PAKARINKA Center for Indigenous Tradition of the Andes

Seed diversity.


Pakarinka Center, Cultural Center for Indigenous Tradition of the Andes, is dedicated to preserving the indigenous traditions of the Kichwa-speaking people through spiritual traditions, agriculture, language, music and art. We are an Otavalan indian family offering support to local families in our community of Agato, near Otavalo by active partnership in these traditions. Pakarinka also runs the Yachay Wasi school near Quito. Our primary school, Kindergarden through grade 7, provides accepted government curriculum as well as immersion in Andean indigenous traditions. The one hectare farm school aims at 50% of the curriculum being directly related to garden activities, and also includes schooling in traditional Andean music and cosmovision.

We honor Pachamama and our elders that have helped us maintain the knowledge of the ancients through modern times.

We view the chakra(small family farm) as a central feature of the traditional indigenous lifestyle, because it is here that we interact directly in collaboration with Pachamama, which is the earth, sky and cosmos. Ecuador is the most biodiverse country in the world and we embrace the responsibility for preserving the biodiversity that has been given us by Pachamama. Originally, the Andes had 3,500 varieties of potatoes. On our small farm in Agato, Otavalo, Ecuador, we have 40 varieties of potatoes, 16 varieties of corn, and also many varieties of beans, quinoa, chillies, and many more. Our elders are revered members of our community for the knowledge they hold of the medicinal herbs, and all the seed varieties.

We understand that there is an urgent need for preservation of biodiversity and seed saving on a global level. We believe that preservation of traditional indigenous wisdom is essential in this cause. We are dedicated to sharing our traditional indigenous knowledge locally and globally to all how are sincerely interested. This is the spirit in which we offer our programs.

PROGRAMS include:
~ Lodging in our center which is built with traditional methods and earth-based materials
~ Meals almost entirely from traditional foods we grow in our chakra, small family farm.
~ Active participation and education in the current rhythm of our indigenous community. Traditional ceremonies and music are a common part of our lifestyle. Planting, harvesting, processing and cooking the traditional foods we grow are part of our daily rhythm.
~ The choice to stay at the farm center near Otavalo, or at the Yachay Wasi school near Quito. Our primary school, Kindergarden through grade 7, provides accepted government curriculum as well as immersion in Andean indigenous traditions. The one hectare farm school aims at 50% of the curriculum being directly related to garden activities, and also includes schooling in traditional Andean music and cosmovision.

Short Term Stays: 1-2 nights, $30./night. 3-7 nights, $20./night.
Internships: 30-90 days, $360/month. Internships offer in-depth, experiential learning. Interns work eight hours/day, directing themselves to the current needs of the Center. This includes work on the gardens, harvesting and processing food, as well as maintenance of the structures, and involvement in administrative tasks associated with running the center, outreach and promotion.

To apply for Pakarinka programs, write to Oscar Santillan, pakarinka@hotmail.com , for the Otavalo center. or to Laura Santillan, sinchiachik@yahoo.es ,for the school near Quito.

The school garden with Quito in the background.


Beautiful faces from the Indigenous School.


Family meal at the Indigenous School center