Cotacachi / Cotacachi Indigenous / Ecuador / Ecuador Culture / Ecuador Lifestyle / Living in Ecuador / Self-Sustainability in Ecuador

Living in Ecuador: Morochos Part II-Alpacas!

Alpacas are making a come-back in Ecuador.  Even though climate, terrain and altitudes are similar to Peru where there is an abundance of alpacas and their cousins, llamas and vicunas, Ecuador has few of these cute creatures.

Years ago Gary and I visited a village near Morochos and were thrilled to hear that alpacas were once more being raised in our area.

Woman with alpaca.

Now Paige Fisher, Peace Corps volunteer extraordinaire, confirms that her adopted village of Morochos is also raising alpacas.  Heifer International gifted Morochos with starter alpacas.  The thriving herd numbers almost 80 of the adorable camelid beasties.

Paige gave us a tour of the Morochos village craft shop.  There we found a large array of beautiful alpaca and wool products, along with tee shirts and post cards.

Besides wall hangings and clothing such as sweaters, ponchos and jackets, there are scarves, hats, purses and vests.  The items are mostly made from hand-spun alpaca wool with a little sheep wool added for stability.  Some are 100% sheep wool.

Right now the villagers send their yarn off to be dyed with chemical dyes.  Paige is hoping to persuade them to go back to dying with natural colorants.  She is looking for anyone with knowledge of natural dyes and how to use them who’d be generous enough to share their expertise with the villagers.

The villagers take the raw wool from their alpacas and sheep, cleaning and carding it into thread.

They have two looms for weaving the yarn into delightful, warm hand-made articles that will be keepsakes for many years to come.

I was thrilled to be able to stock up on the incredibly soft alpaca goodies available in the shop.  The Morochos villagers are not promoting their lovely products very well, so we were only too glad to help them out.

Gary and I stocked up on Christmas gifts–knitted hats for me and all the grand kids, scarfs, a sweater and a poncho for our big kids and the cutest little head band for our newest grand baby.  My red alpaca and sheep wool cap will keep me warm in freezing Minnesota.

And if you prefer to knit your own alpaca creations, there is alpaca wool for sale in the craft shop.

Paige and her best friend Katie from Vermont were only too happy to model for us.

If anyone in Cotacachi would like to help plan a Christmas shopping trip and tour of Morochos for early December, let Paige know.

Her email address is–

The villagers are excited about hosting visitors for a Christmas extravaganza that will also include a tour of their sustainable gardening projects, an authentic village home, either a meal or refreshments of local foods and chicha, which is corn beer, and dancing.

But they need some help in putting all this together, so get in touch with Paige at–

Find out more about the other sustainable projects Paige is helping with in Morochos.

Sustainable gardens, native tree nursery, food forest and a dry composting toilet for the Morochos pre-school.  Wanna help?

You can contact Paige at–

Cotacachi high school scholarship program for indigenous children.

The inspiring story about how Paige and Pro-Ecuador’s Gary Phillips raised over $12,000 for the scholarship program.

Part III of this series is photos of the Morochos children.