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Travel to Ecuador Tour - Otavalo Market Eco Tour - Ecuador Ecotourism - Sustainable Tourism

Culture and Sustainable Tourism in the North Andes

horseback riding

Ecuadorian travel to the northern Andes mountain range and the Otavalo market offers cultural travel and sustainable development tourism. All this involving local communities and their rural lodges; if you search for active travel you can take a mountain bike tour, camping trip, hiking expeditions, or a horseback riding vacation while staying at a historical hacienda.

Culture and Geography

The Otavalo market and Northern Andes mountain range of Ecuador offer: live cultures, hidden paths, and great places for trekking, bike and horseback riding, ancient haciendas, and indigenous homes offer cozy boutique accommodations. Nearby waterfalls and sacred energy locations offer the perfect setting for Yoga and other health practices. The Geography offers, snow capped peaks, lakes, cloud forests, and sub tropical rainforests as you approach the Coast and the Choco regions. You can experience ecotourism in rural lodges during your stay while talking in rich local culture with the local community.

Travel Services with Latin Trails

Latin Trails, as well as offering the best tourist sites to visit and contemplate, presents our customers the best travel services. Comfort and exclusivity are reflected in all our services provided under request, such as:

• Airport transfers
• Hotel, lodging and accommodation
• Tour leaders and guides
• Private van transportation
• 4X4 vehicles
• Bus transportation for groups
• Enchanted Isles trip reservations
• Amazon cruise reservations
• Rainforest lodges
• Community tourism
• Rural lodging
• Responsible tourism programs
• Adventure and soft Adventure travel
• Yoga and health travel
• Volunteer programs

North Andes tour packages

LTE-QDT005: Otavalo Market Full Day (Day trip from Quito)

Otavalo Market

We head 1.5hrs north of Quito to visit the Otavalo indigenous market; the most important indigenous market in South America. On the way, we pass by small villages, the snow capped volcano Cayambe, the San Pablo Lake, and the Imbabura Volcano. In the city of Cayambe, we make a quick stop to try the traditional biscuits before continuing to Otavalo. The market is the largest of its kind in South America, offering many different kinds of arts and crafts from local communities.

Detailed Itinerary (Full Day)

Otavalo CommunityWe pick you up at your hotel in Quito at about 8:00 am, from where we head north and pass the small town of Calderon, the Guayllamba Valley, and the city of Cayambe, hurdle below the snow capped volcano with the same name. Along the way, we will see valleys full of rose plantations.

We then enter into the Imbabura Province, and soon we will pass by the San Pablo Lake and the Imbabura Volcano situated right by it.

At the market, we will find a large gathering of indigenous from the 17 + surrounding communities that compose the Otavalo ethnic group. Learn to bargain for ponchos, sweaters, and local handcrafted goods produced in different small villages, all specializing in their own type of craft.

Return transfer departs from the market at 17:00 (5pm). We take an alternate route passing by Tabacundo; this is a very scenic route as we will traverse large canyons and cliffs going through the North Andes Corridor.

Highlights

Andean Valleys, the irregular topography of the Andes creates a beautiful backdrop for the passing rivers and snow-capped mountains.

Cayambe Volcano, If the weather is good, we will be able to view one of the most beautiful mountains in the country with its perfect cone shaped summit, covered by eternal snow and crossed by the Equator line.

ImbaburaImbabura Volcano and the San Pablo Lake, two of the most picturesque ingredients in Ecuador’s landscape, the scene of local legends, and with small rural villages that have established themselves by their side.

The Otavalo Market, a famous indigenous gathering, where local communities get together and share their social life and bring out their goods - such as woodcarvings, tapestries, wool sweaters, ponchos, Andean musical instruments, paintings, etc - for sale and trade.

Many different forms of folk art can be appreciated and bought at very low prices.

Book your south america tours

Meet/ Depart: Quito - Ecuador

INCLUDES

Transportation
English speaking guide
Cayambe traditional biscuits
Not Included
Meals Guided tours of the market or surrounding villages.
Anything not specified

Where to get lunch

There are many restaurants around the market square that offer set meal menu's for $4 or less. A set meal may consist of: appetizer, soup of the day, main course, and dessert.

Recommendation You are expected to bargain when you shop, and this is a popular tourist site, so make sure to watch your belongings!

Activity Level: Easy

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera, cash and ATM card.

