Gualaceo, Chordeleg and Sigsig are not names that trip easily off an English tongue, but these three small towns are famous in Ecuador for their markets and the handicrafts produced here and in surrounding villages. In this region the rich culture of the cholos cuencanos, whose ancestry mixes Inca, Cañari and Spanish blood, sits confidently between the indígenas and the whites. Traditional cholo dress includes Panama hats for both men and women, and richly coloured ponchos, usually burgundy or red-upgraded to beautifully woven ikat ponchos for fiestas. The region is home to artisans of all kinds: embroiderers, weavers of ikat and other textiles, Panama hats and baskets, gold and silversmiths producing fine filigree and other jewellery, wood carvers and potters. Near Chordeleg, San Bartolomé specialises in guitar making, and San Juan is a centre for Panama hat weaving. Back strap looms are favoured by weavers of ikat dyed shawls, belts and other traditional items. Fruit and flowers are grown in these warm valleys. An orchid farm is open to visitors, and here and there small family farms offer decent guest accommodation with the opportunity to help milk the cows and walk or ride country trails in a rural idyll far from any road.