KTQ031 - 2 Days / 1 Nights Departures: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays / from Quito

Day 1: Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – train ride - Salinas – Magdalena
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.  After a two-hour drive arrival in the province of Imbabura, the “lake province of Ecuador”. 

The Otavalo market is special, hence, the better known market in South America, 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.  Arrival in Salinas an Afro- Ecuadorian village to enjoy lunch and cultural experience.   We implemented this project in an effort to boost the economy and the safe keeping of the cultural roots of the region.
Arrival in Magdalena, an agricultural, cattle and sheep raising community located in rolling hills east of the Imbabura volcano.  The women of the region traditionally have embroidered the blouses of their costumes, now you can purchase utilitarian goods with this beautiful multicolored embroidery.  Learn about their everyday activities such morning cow milking, shepherding and in season ox plowing. Overnight in a comfortable room with private facilities and hot water; taste the most authentic Andean home cooking.

Day 2: Magdalena Karanki –horseback riding - Cuicocha Lake – Quito
After breakfast, embark on a horseback ride with a native guide through the magnificent Andean landscapes of Magdalena.  We will then drive to visit 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.  Return to Quito, via Cayambe valley.