OTAVALO TREASURES & "CHASKI ROUTE"

KTQ099 - 2 Days / 1 Nights - Departures: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays / from Quito

Day 1: Quito – San Pablo Lake – Cotacachi – Otavalo
Departing Quito to the northern highlands of Ecuador, stunning views of valleys such as Guayllabamba and Pisque.   Unique “in situ” opportunity to learn about the formation of the Andes Cordilleras.  Photo stops of the snowcapped volcanoes Cayambe and with some luck, Cotopaxi.   We will drive through rose farming and quilt patched country side with corn, potatoes, quinoa and broad beans fields.  Arrival in the province of Imbabura, the “lake province of Ecuador”.
 
This tour offers several alternatives, one of which is the visit to the town of Cotacachi known for the manufacture of leather goods:  jackets, bags, belts, wallets.

Visit Cuicocha crater lake, excellent opportunity to see such an unusual formation of a lake, flanked by peaks and native flora, such as orchids, altitude cacti.   Within the Cuicocha lake reserve, visit the Interpretation Centre, special attention will be given to the explanation in a graphic way, to the formation of a crater lake.  Weather and time permitting, small treks will be taken to observe the local flora.  Overnight in a traditional hacienda.

Day 2: Otavalo-  Ibarra –train ride – Salinas – Quito
Breakfast.  Visit the Otavalo market, the better known market in South America, in as far as, to the gentle and soft spoken Otavalo Indians; attired with beautiful and unique costumes.  Interaction with the local people is given to the visitor through the process of bargaining, which is the fun element in the negotiations, while purchasing woven goods both in sheep´s wool and cotton, as well as, hats, belts, bags, jewelry and more.  Tourist´s photography paradise!   Continue to drive further north to the city of Ibarra to start with the train ride that travels on an early 20th century railroad system, built to connect the northern Andes and the Pacific coast.  A two-hour ride, dropping from over 8,000 ft. to almost half this altitude, embraces high altitude vegetation, dry zones with bromeliad and pear cacti ending in a sub-tropical zone with sugar cane plantations.  The main attraction of this ride is the travelling through tunnels and bridges following the canyon of river Ambi.  Arrival in Salinas, an Afro- Ecuadorian village to enjoy lunch and cultural experiences.  We  implemented this project  in an effort to boost the economy and the safe keeping of the cultural roots of the region.  Return to Quito, via Cayambe valley.