The long valley which is located south of Quito and ends in Cuenca town is flanked by two parallel mountain ranges offering some of the wildest landscapes in the country and nine of the ten highest peaks.
Half of the population of Ecuador lives in this area of fertile volcanic soil. The region consists of isolated indigenous peoples, where life styles just seem to have evolved over the centuries. Each of these communities exhibit different patterns of traditional dress.
The larger populations, such as Saquisila, Pujila, Zumbagua Sigchos and San Miguel de Salcedo, are invaded by the villagers on market days. The peaceful community of Salinas is famous for its homemade dairy products like salami and handmade woolen sweaters. Many of these villages are only accessible on foot. The Pan American Highway, which crosses the entire valley offers spectacular views.