Ecuador // The southern sierra //


Seven kilometres south of El Tambo, CAÑAR is a small town with narrow, twisting streets lined by attractive, colonial-style architecture. It’s normally very quiet, but bursts into life on Sunday mornings with its weekly market – a good place to admire the beautifully embroidered skirts and blouses the local women are famous for, as well as the finely woven belts the men wear, embellished with intricate motifs on both sides; you might also see men wearing traditional samarros, sheepskin trousers used for horseriding. While Cañar is a more appealing place than El Tambo, which is just a ten-minute bus ride away, the accommodation here is not particularly inspiring: on the plaza, at the corner of Pichincha and Bolívar, the ageing Residencial Mónica (t07/2235486; $11–15) has small but relatively clean rooms, while those at Ingapirca, at Sucre and 5 de Junio (t07/2235201; $16–20), are faded and musty but have TVs and private bath (none too clean by some reports). A basic bunch of restaurants, all offering simple menus del día, include Los Maderos on Calle Pichincha, or the Reino Cañari or the Florida International, both on 5 de Junio.

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