Spend Some Time Sightseeing in Alausí

Located in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador, Alausí is one of the stops for the Tren Crucero and an interesting town to explore. Many of the buildings in Alausí are more than 100 years old and the town has a number of public parks for locals and visitors to enjoy. One of the more prominent landmarks is the monument of the patron saint of the town, Saint Peter (San Pedro) which can be seen from virtually anywhere in Alausí as it stands at around 14 meters tall upon a high pedestal situated on a hill. An 18th century church constructed from stone transported from the mines of Chiripungo is another landmark visitors should be sure to see when visiting Alausí.

Alausí was reportedly named San Pedro de Alausí by Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar (1480-1551), who chose to include the name of the patron saint of Quito. The town was later officially named Alausí, serving as an administrative entity of the Government of Quito. When Quito initiated its quest for independence in 1810, the town elected Captain José Antonio Pontón as its representative. When the first assembly took place in 1811, he signed the 1812 Carta de Estada de Quito recognizing the new government of Quito.

Attractions in the vicinity of Alausí include the Ingapirca ruins which visitors can reach by bus on the route to Cuenca. This fascinating archeological site sheds light on the culture of the Incas and Cañaris who once lived there. With a temple as its focal point, the ruins include storage chambers, observatories and living quarters. Archeologists are of the opinion that the site was used as a center for worshipping the sun, as was the Inca custom, as well as a fortress.

On the road between Alausí and Guayaquil is the spectacular twenty meter high Panama Waterfall, with its tropical vegetation and beautiful scenery. The waterfall tumbles down the cliff into a natural pool below. Visitors who are interested in the geological history of the region with find the giant shells (conchas) located around 46 km from Alausí. Thought to be from the Precambrian period (325 million years ago), the 25 specimens of shells belonged to a species of marine invertebrates called brachiopods.

Travelers planning on visiting Alausí may want to do so when the town is celebrating a festival. These include the traditional Carnaval, the running of the bulls and the Festival of San Pedro.

Picture attribution: Jen (Wikimedia Commons)