KTQ033 - 2 Days / 1 Nights - Departures: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays / from Quito

Day 1: Quito city tour & gastronomy – Magdalena
Chefs share their knowledge of traditional cuisine in Quito, Magdalena, and Salinas. We start this gastronomic tour with panoramic views of the city, as we reach a restaurant in Quito’s colonial quarter.  For local recipes like “ceviche”, we will provide the ingredients so you can make your own: onions, fish or shrimp, lemon juice, tomatoes vegetable oil, coriander.  Ceviche is eaten along with corn nuts, popcorn or banana and manioc chips.  Once we have prepared and tasted our results, enjoy a delicious traditional main course.

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 to the province of Imbabura, the “lake province of Ecuador”.   Through a marvelous Andean setting we head into the indigenous community of Magdalena, the scene displays wide array of crops which resemble a colorful patchwork on the eastern foothills of Imbabura volcano. Share with the local people in the making of dinner of the most authentic Andean home cooking.  Overnight.

Day 2: Magdalena – Ibarra – train ride – Salinas – Otavalo – Quito
Breakfast.  Continue to drive further north to the city of Ibarra to start with the rain ride which 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 traveling through tunnels and bridges following the canyon of river Ambi.  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.  Then travel to the Otavalo market.

The Otavalo market is special, hence, 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! Return to Quito, via Cayambe valley.