After a week of working, I was sent on 2 day tours which Ecuatraveling sells. First, the Otavalo Market Day Tour. Otavalo market is only 2 hours of the tour. Firstly, you go to El Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the earth) to literally stand on the middle of the earth: the equator. Can tick that off my bucket list. Then, you visit a bizcochos factory, where they make traditional cookies. They were very good for breakfast. Then it’s off to the biggest market of South-America: Otavalo market. It’s so big that I even got lost between all the stands. It’s an amazing place to buy souvenirs. Try to negotiate and be persistent. Finally, you go to Cuicocha lake for a small hike but more importantly a nice view.
The next day, I went on the Quilotoa Crater Lake Tour. Here, you firstly visit a local market. You wouldn’t believe the amounts of fruit they sell. Negotiating prices in Spanish also isn’t easy. Next, you visit a native house of the indigenous people. It was a small wooden house, with guinea pigs running loose. By the way, guinea pig is the local delicacy in Ecuador. Sorry animal lovers, but you often see them roasting above a fire. Then, you go to beautiful Quilotoa crater lake (3800m) where you have the most amazing views. You can hike down to the lake, which is a 45 min steep climb down. In my enthusiasm, I raced down not really thinking about the fact that I have to go up again. The warning about the ability to rent a mule wasn’t exaggerated. The hike up took 2 hours of sweat and a red face (which to the indigenous people was hilarious). I died a little inside hiking up. Totally worth it.
Firstly, my day of Otavalo:
Finding balance on the Equator
Lost between the stands
And finally my day of Quilotoa:
Visiting a native house (yes including guinea pigs under the bed)
Beautiful Toachi Canyon Crater
Amazing Quilotoa Crater Lake
Renting Mules in Quilotoa where the kids have to run up and down