Today we visit the town of Otavalo, known throughout South America for its enormous and colorful market, and one of the most interesting towns in Ecuador. Still heavily populated by the local Kichwa indigenous culture, the roots and modern development of the local community can be clearly seen. Here our guide gives you some history of the town, the people, and the market before allowing you to explore in-depth.
Be sure to keep an eye out not only for the fine fabrics and clothing but also the traditional wooden carvings particular to this area of Ecuador. As part of our day at the market, we will visit the workshop of Master weaver Miguel Andrango, in the village of Agato. Miguel’s art has taken him abroad, mainly to exhibitions and fairs in the United States where the quality of his work is widely acknowledged. Your guide will explain how the alpaca wool is spun and how the colors are obtained from plant dyes indigenous to the area.
We take a drive to the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and embark on a short stroll through the reserve until the welcome center where we learn all about the flora and fauna of the area. We venture on to the beautiful Cuicocha lagoon, which was formed when an ancient volcano collapsed and formed a caldera. The result is a deep-blue crater lake on the lower southern flanks of Mount Cotacachi which makes for spectacular viewing, the diameter of its crater is about 3km, and the lake some 180 meters deep.
After the hike, we will stop at the picturesque colonial town of Cotacachi, famous for its leatherwork. Here you will find a great variety of stores with top-quality leather articles, such as wallets, belts, bags, shoes, and clothes.
Meals (B, L, D)