Destino de Colores - Colorful destinations of Pichincha
- The colors of La Merced undoubtedly correspond to the green and ocher tones of its hot springs, or even better to the contrast of the Ilaló grasslands with the blues of the Pichincha sky.
- La Merced, Aloasí, Calacalí, Calderón, Lloa, Mindo, Machachi, Pacto, Pedro Vicente Maldonado, Píntag, Pomasqui, are part of the Destino de Colores campaign, they are a select group of rural destinations of Pichincha province that offer to tourists a variety of tourism experiences oriented to contact with nature and culture; as well as sustainable and community tourism experiences.
- Prefectura de Pichincha, through the Destino de Colores campaign, promotes the entrepreneurial spirit of Pichincha people.
What should you know about La Merced?
- La Merced is a rural town of 31.86 square kilometers, located 25 km South East of Quito, in Valle de Los Chillos.
- It is located at a height of 2,800 meters above sea level, and reaches a maximum height of 3,140 meters above sea level in the upper part of Ilaló.
- The average annual temperature of La Merced is 16°C.
- La Merced is known for its sports centers, hot springs and its privileged access to Ilaló.
- La Merced was founded on May 4th, 1964.
- After some archaeological investigations carried out in the Ilaló region, ancient human settlements and Pleistocene fauna (remains of mastodons and mylodonts) have been identified there.
- Its name was selected in honor of the Virgin of La Merced.
Sightseeing attractions in La Merced
Complejo turístico Ilaló
- Complejo turístico Ilaló is designed for practicing mountain biking.
- Cyclists love this place because of the steep slopes, irregular roads and majestic landscapes. By the end of the journey a relaxing bath in the hot springs will be mandatory.
- Its hot springs are considered as healing therapy to treat injuries, they come from the Ilaló volcano and maintain a temperature of 35°C.
- 2 hot springs pools, 1 basketball court, 1 soccer field, 1 lagoon, 1 trail, green areas, bridges and children's games are the best options for vacations.
- The facilities are available every week from Tuesday to Sunday.
- The entrance fee is about $4 USD for adults and $2 USD for children.
La Merced thermal waters spa
- There are thermal water pools fed by three springs. Iron, aluminum, calcium, sodium and potassium sulfates make up its famous medicinal waters.
- This spa includes a bar-restaurant, green spaces, sports courts, and restrooms. It is open from Monday to Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- The entrance fee is about $5 USD per adult and $2 USD for children.
Complejo turístico La Cocha
- The contours of the spa are made of sand and stone, and cement stairs have been built along its edges, so that people can sit down and access the river.
- This beautiful place includes an indoor heated pool, sauna, Turkish bath and hydromassage, soccer, basketball, and volleyball courts; a playground, restaurant with banquet service and a large parking lot. It is open from Thursday to Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
El Aliso Agroecological Farm
- Special pools designed for red and black trout farming are the main attraction.
- Around its fruit trees you will hear the chirping of a wide variety of birds that inhabit the area.
- The facilities also have a swimming pool for adults and children; and a restaurant whose specialties are fresh trout.
- The paths, terraces and every corner of the farm have been built using recycled materials, such as tires.
El Ilaló viewpoint
- The Ilaló volcano has a small caldera very eroded to the West, where you can see remains of very old volcanic lava flows. There is a small cone called Milivaro to the South.
- 5 giant dinosaurs located in strategic places along the trail, serve as a relaxing point for adventurers seeking to reach the summit of the hill.
Church of La Merced and Central park
- Inside this church, you can admire the image of the Virgin of La Merced, donated in 1928 by the owners of the hacienda La Merced.
- Around this temple you can also see the central park that is the traditional meeting point of La Merced. The surrounding houses are decorated with hanging plants.
- The Ecological routes were made by the community members in the Ilaló. These routes will lead you to the Cross, to the ravines and to the native mountains.
- La Merced is the ideal destination to practice this sport.
- Those who practice mountain biking can walk the cobbled roads of the high neighborhoods and relax in a bath in the hot springs.
Gastronomy of La Merced
- The typical dishes are hornado (baked meat pork), cuyes (kind of guinea pigs), sopa de gallina criolla (chicken soup), corn, and potatoes.
- Also you will find mashcasango, cheese tortillas, potted wheat tortillas, and morocho (sweet beverage).
Popular Festivals of La Merced
Holy week festivities
- During the celebration of the Holy week, the residents participate in various processions to represent and remember the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
La Merced celebration
- On May 4th, the local government of La Merced organizes many activities to celebrate the legal creation of this beautiful small town.
- Tourists will enjoy dances, typical food, fireworks, among other activities.
- During this religious festival held at the beginning of June, a large procession is held. The residents dress up as dancers and rucos who dance to the rhythm of the pingullero (musician who plays the pingullo, an aerophone instrument accompanied by a box or drum ), around the Mama Palla, a doll approximately 2.5 meters high, that represents an indigenous queen.
Celebration in honor of the La Merced Virgin
- Every year on September 24th, the residents paint their faces black and dance and shout in honor of La Merced Virgin.
Pase del Niño
- Regarding catholic celebrations in La Merced, one of the most important is called Pase del Niño (sculpture of a child Jesus)
- People dance in costumes on the streets of La Merced.
- This celebration usually is in February of each year.