Tulcán's greatest attraction is its Cementerio Municipal (Municipal Cemetery), with its extravagant topiary gardens. These were begun in 1936 by José María Azael Franco. In 1984, the Ecuadorean government designated the gardens a National Patrimony Site. Today, Franco's sons carry on the tradition, and Franco is buried beneath some of his creations, with one of his quotes prominently displayed: "A cemetery so beautiful, it invites one to die." While the cemetery is the town's crowning achievement, Franco's work and influence can be seen all over Tulcán, where locals have taken to shearing and shaping just about every bush and tree they can lay their clippers on. The Municipal Cemetery is located about 2 blocks north of Parque Isidro Ayora.
Although not particularly tourist oriented, the Sunday market is packed with goods, clothes, and electrical appliances, and it's worth a visit if you are on the prowl for a deal. The Museo German Bastidas Vaca (tel. 06/2980-172), on Cotopaxi and Panamá, houses an interesting repertoire of artifacts from the Carchi province dating from pre-Colombian to contemporary times, including pieces by the famous Ecuadorean artist, Guayasamín. Admission is $1 (67), and it is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm and Saturday 9am to1pm.
If you fancy venturing closer to the border, you can take a trip to La Paz hot springs or to the somewhat warmer Aguas Hedionas, with their extremely high sulfur content. Check the local bus companies, Cooperativa 11 de Abril (tel. 06/2985-432) and Transportes Norte (tel. 06/2980-633), for bus schedules. You can also go to Volcán Chiles, on the border with Colombia, an ideal spot for trekking, climbing, and nature walks.
If you want to arrange a tour around this area or to El Angel, or if you just need help with logistical arrangements, contact Eccotur (tel. 06/2980-468), on Calle Sucre 51-029 and 10 de Agosto.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.