Explore the Fascinating Chota Valley
The Chota Valley stretches through three provinces within Ecuador, namely Esmeraldas, Imbabura and Carchi. There are numerous villages scattered throughout the Chota Valley, which are referred to as El Chota. The Chota River runs along the upper part of the valley, and is situated almost in the middle of the area that runs between the border of Columbia and the equator. Ibarra hosts the valley’s most significant market, but the nearest large city to the valley is Quito.
It is suggested that the majority of the population in the Chota Valley are of African descent and were either slaves who worked on the farms in Ecuador or those who escaped from slave ships. The massive sugar plantations were owned by Jesuits in that era, and some of the villagers still depend on sugar cane for creating an income and for personal use. Amongst the villages in the valley there is only one that carries the name of Chota and it is chiefly home Creoles who speak Spanish. The Andes Mountains are home the Quenchua speaking inhabitants who are the farmers of the area. Villagers also produce a form of brandy, farm a variety of crops, as well as goats and pigs. The residents of the Chota Valley are also known to be wonderful artists and extremely talented sculptors, not forgetting that numerous athletes of Ecuador originated from the valley. The Honko Monka Museum is a great source of information in regard to the history and culture of the tribes living in the valley.
The Chota Valley inhabitants’ deep roots in the slavery trade has kept some traditional cultural practices alive, such as bomba. Due to the dire situation of the slaves, they needed to find hope and inspiration in their own way to escape their daily torment, and one way was to express themselves through music. During celebrations, bomba music and dance performances are still part of the Chota Valley culture. Women often dance with bottles balancing on their heads, which promotes their posture and skill. Villagers wear brightly colored clothing and most of the lyrics of the songs were inspired by nature and love. Food is also a very important part of the Chota culture, and is very distinctive with dishes such as beans, chichi, chicken, rice, fish, morocho and guandul. The valley is as beautiful as its people are fascinating and friendly. This is most definitely a part of Ecuador that is worth exploring.