Chaski Route – Magdalena Karanki Community
The Kichwa- Karanki indigenous community of Magdalena is located at approximately 9,842 feet above sea level at the slopes of the Imbabura Volcano with a most privileged location surrounded by valleys and lagoons, home to Atahualpa, the last of the Inca Emperors. It is immersed in this remarkably breathtaking pastoral setting that the Karanki keep the same harmonious relationship with their environment they’ve kept for centuries, tending to their livestock, cultivating their land and enjoying the clear mountain air.
We have developed a social and community-based tourism project to help them improve their living conditions by creating jobs and promoting ethnotourism. We have adequate comfortable rooms with private bathroom and hot water so tourists who want to participate in their cultural traditions can lodge with them and enjoy exquisite meals prepared with the crops of the land and the sumptuous mornings of the magnetic Ecuadorian Andes.
Admire the talented embroidery of tablecloths, breadbasket cloths, shirts and blouses. You will also encounter farm animals central to their everyday life such as guinea pigs, chickens, pigs, cows, and sheep.
There are 5 comfortable houses to receive guests:
All of them have the following amenities: private bathroom with cold and hot water, hairdryer, biodegradable soap and shampoo, fireplace, board games.
Casa de los Girasoles (Sunflower): 2 double rooms (2 single beds), 1 room with a double bed and an attic where there are two couch beds.
Casa de los Cipreses (cypress): 1 triple room
Casa de las Rosas (roses): 1 double room
Casa de los Geranios (geraniums): 1 double room
Casa del Arrayán (myrtle): 1 room for 4 guests, 1 double room, and 1 single room. Total 7 guests.
Total pax that can overnight in the community: 20 guests
Seminars in areas such as accounting, health and hygiene, English and general hotel administration have been our contribution to help the community manage itself sustainably, and we donated countless books that became a public library throughout the school year.
Our goal is to create international recognition for the entire area as a high-end tourism destination, through which we hope to improve the living conditions of the people who make it so special.
This hidden mountain nice can also be absorbed in a series of optional activities:
Min 2 passengers
3 hrs 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Cunrro Hill: 10843 feet.
Difficulty Level: Low.
Cunrro is a low mountain located 8 mi (13 km.) south of Ibarra and southeast of Cubilche.
Departure from Magdalena accompanied by a local community guide. This area features precious natural resources and beautiful landscapes. On your way, encounter thrushes, kestrels, and wild rabbits. We will admire highland plant species such as Pine, Rosemary, Andean Lupin, Paramo Grass, Paper Tree, Ivory Feather, etc.
8 hrs 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Horseback ride
4 hrs 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Cubilche Hill & Lagoon: 15833 feet
Difficulty Level: Intermediate.
Departure from the indigenous community of Magdalena, accompanied by a local community guide. On the slopes of Cubilche Volcano natural caves and abandoned mines previously used for building material extraction shelter a variety of different animal and plant species.
At the summit, we will explore the remains of different crater formations. In one of them we can find a lagoon of approximately 100 meters in diameter and perhaps 1 meter deep.
This peak is a privileged lookout site of the beautiful San Pablo Lake and surrounding populated areas. To the northeast you’ll be able to see the valley of Ibarra and Lake Yahuarcocha; to the east the snow-capped Cayambe and Zuleta Valley; and to the west Mount Imbabura.
• Shepherding in the Andean Paramo
2 hrs 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Difficulty Level: Easy
Early in the morning you can join in on local shepherding activities.
For the indigenous Karanki community of Magdalena shepherding is of central importance. Shepherds use their animals for wool and meat. They are rather common in the highlands and their wool protects them from rain and low temperatures.
Accompanied by a local guide, you can also admire the beautiful landscapes of this Andean region.
• Crop Planting & Harvesting
Community members demonstrate local planting techniques, including the materials and animals used to farm a variety of products including potatoes, quinoa, lupin, corn, beans, wheat and other vegetables depending on their harvesting seasons.
To plow their land they use oxen, and have no need for fuel, thus protecting their environment. The Karanki culture creates their own “guachos” (rows of land for sowing), and use spades, curved shovels and yokes, or wooden rests with hoes attached to them that the ox pulls as it plows the land.
• Mountain Biking
Cayambe - Magdalena (33 km.)
Magdalena - San Pablo Lake (21 km.)
Magdalena - Ibarra (12 km.)
Difficulty Level: Easy, intermediate, difficult.
On our way we admire breathtaking views of Andean sown fields and indigenous villages and their homes. Includes supply vehicle and box lunch.
• Homemade Cheese Tasting with “Home Bread” & Medicinal Herbal Teas
Members of the community will describe and explain cheese-making processes consisting of milk fermentation, ripening, straining and maturation, as well as the equipment used.
Cheese is customarily accompanied by “home bread” and an herbal tea handpicked from the communal garden: lemon balm, mint, cinnamon, chamomile or lemon verbena. An explanation of their healing properties will be provided.
• Bonfire & Canelazo
2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. approx.
An outdoor bonfire will keep you in harmony with nature, as you accompany the views with a delicious canelazo - a traditional boiled fruit drink from the Ecuadorian Andes (can contain alcohol upon request).
• Dance Performance
Enjoy the charm of ancestral folk music and dance and the beauty of traditional Karanki clothing.
What to Bring
• Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
• Rubber boots (for rent at the community).
• Waterproof pants.
• Windbreakers, warm evening clothes.
• Cap or hat, sunscreen, insect repellent.
• Small waterproof backpack.
• Plastic bags for garbage.