Tour: 2-Day Otavalo Market Mini-Adventure
- Visit the famous Otavalo Market and Overnight in town
- Shopping in Cotacachi, the leather town
- Visit to San Antonio de Ibarra, the wood carving town
- Enjoy a bizcochos snack in Cayambe
- Birds of prey demonstration at Condor Park
- Great panoramic views from Mira Lago
Hotel pickup in Quito between 8am and 8:30am. We pack in all the activities on this overnight mini-adventure so that you get a full cultural experience! Ecuador has so much to offer in terms of handicrafts, interesting cuisine and exciting markets, that we can’t help but add much more than “just” Otavalo market to this tour.
Your first stop is just outside Quito, where you get to enjoy a handicraft demonstration at Calderon. They’re known for producing interesting items from a mix of glue and flour. It is a fun way to see how simple everyday items can be used to create beautiful, interesting items! After that, we’re off to sample a range of locally grown produce. Guayllabamba is the center of produce distribution near Quito and the range of items available here changes throughout the year. Whatever time of year you visit, you’re bound to get to try some interesting, different food stuffs than what you’re used to at home.
As we head onward to Cayambe, we’ll enjoy a sample of bizcochos (biscuits) and a hot drink, or perhaps a local alcoholic treat for the adults. The scenery as we drive across Ecuador will often present some stunning volcano views, and one stop we’ll make is at the popular Mira Lago viewpoint above San Pablo Lake.
Otavalo is the main reason for your adventure, and we’ll have plenty of time to explore the market! Generally we arrive around midday and will have a late lunch, so perhaps you’ll want to grab a snack somewhere at the market. There are colorful textiles, wooden handicrafts, silver pieces, housewares and treats all available here for you to bargain for. On Sundays the Otavalo Market is quite famous as it is the main market day for locals to trade and do business, but there are plenty of items on display any day of the week.
Lunch today is near Cotacachi, not far from Otavalo. You should budget about $10-15 for a typical meal, or a bit more if you plan to try some guinea pig! After our lunch and bust morning, the rest of the day is a little more relaxing so you can enjoy the leather town of Cotacachi and think about any souvenirs or items you may want to buy.
Depending on weather forecasts and how the day has gone, we have the option to visit Peguche Waterfalls today or tomorrow. They are well worth visiting and are an important historic site, not just a scenery stop.
The touring ends today with a check-in at your hotel in or near Otavalo, where you’re free to wander around and take some photos of local life in Ecuador, or sit back and enjoy a drink. Your guide will recommend a couple of dining options for the evening.
Your Otavalo mini-adventure continues with more Ecuadorian highlights as we head out to visit San Antonio de Ibarra after breakfast. This town is about a half an hour drive from Otavalo and is home to some of the finest wood carvers in the region. If you’re looking for something special to bring home with you from Ecuador, this can be a great place to find it!
Lunch will be back at Otavalo, and you can expect to spend between $10-17 for an international style meal. After lunch, Peguche Waterfall are often visited today (if you didn’t go on Day 1), but as they are an optional activity you may want to skip ahead and spend more time at the Condor Park. The Condor Park is home to dozens of predator birds such as hawks, falcons, eagles and osprey. You’ll also find the massive Andean Condors here. At this rehabilitation and rescue center, you may catch a bird show or explore the area on your own to learn more about these birds of the Andes.
The afternoon means our mini-adventure is coming to an end. It is 2-3 hours of driving back to Quito. Your guide will drop you off at your hotel, or if you want to get dropped off somewhere other than your hotel, be sure to let them know ahead of time.