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The 13 Best Things to see and do in Macas, Morona Santiago

The city of Macas, also known as Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Macas or as the Oriental Emerald, is the capital of and largest city in the Morona Santiago Province in Ecuador. Macas is an adventure sports and tourist city located in the Upano Valley with views of the Upano River, which lends itself to various adventure activities near the city.

What is the weather like in Macas?

Macas has a rainy tropical climate, typical of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Located at 3,346 feet above sea level, the average high temperature is 72°F with little variation in tempurature .

The best things to do in Macas, Ecaudor

Cathedral of the Purisima de Macas

The Purisima de Macas Cathedral is home to beautiful stained glass windows depicting the story of the transformation of the Purisima de Macas Virgin honored by local Catholics. 

Domingo Comin Street

This street has a two block section where the Honorable Provincial Council, the Craft Center, the National Development Bank, restaurants, exchange houses and other businesses are located.

Visit the Parks of Macas

Inside the Parque de la Amazonía is the monument that represents the Amazon Indian. In the Recreational Park you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Upano Valley, the river and the city. The Macas Recreational Park is located on Don Bosco and Randimpa streets and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Parque Cívico has a pool, several ferns, an ornamental tree and benches to relax. The most beautiful thing about the park is the panoramic view it offers of the city center.

El Quilamo viewpoint

The El Quilamo viewpoint offers the best panoramic view of the city of Macas, the Upano River valley and part of the Palora valley.

Emisora Voz del Upano Viewpoint

From this beautiful viewpoint you can see the banks of the Upano River. We were not lucky enough to see the viewpoint during our visit, but this place has a good reputation for being a beautiful spot.

The Natural and Cultural Interpretation Center of Macas 

The Macas Natural and Cultural Interpretation Center has five rooms where dioramas, figures, paintings, photographs, objects and archaeological remains are exhibited, recounting the history of the city and its inhabitants. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Archaeological and Cultural Museum of Morona Santiago

The Archaeological and Cultural Museum of Morona Santiago is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Admission is free and you can enjoy a large display of Shuar artifacts, including feather ornaments, headdresses made from animal heads, blowguns, basketry, large clay funerary urns traditionally used to bury dead children, and a replica of a tsanta (shrunken head).

Sardinayacu Lagoons

The Sardinayacu Lacustrine Complex contains 7 lagoons of various sizes of volcanic origin (from the Sangay volcano) and are part of the Sangay National Park. To visit these lagoons you must go on a guided tour and the lagoons are called: the Comandante lagoon, the Enmascarado, the Escondida, Simpatica, Cormoran, Chimerella and Kakáram.

Yantza Musap Waterfall

Inside the Sangay National Park is this viewpoint where you can see the confluence of the Abanico and Upano rivers. You can also see mountain birds and the cloud forest. The viewpoint is not in the best condition at the moment, but from its base you can see a fantastic view.

Sangay National Park

The Sangay National Park is within the provinces of Morona Santiago, Tungurahua and Chimborazo. It was established in 1979 and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The most notable tourist attractions in the park are the active volcanoes of Tungurahua and Sangay, the Altar lagoon, the Laguna Negra, various species of animals such as mountain tapirs, spectacled bears, Brazilian tapirs, white-tailed deer and Andean foxes and more than 400 species of birds.

Loma de Tigrillo viewpoint

This waterfall is located on the outskirts of Macas and has a drop of 50 meters high. You will be able to bathe and swim in the well that leaves the base of the waterfall.

Black Lagoon

The Laguna Negra is part of the Atillo Lacustrine system of the Sangay National Park, it has a diameter of 710 m, its waters are light blue, and being in a paramo zone, it has a cold climate that is not very humid.

Sangay Volcano

One of the most imposing and active volcanoes in Ecuador is the Sangay volcano. The volcano has an altitude of 5,250 meters, making it the seventh largest volcano in Ecuador and is probably one of the most active volcanoes in the world. The trip from Macas to the volcano is a bit long, since they are not relatively close but if you are lucky you can see it from a distance.

Visit a Shuar community

You cannot miss out on visiting the Shuar community during your visit to Macas. This community bases its nutrition on cassava, banana, papachina, wild fruit, hunting and fishing. In terms of art, they are experts in making earmuffs, bracelets, necklaces, tawasap, belts, argans, bodoqueras, spades, tuntas and many more, made mainly from pambil, cumbia, caimito seeds, among others.

Practice extreme sports

One of the best ways to get to know the Upano River is by kayaking or rafting. In fact, according to National Geographic, the Upano River is considered the fourth best river for rafting in the world, as it has a level 3 rapids and the Namangosa gorge with class IV rapids.

Another of the recommended activities to do in Macas is hiking through the Sangay National Park is hiking and bird watching.

Eden Wildlife Rescue Foundation

The Huerto el Edén Ecotourism Farm Wildlife Rescue Foundation is a neotropical animal rescue center where more than 70 animals and 15 different species, including tapirs, peccaries, turtles, boas and parrots, among others.

What to eat in Macas?

  • Ayampaco de tilapia: Grilled fish wrapped in jungle leaves.
  • Ayampaco de carachama
  • Seco de guanta
  • Skewer of chontacuro
  • Chicha de chonta
  • Chicha de yuca
  • Chewed chicha de yuca
  • Guayusa
  • Ayahuasca
  • Caracha Broth
  • Yucca Tamale

Where to sleep in Macas?

To live an experience immersed in the nature of the Amazon, we recommend spending a night at Macas Glamping, a suitable place to enjoy and relax as a couple or as a family. The place has three types of rooms: Domo, La barca and Pirámide Sangay; each of these keeps a different architectural design. The site also has its own lagoon, which you can enjoy on inflatable boats. The included breakfast is exquisite, so we guarantee that the entire experience at Macas Glamping in Ecuador will be a fantastic experience.

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