We woke up early on a Thursday morning, eager to explore a part of Quito, Ecuador that we had never visited before. Sangolquí is located in Valle de los Chillos, which is a suburb on the southeast corner of the Quito metro area.
A Beautiful Day to Explore Sangolquí Ecuador
It was a perfect day to visit this picturesque mountain town, and it greeted us with a bright blue sky and an ideal temperature. The sun was shining, and the air was filled with the sounds of the bustling town.
Our first stop was Parque Central, the large square at the center of town where a beautiful white church stood in stark contrast against the blue sky. It was the perfect vantage point to get the flavor of Sangolquí, its people and its colorful architecture.
As we continued our tour of the town, we were delighted to find that several of the streets had been converted into pedestrian walkways. This created a European feel, and it was enjoyable to simply stroll and take in the sights.
A couple blocks from the church, we stumbled upon Centro Cultural Villa Carmen. The cultural center has a small park with large palm trees and a peaceful atmosphere. It was the perfect place to rest and soak in the beauty of Sangolquí.
After leaving the park, we noticed two young street musicians playing stringed instruments. They were extremely talented and their music added to the ambiance of the town.
Sangolquí is famous for its maíz (corn) and there are several sculptures around town honoring it. In fact, the valley where Sangolquí is located is called Valle de los Chillos in honor of the Chillos corn grown by indigenous people in this area for more than a thousand years.
Thursday Outdoor Mercado in Sangolquí Ecuador
As we made our way towards the weekly outdoor mercado, our senses were overwhelmed by the sights and smells of the local cuisine. The market was a vibrant hub of activity, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
However, one of the most memorable experiences of our visit was when we came across a stall selling cacho, or fried worms! Sangolquí is also famous for this delicacy and the elderly lady vendors could be heard yelling “CAAAACHOOOO!!!” throughout the market.
We were told that cacho tastes good, but that was not on our menu for the day. Instead, we had our tastes set for yet another type of treat that appeals to a wider range of palates.
Sangolquí Ecuador: More Than Just a Historic Town
If munching on bugs isn’t your idea of a great meal, don’t worry! Valle de los Chillos has plenty more to offer:
- Clean and safe environment
- Pedestrian-only areas
- A young, vibrant population thanks to the prestigious ESPE university
- Historic buildings and plenty of parks and green spaces
- Golf course communities
- Convenient location close to San Luis mall, downtown Quito, and the international airport
- Excellent healthcare facilities, including doctors and hospitals
- A lush, green landscape due to higher rainfall
- Moderate temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) lows to 29°C (84°F) highs
Valle de los Chillos: Pretty Awesome, but Not Perfect
While Valle de los Chillos is an enchanting destination, there are a few downsides to keep in mind:
- High elevation at 2,500 meters (8,200 feet)
- A large population of 300,000 people, comparable to the size of Cuenca
- Traffic and ongoing road construction
- Proximity to Cotopaxi, an active volcano, posing risks for lava and mudflows in low-lying areas and potential ash concerns
Final Thoughts About Sangoquí Ecuador
We ended our tour back in Parque Central at Heladería Victoria. This place has been in business for more than 80 years and claims to be the “legitimate and original artisans” of helado de paila, which is shaved ice cream. It has a texture and flavor that’s similar to sherbet, except it’s made with shaved ice and fruit juice without milk. We each enjoyed a double scoop and it was delicious!
Valle de los Chillos and the historic town of Sangolqui are hidden gems near Quito, Ecuador. With their rich history, beautiful surroundings, and exciting market scene, they’re well worth a visit. While there are a few downsides to consider, the overall experience of exploring this charming area is unforgettable.
Our visit to Sangolquí was an unforgettable experience filled with delicious food, charming sights, and memorable experiences. We will definitely go back to this beautiful Ecuadorian town in the future.
Watch Our Video from Sangolquí Ecuador
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!