Day 3: Otavalo: The silent market
The Awakening Valley is the starting point for this trip that sets off with a visit to Calderon, famous for with its bread-dough figurines, and Cayambe, where we savor local delicacies. Then we continue driving through beautiful Andean landscapes.
Until we arrive in the famous Otavalo Indian Market in time to
start our hunt for
hand-knitted wool sweaters, colorful tapestries, straw hats, and
much more. Later we visit Cotacachi,
a quiet country town surrounded by majestic mountains. The historic
Hacienda Pinsaqui or a similar country inn will provide an excellent
setting for a well-deserved lunch before returning to Quito in the
late afternoon. This evening, head out for the recently revamped
colonial district and take a stroll along the narrow streets before
dining in one of the trendy restaurants.
Day 5: The enchanting Galapagos: Bartholomew
this morning a representative transfers us to the airport in time
for the two-hour flight to Galapagos.
This incredible archipelago is
made up of 13 large islands. Its wonders span from the most varied
and incredible geological formations, lava flows, blowholes, spatter
cones and lava tunnels, to beaches of olive, black, or white sand
and the most diverse species of plant life.
However the most
surprising sight for visitors is perhaps the varied species of
animals which inspired Charles Darwin: Sea lions, penguins,
tortoises, iguanas, several species of marine birds, many of them
endemic, and a rich underwater fauna.
This afternoon we set sail and
begin our explorations with a dry landing at Bartholomew Island.
Arriving at this island seems as if you were walking on the moon,
the volcanic formations on this island including lava bombs, spatter
cones and cinder cones. Later on you may go snorkeling with the possibility of
spotting Galapagos penguins, marine tortoises and white-tipped sharks.