We head north in the morning for a scenic, two-hour drive from Quito to Otavalo. The road passes
through a stunning Andean landscape, and if the weather is good, we will enjoy beautiful views of
several volcanoes, including Cayambe, Ecuador’s third tallest, known as “the mountain of light” for
its brilliant glacier. The first stop is at Quitsato, a cultural-tourist place located at La Mitad Del Mundo,
near to Cayambe, 47 km at North of Quito; its main goal is to share crucial aspects of the astronomical
knowledge of the prehispanic cultures of the region.
Then continue heading north to Otavalo Market, considered one of the largest and most important
indigenous markets in South America. The locals are best known for their masterful weaving and
embroidery, so textiles are the star of the show here, with a seemingly endless variety of colorful blankets,
ponchos, sweaters, shirts, tapestries, tablecloths, and more. Of course, there is much more than just
textiles. Other popular handicrafts include paintings, Panama hats, ceramics, leather goods, carvings,
and much more. We have plenty of time to stroll through the market, shopping and testing our will against
the famed bargaining skills of the Otavaleños. We stop for lunch at a colonial Hacienda before making
our way back to Quito in the afternoon.