Lake Quilotoa, Kichwa people, legend of the condor and Banos

Faithful disciples, here He is again. This time He will tell you of a spectacular lake inside a volcanic crater and Banos, a tourist place with thermal baths.

The lake Quilotoa was born about a thousand years ago following the collapse of a volcano. The volcano has a diameter of 3.15 km and is still active, the last eruption occurred in 1799.


Almost all the local women, and girls too, wear a felt hat, even indoors.


25% of the Ecuadorian population is indigenous. The descendants of the Incas are the largest of the 13 indigenous communities in Ecuador and are called Kichwa, as their language, used today by about two and a half million people. The Kichwa is part of the family of Quechua languages, spoken by over 7 million people in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.


Little girl. And more photos of boys and girls.





The family that ran the posada where I was, near the lake. I slept in another house, barely heated by a small wood-burning stove. The night, after the fire run out, it started to be very cold.

There I read a little book for children in Kichwa, Spanish and English, very well illustrated, about a Kichwa legend, the legend of the condor in love:

The spirit Pachakama created the universe. After a while, he realized he needed a flying messenger that could carry and receive messages from Earth.
With his companion Pachamama, the female spirit of fertility, and other forces of the universe (Sun, Moon, etc…) created an egg. From it, came out a little condor.
The condor immediately began to do his duty, sending messages and receiving inquiries from Earth. To communicate he used the kipus, ie colored cords, and dreams.
But after few years the condor began to feel lonely. “Everyone has a companion, even the rabbits, only I am alone …”. And he began to seek love.
Fluttering in the Andes, he saw a girl who grazed sheep. He immediately fell in love and, after stealing a poncho to appear more beautiful, appeared to her.
She mistook him for a guy with pants to his knees and after speaking at length, she fell in love as well.
When she realized that he was a condor, he takes her on air. At the beginning she is a little scared, but soon she becomes captivated by the places over which passes: the lake Quilotoa, the picks of Ilizinas, the Chimborazo, and the sacred volcanoes Cotopaxi and Tungurahua.
Eventually they arrive on a kunturmatzi, one of the quarries on the high Andes, where he lives. He picks her lovingly and, for each peck, feathers grow on the girl.
At home, meanwhile, they are worried. It’s night and the dog, who saw where they went, drives the girl’s family and the entire village to the nest of the condor.
When they arrive there, the villagers chase away the condor and recover the girl.
Parents lock her in the house, but the girl, burning some straw, send a message to the condor, that comes back and take her again.
This time they fly up until a very high kunturmatzi. There, the condor pecks her lovingly and feathers grow on her. When the villagers reach the nest, she is completely transformed into a bird, a female condor, and parents must accept the fait. Pachakama and Pachamama are happy because now there is a greater connection with the people of Earth to send and receive messages.
And still today, when a girl goes to graze, parents warn her: “Beware the condor!”


Little girls near Zumbahua, the most close town near lake Quilotoa.


Banos it’s a peaceful resort, surrounded by steep mountains all around. One of its features are the thermal baths.


Ecuador is full of volcanoes, including Chimborazo, 6310 meters, but no longer active, and the Taita Cotopaxi, 5897 meters, among the highest active in the world, and sacred place of the Andean Kichwa.
The volcano near Banos is Tungurahua. And I’ve just discovered something curious: looking now on Internet to see when it erupted last time I found that happened three days ago, on April 30, when I was already here! (link: ). Earthquakes and tremors of the earth, pillars of smoke, ashes, but I haven’t noticed anything!


In Banos you can do many activities like rafting, climbing the canyon, bungee jumping etc. … I did the “canopy” (as this Argentinian guy in the photo) which consists in attaching to a hook on a wire cable and flying down into the valley below.
I had done something similar in Warsaw, where, however, the route was short and the scenery not spectacular.
Here the cable was a 1 km long and the flight lasted about a minute. Unlike what you might think, was not at all a scary experience, and actually was relaxing, I flew silently, with the river flowing just below.
But I haven’t figured out what help would have been the helmet, falling from that height.


Later, I discovered that more than a helmet it would have saved me a magic formula, as seen in this painting in the main church of Banos. In fact, to Mr. Paulino Gavilanes back in June 1889 something similar happened, but after pronouncing the words “Madre mia de Augua Santa” (“Holy Mother of Augua”), he was taken and carried to safety by the Virgin.
Well, we must recognize that the legend of the condor is much better than this bullshit.


A strange church, on the road that drops down from the mountains of Banos for about 40 km to the forest. Full of waterfalls and beautiful scenery, pleasant to do on a bike, also because it is mostly downhill.
And coming back up? And for coming back I took a ride from a truck eeeehhhh not stupid dekaro!


The most beautiful place along the way is the Diablo (devil) waterfall.


You can get very close, where the water falls and where springs. It ‘s impossible to describe the feeling of strength and momentum that emanates the jet, among other things, to its fullest, because we are at the end of the rainy season (and in fact since I arrived in Ecuador I’m taking a lot water).


Crawling under a path into the rock, you get behind the waterfall. There, you feel one with the mighty force of nature, a continuous roar, almost mesmerizing.


The is instead the cascade of the Virgin of holy water, and indeed compared to that of Diablo is docile and timid. It is located right next to the thermal baths and is always visible from Banos.


Candles in honor of the Virgin of Holy Water in the main church of Banos.

And that’s all for this time. Kisses! :-)

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