Otavalo market & Quilotoa
After a week of working, I was sent on 2 day-tours that Ecuatraveling sells. First, the Otavalo Market Day Tour. Otavalo market is actually only 2 hours of the tour. Firstly, you visit a bizcochos factory, where they make traditional biscuits eaten with dulce de leche and cheese. They were very good for breakfast. Then, 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! After that, it’s off to the biggest market of South America: Otavalo market. It’s so big that I got lost between all the stands. It’s an amazing place to buy souvenirs and discover handicrafts. Try to negotiate and be persistent! Finally, you go to Cuicocha lake for a small hike but, more importantly, an amazing view.
The next day, I went to the Quilotoa Crater Lake Tour. Here, you firstly visit a local market. You wouldn’t believe the amounts of fruits they sell. Negotiating prices in Spanish also isn’t easy, but definitely part of the experience. Next, you visit a native indigenous house. It is 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 the beautiful Quilotoa crater lake (3800m above sea level), where you have the most breath-taking view. 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. Now I understood the emphasis on the possibility to take a mule to ga back up. The hike up took 2 hours of sweat and a red face (which was hilarious to the indigenous people). I died a little inside hiking up. Totally worth it.
My day at Otavalo:
- Finding balance on the Equator
- Making Bizcochos
- Bizcochos breakfast
- Otavalo Market
- Getting lost between the stands
- Cuicocha Lake
My day of Quilotoa:
- Pujili Market
- Visiting a native house (including guinea pigs under the bed)
- Beautiful Toachi Canyon Crater
- Amazing Quilotoa Crater Lake
- Renting a mule in Quilotoa
Thank you for an amazing first week Ecuador!
Written by: Sophie van der Pluijm