- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Sustainable Tourism
- Off the beaten track
I left Guamote in the morning and I decided to stop off at the rural community of Calpi before returning to Quito, primarily to try some of the various activities offered by the local women's association, which is trying to develop an alternative form of tourism. The project arose out of a desire to improve living conditions for local people, limit the rural exodus, and preserve the local culture.
I arrived around midday and was met and welcomed by the French priest responsible for supervising the project. Meals are normally taken communally, but here I was on my own (I seem to have a gift for choosing places where there are very few tourists: something I've managed to do many times in Ecuador!).
So what I now had ahead of me was three days enjoying the various activities available: a visit to the Palacio Real, which is a facility dedicated to the llama and includes a museum and a restaurant, the only one in the country that serves the meat of the animal (it's reputed to be very rich in protein); short walks through the local fields and villages, which I did leading a llama on a leash (!); and visiting and exploring former haciendas now left to go to wrack and ruin. I also climbed up the local hills around the area, especially along the irrigation canals, and while doing so took advantage of the opportunity to purchase some of the local products: jewellery, soaps, jams, etc. This is one of those places to visit if you enjoy getting off the beaten track!