Discovering the magic on every corner of our beloved Ecuador is undoubtedly an adventure. This time we’ll visit a small secluded Andean town with only 15 thousand inhabitants, yet great in touristic and cultural treasures: San José de Chimbo.
Chimbo, like all the towns founded by the Spaniard conquerors in the Americas, has a main central park or plaza surrounded by the houses of wealthy families, the church and the local government institutions. Starting from here you can take a walking tour around its streets and admire the charm and beauty of this town. On a walk around town you’ll spot some main architectural centennial relics such as the Torreón where a clock still marks the hours on time for more than 200 years.
Talking about fascinating places, the Cathedral is The meeting point for the Catholic faithful and a touristic stop for strangers. Historical data reveal that its was built stone by stone for at that time gluing techniques with concrete or lime where unknown in the region.
The Virgin of Guayco‘s Sanctuary is another religious site that congregates more than 100,000 visitors every year, mainly in September, when they come from all corners of the country on a massive pilgrimage that showcases the faith and respect for the Virgin.
This city, founded by Sebastián de Benalcázar in 1535, is the cradle of great shops and entrepenuerships that have contributed to its economic and cultural development. One of the first radio newscast of Ecuador, «The Voice of the Liberator», was the microphone for musicians, orators, writers, journalists and many others who lead the voice for its humble and hard-working people.
But Chimbo is not only known for its colonial goods, we can’t miss out the outskirt villages and farms where time seems to have stopped or at least slowed down to keep these lovely sights untouched for the preservation of old traditions.
Without hesitation, I would dare to foretell the touristic potential as a main activity for this land. It only takes a quick chat with a local elder to be filled with emotion while listening to the story of «The Giant Lady of La Magdalena», a woman of incredible strength and more than two meters tall. Rumor has it these particular features drew the attention of a Russian and a Chilean entrepreneur and circus owners who hired her for a tour around the country.
Food in Chimbo is simply delicious. To start, you can sweeten life with the famous local snacks; traditional sweets made of white sugar and peanuts and packaged on cylindrical paper cartridges.
To quench hunger, try the pork cooked on wood ovens with recipes more than 70 years old. White hominy and a sauce made with lettuce, red onion, salt and spices are the perfect sides for this delicious meal.
However, for people looking for variety, there are other culinary delights that are typical of the city such as: corn bread, pambazo (whole wheat bread made with wheat flour), guinea pig roasted with potatoes, tortillas (wheat and corn), artisan ice creams, candies, among others. All these culinary delights are sold in the food court of the La Merced market.
Chimbo will end up being a box of surprises for our trip. So today we propose you to discover Ecuador from home in order to very soon pack your bags and fulfill the promise to continue touring the beautiful destinations of the country.