Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse is situated in Guamote
Area: Andean Highlands
Country: Ecuador in South America
The county of Guamote is situated halfway the “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, at 50 km south of Riobamba. Together with the other 9 counties, it is part of the province of Chimborazo and covers a surface of 1223.3 km2 or 18.9 % of the provincial terriory, of which Guamote is the second in size. The county of Guamote consists of three parishes: Guamote, Cebadas and Palmira.
Climate and topography
The county has a varied topography because of the Central and West Andean Mountains. The major part of the territory consists of slopes, one of the major causes of erosion, between 2.600 and 4.500 meters above sea level, with an average temperature of 13.7° Celsius. There are two seasons: winter (rain) and summer (warm, dry and windy).
The language of the indigenous is Kichwa. The majority of the indigenous are bilingual (Kichwa-Spanish).
Kichwa descendants of the Puruha-tribe: 95%
White and mestizo population: 5%
During the last decade, lots of mestizos who lived in the village, have crossed the frontiers to Spain and the USA to improve their economic situation. Instead, some indigenous families have come to live in the village.
The main activity is agriculture. The most cultivated crops are potatoes, beans and barley. The Thursday market is one of the most important indigenous markets of Ecuador and reflects the dynamism of commerce. During the last decade, lots of family-run micro-enterprises have been founded for handicrafts and industrialization of cattle and fish.
Education is the most problematic area. Due to poorly trained teachers and lack of community participation (amongst others), the quality of education is horrible. In 1990 illiteracy rate was still 37.55 % amongst the population older than 10 years and 44.2 % amongst the population older than 15 years.
Three times a week, the train passes through Guamote and stops for half an hour. While local people sell their “empanadas” and “cervezas”, the Inti Sisa girls sell their self-produced handicrafts. Interesting to know is that the municipality of Guamote offered us one of the wooden kiosks that will be located soon on the newly renovated market place.
On Thursday, tourists can visit Ecuador’s most authentic indigenous market in Guamote. Thanks to contacts with travel agencies and operators, Inti Sisa receives foreign visitors and offers them a short guided tour in our educational centre, ending with the workplace for sewing and embroidery, which is where tourists can buy our handicrafts and observe the girls while they make them.
How to get to Guamote?
From Quito: take the bus to Cuenca and get of in Guamote (+/-5 h) on the Panamericana at the 2nd gas station OR take the bus to Riobamba and change to a local bus to Guamote (until 6pm) at one square of the terminal.
From Cuenca: take a bus to Quito and get of in Guamote (+/-5 h) on the Panamericana at the 1st gas station.
From Baños: take the bus to Riobamba, change to a local bus to Guamote.
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