Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi

Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi (Riobamba, October 1, 1953) is a distinguished Ecuadorian historian and curator of Kichwa Otavalo heritage. Her extensive qualifications include a Bachelor’s in Applied Anthropology from the Salesian Polytechnic University, a Master’s in Conservation and Cultural Asset Management from Universidad SEK, and the title of Anthropology expert from Universidad Abierta de Loja. She has contributed significantly as an Educational Guide at the Museum and Galleries of the Central Bank of Ecuador and later as an Assistant at the Archaeological Reserve of the Central Bank of Ecuador. Internationally acclaimed, she has conducted courses and conferences across the Americas and Europe. Her prolific publications and research reflect her unwavering commitment to preserving Ecuador’s cultural heritage, culminating in her prestigious induction into the National Academy of History of Ecuador in June 2021.


Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi, a prominent Ecuadorian historian and curator of Kichwa Otavalo heritage, has dedicated her life to preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of her people. Born on October 1, 1953, in Riobamba, she has made significant contributions to the field of anthropology and cultural conservation. This article explores the life, career, and achievements of Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi.

Early Life and Heritage

Estelina Quinatoa hails from the Kichwa Otavalo community and was born into the Quinatoa family of skilled weavers in Imbabura. Her upbringing in this culturally rich environment laid the foundation for her deep connection to indigenous traditions and history.

Education and Expertise

Quinatoa’s academic journey is marked by her relentless pursuit of knowledge in the realm of cultural preservation. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Anthropology from the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana in Quito between 1999 and 2003. Subsequently, she obtained a Master’s degree in Conservation and Management of Cultural Assets from the Universidad SEK in Quito from 2005 to 2009. Additionally, she holds the title of expert in Anthropology from the Universidad Abierta de Loja in Quito, acquired between 1989 and 2003.

Championing Cultural Heritage

Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi is renowned as one of the foremost advocates for the rescue and preservation of archaeological heritage. Her professional journey began in the tourism sector, where she worked as a guide for prominent companies. This role exposed her to the treasures of her homeland but also the injustices that motivated her to pursue legal studies at the Universidad Central del Ecuador.

Throughout her career, Quinatoa has held several pivotal roles, including serving as an Educational Guide at the Museum and Galleries of the Central Bank of Ecuador from 1980 to 1991 and as an Assistant at the Archaeological Reserve of the Central Bank of Ecuador from 1991 to 1994. She is also recognized as an expert in the Authentication of Archaeological Cultural Assets for the National Prosecutor’s Office.

Teaching and Global Outreach

Not confined to her homeland, Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi has shared her knowledge and passion for cultural preservation globally. She has served as a lecturer at prestigious universities in Ecuador and conducted courses, workshops, and conferences in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Spain, the United States, France, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, among others.

Accolades and Recognition

In June 2021, Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi received a well-deserved honor when she was inducted into the prestigious National Academy of History of Ecuador, a testament to her outstanding contributions to the field of history and cultural preservation.


Estelina Quinatoa Cotacachi’s life and work exemplify unwavering dedication to the preservation of indigenous culture and history in Ecuador. As a historian, curator, and educator, she continues to inspire and educate generations, ensuring that the rich tapestry of Ecuador’s cultural heritage remains vibrant and celebrated for years to come.


  • Textiles de Alejandro Quinatoa (1982)
  • La realidad de la mujer campesina (1988)
  • Historia del Museo del Banco Central del Ecuador (1988)
  • El Quito indígena milenario (1996)
  • Danzantes indígenas del Corpus Christi (1991)
  • Instrumentos musicales precolombinos (1998)
  • La importancia del mullu (concha Spóndylus) en los antiguos habitantes de América y del Ecuador (2004)
  • Intelectuales indígenas del Ecuador (2008)
  • Hernán Crespo Toral en la educación pluricultural (2009)
  • Oro milenario del Ecuador (2010)
  • Representaciones ancestrales y colores del cosmos (2013)

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