Bolivar Province

Bolívar  is the smallest province in Ecuador, but it has a lot to offer.  Know here about all its tourist places, its gastronomy, as well as its culture and traditions.

Bolívar, Province of Charms and Dreams

In the heart of the mountains of Ecuador we find the province of Bolívar, it is a province rich in traditions, culture and gastronomy.

The main activities of the province of charms and dreams are trade, livestock, industry and agriculture. In the province many the products of the zone are commercialized, such as: panela, aguardiente also known as "Blue Bird" of Bolivar, wool, dairy products and fabrics.

Wool from natural fibers, dairy products and handicrafts are elaborated  in micro-businesses in the parish Salinas.

Bolivar Tourism

Tourist Attractions of Bolivar

  • Sanctuary of the Virgin of Lourdes: This Grotto is an authentic replica of the one that exists in the French Perineos known with the name of Lourdes, it is said that Mother of God appeared there.
  • Sanctuary of the Virgen of Guayco: One of the places to visit in the province of Bolívar, a sanctuary where believers from all over the country come to worship.
  • Salinas de Guaranda: It is a town of Bolívar that among its tourist attractions account for the artisanal production of cheese and chocolate.
  • Miraculous Waterfall: South of the town of Balsapamba, next to the road you can see a waterfall, whose strength and minerals have attributed miraculous properties.
  • Waterfall laurels of Altamira: It is located in the canton Echeandía, at Los Laureles. Its waters are crystal clear and they lead to a dike that has been built as a pool for tourists who come to the site. The waterfall is surrounded by a forest abundant and greenish where species of flora and fauna are found endemic to the sub tropics, it is part of the Altamira Tourist Center.
  • Chilanes Bucay protective forest: In this attraction you will find native flora of the place such as: anturio, arrayán, raft, mountain bejuco, caimito, cauchillo, chilca, chonta, white tail, copal, duco, figueroa, frutipán, guabo, guarumo, fern, wicundo, jigua, lemongrass, matapalo, piñán, tagua, manglillo, moral, orange tree, olive, palm, palmito, zuro.
  • Las mellizas waterfall: A 60 meters waterfall and approximately 10 meters at the base where the water falls. It can be visited in dry or rainy season. The water that flows is transparent with a bluish color and has a temperature that varies according to the seasonality of the year. Refering to flora you can see diversity of species.
  • Piedra Blanca Waterfall: It is located in the community of Miran Baja, in the Chillanes canton, this place is made up of four waterfalls of great singularity and different height, making it a spectacular landscape for tourists.

Climate of Bolivar

The province has a varied climate that goes from the cold of the moors to the warm of the subtropical zones with temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees celsius. The territory is broken and mountainous, crossing the Chimbo mountain range that comes from the western plateau of the Chimborazo at a height of 4 thousand meters above the sea level. The western area that located in the foothills of the mountain range is low and enjoys a subtropical climate.

Gastronomy of Bolivar Ecuador

Among the typical dishes of the area are: the Moloco or potato cake, corn tortillas in pot, fries pork,  Sancocho, fritters and green balls.

  • Morocho: Is a sweet drink that is made from a type of corn called morocho, milk is attached to this drink, as well as raisins, cinnamon and panela.
  • Fritters: It is a dough of flour that is fried. The dough  can be mixed with water, milk, egg or yeast, and can carry a stuffing that can be sweet or savory.
  • Sancocho: This is a soup of Spanish origin that has remained over the years with variations depending on the region in which it is carried out, in Bolívar the sancocho is made of beef, cassava, corn and green banana base.
  • Quimbolitos: Cakes, made with flour corn, butter, egg, cheese, raisins, in some cases they carry chocolate pieces, steamed wrapped in achira leaves.
  • Chigüiles de Guaranda: This is a typical Ecuadorian dish, it comes from the city of Guaranda, famous for being the cradle of chigüil.  The dish is mainly enjoyed at Carnival,  its flavor depends on two conditions: the leaf must be fresh not very tender or very ripe and the cheese must be the so-called "indian cheese” that is typical of the city.
  • Bluebird: This is an alcoholic beverage and its appearance is of bluish color and according to local sources among its ingredients are orange leaves, tangerine, broth and chicken meat and cane aniseed. It is one of the preferred drinks by the inhabitants and tourists visiting the traditional carnival held in the streets of Guaranda annually.

Bolívar Culture and Traditions

The province has two main celebrations that highlight its interculturality and traditional wealth, it is about the Carnival of Bolivar and of the day of the dead.

 Day of the Dead

  • On the days before November 2, family members come to the cemetery to fix the niches: they paint them, they fix the vases, they emphasize the names, and clean the tombs that are on the floor, remove the herbs, paint crosses and names.
  • In Guaranda, whites and mestizos celebrate this festivity, commissioning a mass for the rest of the deceased and attending Catholic masses. Then all the family visits the city cemetery or that of the Cathedral Church, they place floral offerings in the graves of their loved ones and pray for the eternal rest of that soul.
  • On this date the special feature is the food, it is traditional to cook guaguas de pan (bread in the shape of children) and colada morada (thick hot drink), its contains cornmeal is mortiño, blackberry and other ingredients such as pineapple, ishpingo (flower of the cinnamon), clove, sugar and myrtle. Colada morada and gauges de pan  are shared with family and friends.

Guaranda Carnival

  • Like other celebrations in the region, it is a mixture of festivities originated in the Catholic religion and in Inca rites. Its way of celebration unites the two cultures; indigenous and mestizo-european. The religious celebration represents the three days before Lent of Easter week; the other, the pre-Columbian indigenous, is related to the fertility of the earth, this is why a lot of water is used in the Carnival.

History of the province of Bolívar

In pre-Columbian times, the area was populated by the Puruhá, which were numerous ethnic groups of indigenous who occupied the provinces of Chimborazo, Bolívar, Tungurahua and part of Cotopaxi of Ecuador.

In the 18th century, Guaranda became the most important commercial center of the region, that is why in 1702 the Corregimiento was founded in Guaranda; while in 1776 the Chimbo Corregimiento disappears and Guaranda is assigned all its jurisdiction. It was elevated to Villa at the beginning of 1800, years later it was constituted into a canton of the Republic.

The Province of Bolivar was constituted as such by having leaders who longed for their administrative independence. Many were the previous pronouncements of important social groups of Guaranda, Guanujo and Chimbo, who made their requests to the Government and National Congress.

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