"Cayambe - A town in the middle of the world" Cayambe by tejanasueca

Cayambe Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 72 photos

The city of Cayambe, situated 1.5hrs northeast of Quito, got its name from the Volcano that towers over it (at 5790m). The volcano Cayambe, which essentially is situated right on the equator, is the third highest in Ecuador, but it is the most dangerous to climb as the routs to the top are steep. The people in the city mostly use the volcano to predict the weather: if it's a clear day and the volcano has a lot of snow, it will be a cold night. If the volcano is covered in clouds (which is the most common), the climate will be milder.

The city of Cayambe is a medium size city and has most things you need to live comfortably(except, of course, large shoe sizes... you might have to go to Quito for that!). The city is charming and while it has some tourist activities (the closest most tourists come to Cayambe is when they pass by 10km west of it on their way to Otavalo) and you see one or antoher tourist, there are not that many gringos and therefore the city feels more authentic Ecuadorian (which is unusual in this country!). Most non-ecuadoreans you will see will either be volunteers working in the nearby villages, or Peace Corps doing their three month training. Of course, then you also have the german family that owns and runs a small café close to the plaza (look at "restaurant tips"). However, don´t let this less touristy look fool you, there are plenty of things to do in the area around Cayambe, including incredible mountain lakes and indigenous ruins.

Flower Plantations

The countryside area is surrounded by flower plantations and farms. The area is actually one of the biggest producers of flowers in the world, with its biggest export market being the USA. Because of the manual labor needed to run the platations, the population in the area is constantly expanding. While the flower plants have helped some families to improve their standard of living, it has also negatively affected the farming in the area and the population increase puts high pressure on such things like schools and health care. The long hours people put in at the flower plantations also affect the time they have left over to look after their children, and to pay for child care is way too expensive for most. Many of the people working in the flower plants live in the nearby town of Tabacundo or in the small communities surrounding it.

A couple of facts about Cayambe
The biggest festival in Cayambe is San Pedro, a festivale with ancient roots that celebrates the summer solstice in June. If you want to experience traditional music, dance, and colorful costums, this is the place to be.

Cayambe, is the main access point for the Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Not too touristy...
  • Cons:A little bit out of the way
  • In a nutshell:A regular Ecuadorian highland town
  • Last visit to Cayambe: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 15, 2006
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