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Cahuasqui is a beautiful, but remote village where the residents depend largely on subsistence agriculture. Their farming techniques employ methods which have remained unchanged over the course of centuries. The area's main draw is the Cahuasqui plateau, which has about 20 burial and ceremonial mounds scattered around. The plateau was a strategic stronghold of the Caranqui culture between 500 and 1,500 BC; ancient agricultural terraces can still be identified where they cut into the land.

In times past, cotton and maize were grown on the terraces. Nowadays, the land continues to be used by the local people for the cultivation of maize and other vegetable food crops. Cahuasqui also has a huge ceremonial pyramid, which was partially destroyed by bulldozers in order the use the ground for agriculture, but is nevertheless worth a visit if you are in the area. In the smaller Cahuasqui park, there is evidence of the last Caranqui calendar that exists in Ecuador. The calendar was carved on a huge stone and, in order to protect the archaeological piece, the local people mounted the stone in cement. Now, all you can see is half of the main façade.

There is also a small, private, archaeological museum in the main plaza close to the church. Ask for Pablo Montalvo, a young enthusiast (collector of archaeological pieces) who will be happy to show you his museum for free—but might expect a small tip. He only speaks Spanish, but can also act as a guide for tolas (mounds) and pyramids in the areas.

The town is located about 45 kilometers (28 mi) from Ibarra, and takes about two hours to get there via public bus.


Other places nearby Cahuasqui: Mascarilla, Salinas Valley, Tumbabiro and San Antonio De Ibarra.

18 Mar 2013

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