!Fuimos a Otavalo!
This past week-end the Vida Verde excursion went to Otavalo, a largely indigenous town in the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. The town is surrounded by the Imbabura 4,630m, Cotacachi 4,995m, and Mojanda volcanoes and features the famous Saturday market exhibiting colorful Indigenous Andean arts and crafts.
During the market's peak, almost one third of the town becomes full of stalls selling textiles, blankets, jewelry, musical instruments, purses, spices, raw foods and hand-painted platters and trays. They even sell smurf hats, to which Ian from our group was particularly drawn. It was hard for him to pass by a stall without trying on one of the hats each time...
After we spent too much money on markets items we went to drink something in the Café Sol y Luna, ranked #2 of 38 things to do in Otavalo by Lonely Planet travellers. It is a small Belgian-owned café with a cozy dining patio and warm interior serving healthy food. We liked it so much we wanted to come back the next day but found the place closed on Sundays.
Before we allowed ourselves to relax in the hammocks of our Hostal Valle del Amanecer we walked on the 2 km long trail that leads along an abandoned railway line up to the Peguche waterfalls. At the end of the we went to eat dinner in Otavalo in the Mi Otavalito listening to music that was a bit too loud and eating steaks that weren't quite cooked enough...
The next morning started out rainy but after eating a hearty breakfast we were in good spirits to hike around the Laguna de Cuicocha, a still, dark lagoon cradled in a collapsed volcanic crater featuring two mounded islands that look like the backs of two guinea pigs ('Cuicocha' means 'guinea pig lake' in Quichuan language). It is a great hike and we had lots of fun but it was definitely wet this past Sunday!
Time to buy a new raincoat that is really waterproof I guess...
Stay tuned for more and feel free to comment!
Saludos a todos! Sandra