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240km (149 miles) N of Quito; 660km (410 miles) NE of Guayaquil; 145km (90 miles) N of Otavalo

The capital of Carchi province, Tulcán is a small but bustling border town. At almost 3,000m (9,843 ft.), it's usually cool -- even quite cool -- here. This is the principal land crossing between Ecuador and Colombia, and Tulcán has become a predominantly commercial city, with a brisk business in cross-border trading. For tourists, it's most likely just a transfer point on a journey either to or from Colombia.