Semana Santa - Holy Week
Submerging yourself into a cultural tradition is probably the best way to get to know a country and its people. Ecuador is known for its colorful traditional festivals and is the perfect place to visit if you want to join the celebrations as it has countless festivities spread over the year. One of these festivities are the Easter celebrations, known here in Ecuador as Semana Santa. The Holy week takes place every year starting on Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday. During this time the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are remembered. This tour combines the religious Christian traditions with the local traditions of the indigenous people. A visit to the cemetery is part of the celebrations followed by Wakcha Karay, a tradition in which the people share food with the living and the dead. In this program you will join the families in the preparations for Semana Santa such as making the traditional fanesca Easter soup, visit the cemetery with your host family, and have fun with outdoor activities.
Day 1 – (Wednesday): In the afternoon you will arrive at the community of La Calera where you will be welcomed into the home of your host family. After you have had some time to settle in, it is time to participate in the daily activities of your family. You will help with the preparations of the fanesca dish, that is only being served this time of the year. This is a thick soup made out of 12 types of beans and grains that represent the 12 apostils. Besides ingredients like corn, lentils, peas, quinoa and peanuts the soup is garnished with sweet plantain, cheese, egg and salted cod amongst others. Although the tradition of eating fanesca is originally from Spain, Ecuadorians have given this dish a personal touch, as many of the grains that are used in the soup are unique to the Andean highlands. In the evening you will have dinner together with your host family.
Day 2 – (Thursday): After breakfast you will join your family in their daily activities, continuing the preparation of the fancesca. After lunch with your family, the afternoon will be filled with some fun activities for you to choose from. You can go horseback riding, go on a short hike at the Cuicocha crater lake or go on a mountain bike tour from Cuicocha to the community. In the evening you will have dinner together with your host family.
Day 3 – (Friday): After having enjoyed breakfast with your family, you will depart for the city of Cotacachi. Today you will join the tradition of Wakcha Karay in a visit to the cemetery where they remember their loved ones and share food in name of the deceased. Here you can also enjoy the procession of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Upon return from the procession to the community you will have lunch and some time to rest. In the afternoon you will participate in the daily activities of your host family. Together you will prepare a typical meal with cuy (guinea pig) which you will enjoy together later that evening for dinner.
Day 4 – (Saturday): After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to your host family. You will depart for Otavalo where you will visit the animal market and the famous indigenous market at Plaza de Ponchos. Although this market can be visited any day, on Saturdays it’s at its peak and spreads into the surrounding streets as well. Here you will have some time to walk around the colorful market where all kinds of handicrafts (shawls, pottery, clothing, jewelry) are being sold. Afterwards it is time to visit the – for the indigenous people sacred site – Peguche waterfall, where you will have a short hike up to the waterfall. The following activity is a visit to a local family for that runs a fabric workshop, where you will observe different traditional weaving techniques. In another small workshop you can observe the manufacturing process of Andean music instruments. Afterwards it is time to head back to Otavalo where the tour will come to an end.
- Accommodation at one of the host families of the community
- Meals from dinner on the first day until lunch on the last day
- Activities as described in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
This is a Shared Tour / Group Tour. This means that there will be other people on this tour besides yourself (or your travel party).
This tour takes places once a week in the week of Easter.
You will be picked up from your hotel in Otavalo or Quito. The exact departure time is in accordance with Adore Ecuador Travel and/or indicated on your travel voucher.
What to bring?
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Rainproof jacket
- Layered clothing
- Comfortable shoes