It’s amazing how simple it can be to have a memorable day when you’re in Ecuador. No matter where you are, you know that being in a small country gives you the opportunity to reach amazing places by getting out of the cities and going to natural paradises in just a few hours. This one-day tour to Otavalo is a perfect example.
Otavalo is one of the most picturesque cities in Ecuador and is located less than two hours from the capital city Quito. It was precisely in Quito that our adventure began. We woke up early in the morning to fulfill our busy itinerary.
The morning was very cold but little by little the sun began to rise more and more until it became our perfect ally. Not only did it warm us up, but it also allowed us to witness unspeakable landscapes and scenery. In general, whenever you travel by car through the Ecuadorian Highlands, you will be amazed by the imposing mountains and hills covered by intense green colors that rise around you as the sky gradually clears up.
We had not even got off our tour bus and had already had an experience that marked the beginning of a very special day. Our first stop was Cayambe, one of Ecuador’s many magical cities. When we got off, we were greeted by the impressive snowfall that has the same name of the city and is the third largest volcano in Ecuador. We stopped at a small restaurant for breakfast.
As you move further towards the city of Otavalo, you can perceive several changes not only in the landscapes but also in the people, houses, and neighborhoods. You can notice the cultural richness present in the Ecuadorian Highlands by seeing many indigenous people in their typical costumes selling all kinds of handicrafts and the famous “bizcochos” (local tasty biscuits).
Inside the restaurant, a local family welcomed us and explained everything about the breakfast we were going to have. The breakfast we ate came with “bizcochos”, “queso de hoja” and “manjar de leche”. After this delicious breakfast, we continue our adventure towards one of the most visited places in the province of Imbabura.
As we advanced along the road, another majestic volcano began to dominate the landscape and it was impossible not to notice its grandeur and the enormous lake at its feet. We immediately realized that we were in front of the Imbabura volcano and the San Pablo lake. Faced with the majesty of the landscape, a stop at a viewpoint was necessary. We got off at a vantage point and it was like seeing a picture painted with perfect strokes. We were amazed by this incredible natural setting. The lagoon has an area of 7 km2.
Shortly after this amazing experience, we went to visit another natural wonder no less surprising. It seems very unlikely to be able to find places with so much nature so close to each other, but that’s the magic of Ecuador! After visiting the small village of Peguche, we headed to the waterfall of the same name.
As soon as you enter, you can see a large shrub vegetation on a path surrounded by plants and trees. Advancing along the path you begin to hear the sound of the waterfall that gradually takes on all the protagonism. The sound of the waterfall and drops of water create an atmosphere of unparalleled relaxation. After midday, we headed to our last stop before returning to Quito.
Our last and most important stop was the Otavalo craft market. Most of the people in Otavalo belong to indigenous communities that can be seen in every corner of the city in their colorful traditional costumes. Men wear shirts, white pants, blue ponchos, and hats. Women wear a white embroidered blouse and a thick waistband. When we entered the market, which is one of the largest in Latin America, we marveled at the number of handicrafts we could find.
No matter where we looked, we kept finding very striking handicrafts. Inside the long corridors we could find hats, ponchos, scarves, trousers, espadrilles, shirts, paintings, woods, jewelry, goldsmiths, and many other things. After buying some things we finished with all the planned activities. As we returned to Quito, we saw how the sun was hidden among the hills and mountains to close a day full of unforgettable experiences.
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