The program is located in Riobamba, the provincial capital of Chimborazo province, in the central Ecuadorian Andes.
Riobamba is a quaint, friendly city of about 250,000 inhabitants, where the colonial and indigenous flavors have not given way completely to the modern and technological advanced western culture. Participants may stay with families, Pukara Tambo, Rincón Aleman, or at the Fundacion Duchicela's house in Cacha-Machangara. All our sites have been carefully selected for their cleanliness, safety, and friendly disposition. All of our stays have potable, hot water, electricity, an extremely clean kitchen, and a very safe, non-smoking environment.
Our families have had Cachamsi participants before and understand our program's mission. They encourage the participants to speak Spanish and include the guests in their daily family customs. All family stays are located within Riobamba and are within walking distance or a short bus ride to Hospital Andino and Hospital del Seguro. Family stays have private rooms with either private or shared bathrooms. They all offer three meals a day seven days a week and free laundry. Family stays do not have shared bedrooms, however two or three participants may stay in one family home. Family stays are assigned on a first come first served basis. All host families are non-smoking households.
All families are similar in that they are friendly, safe, and love having guests stay in their home, however, participants must be respectful and courteous their family's individual customs including curfews (usually only an issue when there is a very young child or infant in the household). Telephone use and long distance charges are not included in the fee, so participants must discuss with host families about phone use and how any charges will be reimburssed. In a nutshell, we expect participants to use common sense, i.e. don't return home at 3:30 in the morning excessively drunk. We recommend family stays simply because past Cachamsi participants have enjoyed them the most. Participants are usually amazed by how much their Spanish has improved by the end of their stay.
Casa L.F. Duchicela
The stay at the Luis Felipe Duchicela's (brother of program board member Jorge Duchicel) house in Cacha-Machangara is very special. Cacha is twenty minutes by car from Riobamba. The house is located in the village of Machangara where the the county's government offices operate. Also the Ministry of Health's Subcentro de Salud is there. The house has all the modern amenities. It has potable, hot, running water. It doesn´t have Internet but the village has electricity and paved roads. The house is clean and very safe. It has a spectacular view of the Chimborazo. The housekeeper, Clarita, stays there during the weekdays. She will cook three meals per day. On weekends the guests will make their own meals. Cacha is a rural county with twenty-one communities of indigenous inhabitants. They all speak Kichua and the majority of them also speak Spanish. Your night life will be very quiet in Cacha-Machangara. Please be aware that Cachamsi provides daily transportation on weekdays from Riobamba to Cacha. However if you want to go to Riobamba on your own, the taxi fare will cost $5.00 from Cacha-Machangara. The walk from Cacha to Riobamba, going downhill, may take at least one hour.
The stay at the Fundacion's house in Cacha-Machangara would be for the participant who is looking for a nearly complete immersion with the indigenous community and who feels very comfortable with the Spanish language. It is also important to note Cachamsi requires all participants to be non-smoking. Please refer to the "FEES" section of this website to study your choices and pick the one best for you. We hope one of them will fit your goals and expectations.
Pukara Tambo is a place of rest and meditation, which reflects the culture and identity of the Kacha people and the Great Puruwá Nation embodied in its traditions, celebrations and infrastructure with native materials of the area.
The Pukara Tambo is a religious and cultural center located a short walk from the community of Cacha-Machangara. It is used for Inti Raymi celebrations, community meetings, educational seminars, and lodging for local and foreign guests. Aside from offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Chimborazo, Pucará Tambo cabins offer private bath, storing closets, hot water, internet availability, laundry services and three meals per day.
The Pucara Tambo fees is for a single accommodation. Students may wish to share cabins voluntarily. Typically friends ask to share a cabin. There is no change in fees if participants decide to share.
The Rincon Aleman bed and breakfast is owned Elena Torres. This bed and breakfast is located in a quiet and safe part of Riobamba. It offers a clean and professional environment. The bed and breakfast gives you the feel of an upscale place but is still affordable by our standards. Elena has great contacts with tourist guides and operators. A breakfast is included in your fee, and participants are responsible other meals. There are restaurants and grocery stores our participants have used in the past, their names and locations will be available to you. Laundry, and phone access is available but not included in fees. Each room has cable tv, a phone, wifi, and a private bathroom. However, bathroom may be shared if room is shared.
Participants usually have more freedom to come and go as they please (there is no set curfew, per say), but a bus or taxi is needed to reach the center of town. Taxi fare is about $2.50-3.00 each way. Bus fair is about 30 cents.