GTAT – 12 – QUITO
Otavalo Market & Cuicocha Crater Lagoon
Full Day – Private
We will visit Quitsato Sun Dial in Cayambe, the Otavalo Indigenous Market, Town of Peguche and the Cuicocha Crater Lagoon
From Quito, we head down the temperate valley of Guayllabamba, where cherimoyas (custard-apples) and avocados grow in abundance. Here, the road opens out into the Andean highlands.
Our first stop will be at the QUITSATO sun-dial, located near the town of Cayambe at latitude 0. This independent, non-profit project was inaugurated in 2007. It’s dedicated to sharing crucial facets of astronomical knowledge, of pre- Hispanic cultures in the region.
We then continue to reach the Imbabura province, named after the imposing volcano that towers over the San Pablo Lagoon. Here we will make a brief stop to appreciate the landscape before continuing to Otavalo.
Otavalo is the biggest and most important indigenous market in all of Latin America. The colorful main handicraft and textile market spills into the streets from the central Plaza de Ponchos, while the cacophony of animal market is kept to the outskirts of town. The produce market impresses with the sheer number and color of locally cultivated fruits and vegetables. The friendly Otavaleños are more than happy to talk about their crafts and traditions and will expect you to haggle a bit on the price.
After this visit to the market, we continue to the town of Peguche. Here we explore a textile and handicraft workshop to learn, from the owners themselves, the ancient techniques and secrets used in making these wonderful pieces. A good example of this is the use of an insect for dyeing wool. In this town, we will also stop by an Andean musical instrument workshop, where the musicians, who also build the instruments, will do a short performance for us. We then continue to the Cotacachi – Cayapas Ecological Reserve to visit the Cuicocha Lagoon, a crater lagoon at the foothills of the still-active Cotacachi Volcano. We will make a stop at the viewpoint to enjoy this gorgeous landscape before visiting the town of Cotacachi (so named after the volcano). Here, we will have a bit of time to browse in the handicraft shops, as Cotacachi is known for the good quality and prices of leather wares created here. After this visit, we return to your hotel in Quito.