Time to discover Tulipe: Ancient Sun Culture of Ecuador

Time to discover Tulipe: Ancient Sun Culture of Ecuador

A unique ancestral culture is situated at Latitude 0 in a lush subtropical forest near the city of Quito in Ecuador.

The origin of this civilization dates according to most researchers to the years 800 to 1660, when Yumbos lived in this area. They were traders or merchants,  making the location for their culture something crucial, as it gave them control over the trade route between the Pacific Coast. 

For many centuries the sun has played an important role for cultures located near the equator, another of the factors that determine the location of the culture as well as the findings in the archeological site.

instagramIf you visit Tulipe I would love to see your pictures.

How to get to Tulipe

If you are visiting Quito, this would be your best point of departure. Here you can find some great options for places to stay in Quito. From Quito, you can find a bus that could stop near Tulipe, but it is better to get there by car. 

Once you arrive in Tulipe, located just 70 km. away from Quito, you will find this very interesting open-air museum. It is composed of an archeological site, with exhibits, as well as a museum showing that yumbos were not only wise merchants but also astronomers.

The best way to explore the site is together with a native guide that will take you along the site, featuring an interesting set of eight structures with a wide range of pools. They were supposed to serve as part of the ceremonial rituals, using the element water as the main one due to the symbolism and associations it has with purification.

Here are some pictures:

In addition, you can find areas for housing and for agriculture around the site.


Watch this video to learn more about Tulipe


This is a place that you should visit while you are in Quito or on your way to Mindo

Have you been there? What did you like the most?


Where to stay



We often have friends, family, and also work-related visitors coming to Quito; together with my family, we have our top recommendations here:

Hacienda Jimenita is the place to escape to nature, relax and connect with history near Quito Airport. We tell you all about our visit to this enchanting hacienda and book your stay. 

Hotel Las Cuevas Terra Lodge to spend the perfect getaway in a cave hotel near Quito. You can read all about our unique experience here and book your stay. 

Hotel Finlandia has a great location in the modern part of Quito, near the main shopping centers and Parque La Carolina. It offers good food, fair prices, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable rooms and the staff is helpful and friendly.

Hotel Vieja Cuba This is a cozy small hotel with comfortable rooms, and friendly and helpful staff. The hotel offers a fresh-made breakfast consisting of eggs, granola, toast, ham, cheese, yogurt, and tea or coffee. The location is also great, not far from Plaza Foch, within walking distance you have one of the nicest areas for locals and tourists alike. Minutes away from shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, and more.



Hosteria Terrabambu Lodge: this is an amazing place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings in Mindo. We share our experience during our stay.

Casa Divina Lodge is the place to stay to enjoy biodiversity and birdwatching in Mindo at its best. Read all about this magical place.


How to get to Mindo

Book a tour:

You can book an organized tour, we recommend this full day guided tour. 

By car:

From Quito, you pass the park with the Equator monument, Mitad del Mundo, continuing on the main road to Esmeraldas for about 70 km. The exit to Mindo is on the left and is clearly marked by signs. You can also book a car with driver to take you all the way.

By bus 

In order to get to Mindo, you need to go to Ofelia station north of Quito. You can reach the station by taking the Metrobus (blue line).

The journey from Quito to Mindo takes about 2h-2h30 and costs 3.1$ per person.

Other activities in Mindo:

– Tubing

Butterfly garden

Chocolate tour

Coffee tour


and reasons to visit the Choco Andino. 


What to bring

In case of rain, it is recommended to bring a waterproof jacket or poncho.

Bring good walking shoes, as not all the trails are flat.

Most importantly, make sure to bring insect repellent and sunblock.

And if you love taking pictures or making videos, bring a waterproof case for your smartphone or your GoPro/Sony Action cam with a battery.




If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands.  This is a great source of information and tips, maps and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. Having a hard copy version is also perfect to take notes.

Don´t just dream it, make it happen. Plan your South American trip with a local!

Take a look at this list of travel resources to plan your trip and travel in South America.

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Time to discover Tulipe: Ancient Sun Culture of Ecuador

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15 Responses

  1. It looks like a nice place to visit and exploring their beautiful places, knowing their culture, tasting their food and meeting their people are such a great experience.

  2. I don’t think we’re gonna run out of great place sin Ecuador. I find the history behind Tulipe fascinating, I had to look it up and even watch some more of it. I hope I can visit the place someday soon!

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