of tiny beads. For good examples of this traditional clothing, as well as the Abuchicho San Juan rhythm, see the music video for the song “Con mi Guitarra,” by Rosita Quilo, filmed in Cayambe.

Places to stay in La Chimba +
Practical information about La Chimba +
Getting to and around in La Chimba +

Map of La Chimba

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