On my first visit to the Loja Province, Saraguro, I stayed at a small, family-run hostel just down the road from a friend’s childhood home. It was an adventure that introduced me to a new Andean culture, Saraguro.

I spent a week hiking local trails and heading into town to watch the Independence Day. I roamed city streets, ate Andean food, and photographed hundreds of people in local costume. I enjoyed collecting pictures of the iconic wool hats painted in black and white, of short dark pants protected by off-white muslin covers, of long dark wrap-around skirts, and of brightly embroidered blouses. But most of all, I enjoyed collecting smiles.

The people of Saraguro are proud of their heritage and the costumes I saw during the parade were also on display, if in a more sedate form, throughout the week. Saraguros are not unused to tourists or photographers but the entire process of taking photos of the population is certainly made easier when a parade is taking place.

I highly recommend staying in a single location in a smaller town in the Andes, especially if you are hoping for pictures that capture the culture. Saraguro is not high on the list for luxury tourists, but for those of you with a little patience, a spattering of Spanish, and a desire to explore, it has a lot to offer.

There are many articles to come about my time spent in the South of Ecuador. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos. They barely scratch the surface of this beautiful place.

Click on any photo to open a slideshow with further descriptions of each photo.

Ecuador Por Mis Ojos

Recently, the Instituto Geografico Militar of Ecuador and I released a book of photography, Ecuador Por Mis Ojos. This post shares photos from that book.

If you would like to see other photos from the book, please check out: