January 11th, 2019
Our second day in Ecuador continued in the town of El Quinche. It is located northeast of Quito between Puembo (our hosteria or hotel) and Guayllabamba, and east Mariscal Sucre International Airport. This town is notable for a church.
After the Spanish conquest, Catholicism became the predominant religion. El Santuario de El Quinche is known for an annual mass pilgrimage. It begins in Calderón at night and ends in the town of El Quinche on the morning of the 21st of November. This is in honor of La Virgen de El Quinche who made apparitions to save a community of oyacachenses from a plague of ferocious bears in the 16th century. She proposed to help if the inhabitants converted to Catholicism. Inspired and full of hope, the townspeople constructed a shrine in the cave where La Virgen de El Quinche made the apparition. Miraculously the bears were never to be seen again. For over 400 years, the pilgrimage has been a tradition.