Ecuador Day 3 – Otavalo

Overnight we had many downpours and in the morning very little was looking dry. We quickly ate breakfast at 06:30 and was downstairs ready for Llama Travel by 07:15. Amazingly they were early again so we got straight onto the bus and headed off to pick up the rest of the group.

It was then a long drive up into the mountains and one of the checkpoints was busy due to many people leaving the city for Good Friday. During the journey that followed we ascended and descended between 2000m and 3000m several times. At Guayllabamba we stopped at a roadside fruit stall and tried a Chirimoya – a fruit like a custard apple which is full of seeds and is quite messy to eat.

Me standing on the Equator

After more time spent driving we stopped off at a decent viewpoint to take some photos before continuing on to a village situated on the equator. At the equator we balanced an egg on the line – a test which apparently proves you are on the equatorial line.

Rosen Pavillion

A little more travelling and we reached one of the many Rose farms they have in Ecuador – Rosen Pavilion. There we were walked around one of the five acres where they grow row after row of roses if various colour. The way they create a new hybrid species of rose, and how they deal with plant diseases, etc. was also explained. We were then led into a building where they talked about the export and packaging if roses before continuing on into a fridge where they keep the flower cool until they can be shipped.

Leaving there we then headed to our next stop where we were going to have dinner. Upon arrival they gave us a welcome drink containing cinnamon and a biscuit. The starter was some sort of vegetable soup, but unsure what was in it. For the meal we had mashed potato (which looked like it had been fried), meat, corn and a couple of vegetables. For dessert we had a small piece of cake containing cinnamon.

Whilst we had been in there the morning of sunshine had come to an end as we dashed through the rain to the bus. After a while the rain was left behind and we were welcomed by the sun once more as we reached Otavalo.

Otavalo Market

On the market we wandered around for about an hour, haggling with the stallholders as was expected of us. I bought a turtle ornament for US$5 and then two more for US$7. It was hard finding a t-shirt I liked but eventually I got one with a gecko on for US$6. Just as we were leaving there were a few more spots of rain but it didn’t come to anything.

Leaving Otavalo behind us we then headed towards the third highest volcano in Ecuador at a height of around 3000m. One of the craters there has filled with water to produce an acidic lake with an island in the middle.

The lake in the crater of Cotacachi

As we left there I saw my first hummingbird but it wasn’t visible for long. From there we headed back to Quito through the rain as subset neared. By the time we got back to the hotel it had been dark for a good 30 minutes so rather than exploring in the dark we ate at the hotel. Each of us again had the same – chicken sandwich, fries and some still water. Again it was another cheap meal that came to around US$25.

By 21:00 we had repacked our bags ready for the following days flight.

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