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Otavalo Market

LTE-QTP008: Rural Community Tourism (2 days)

Runa Tupary

A once in a lifetime experience, you will have the opportunity to stay at one of our community lodges in a Runa Tupari Community and spend time with an indigenous family. You will be invited to participate in their daily activities, helping to take care of livestock or farming the fields. We offer you the opportunity for an in-depth experience of the indigenous side of Ecuador. More days, stress management courses, special treatments and retreats are available upon request.

Detailed Itinerary (2 Days 1 Night)

Day 1. Quito – Otavalo – Community Tour

Runa TupariWe head north from Quito and visit the small villages Calderon (dough figures) and Cayambe (biscuits).


We arrive at the Otavalo market; here we can experience the most important indigenous trade gathering in South America. We will learn to bargain for ponchos, sweaters, and local handcrafted goods. Optional lunch.

A unique experience is the accommodations we offer in our rural Runa Tupari lodges located within the communities. Here the tourist may share the indigenous culture, enjoy a new environment, experience a different lifestyle, and take pleasure in the nearness of nature and traditional living...

Day 2. Community Adventures

Choose one of these options:

1. Trekking around Cuicocha Lake 
2. Horseback Riding/Trek through Indigenous Communities
3. Biking Downhill to the Subtropical Cloud Forest

Highlights

Andean Valleys,  The irregular topography of the Andes creates a beautiful backdrop for the passing rivers and snow-capped mountains. 

Community, Stay in comfortable rural lodges (all with bathroom, hot water, and a fire place) within rural indigenous communities. Enjoy the tranquility of the country as you take part in the daily life of your host family. You will have beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and enjoy traditional meals.

Imbabura Volcano and the San Pablo Lake, two of the most picturesque ingredients in Ecuador’s landscape, the scene of local legends, and with small rural villages that have established themselves by their side.

CommunityThe Otavalo Market, a famous indigenous gathering, where local communities get together and share their social life and bring out their goods - such as woodcarvings, tapestries, wool sweaters, ponchos, Andean musical instruments, paintings, etc., for sale and trade. Many different forms of folk art can be appreciated and bought at very low prices.

Runa Tupari Community, This project is part of UNORCAC, an organization representing the rural and indigenous people in the canton of Cotacachi. The objective of the organization is to improve the living conditions of its members through development projects and programs such as rural tourism.

Book your south america tours

Meet / Depart: Quito – Ecuador
 
Includes
Transportation
Otavalo Market Tour
English Speaking Guide

1 night accommodation
Breakfast Day 2
 
Not Included
Meals not mentioned
Anything not specified

Where to get Lunch

There are many restaurants around the Otavalo Market square that offer set meal menu's for $4 or less.

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera with high and low speed film, cash or travellers checks. 

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Rural Community

LTE-QTP008 (Option 1): Hike Around Cuichocha

Otavalo Market

Cuicocha is part of the Ecological Reserve Cotacachi-Cayapas, which is at an altitude of 3,064 m. This reserve is a pleasure for every nature lover. The bright blue colored lake is located inside a volcanic crater under the skirts of the Cotacachi volcano. The beautiful scenery is enhanced by the local flora composed of miniature orchids and other Andean flowers. The possibility of spotting local animals includes sightings of fox, llamas, Andean ducks and even the majestic Condor. After hiking, you will have the optional opportunity to take a short cruise around the islets found in the lake.

Detailed Itinerary (Full Day)

This 5-hour hike will give you the opportunity to view a variety of Andean flora and fauna surrounding the lake and its unique landscape.

The lake, with its beautiful crystal waters, has two small islands created by volcanic domes, and has a depth of approximately 200 m. With a clear sky during the trek, you will be able to see the snow-capped peaks of the volcanoes Cayambe, Cotopaxi and the craters of Cotacachi and Imbabura. You will start your hike at 3,100 m and you will reach a viewpoint at 3,500 m - from this point onwards you will descend to the level of the lake

Highlights

Cotacahi VolcanoSnow Capped Volcanoes and Mountains Incredible scenery, including views of Cotacachi (4966 m /16300 ft.), Imbabura (4650m/15 255ft.), Cayambe (5790m/19 000ft.), and Cotopaxi (5.898m/ 19 350ft.) Volcanoes. (Note: Cotopaxi means neck of the moon in the indigenous language).

Cuicocha Crater Lake Cuicocha (lake of the guinea pigs by its indigenous name) is a remote, gorgeous spot with 200m deep clear water. Created by a volcanic eruption about 3100 years ago, it is located in the Cuicocha Volcano at an altitude of 3.200m.A volcanic eruption caused the dome of the Cuicocha to collapse inward; its glacier melted and formed a lake within the new giant crater. The Crater Lake is located at 3.064m altitude and its waters are blue green. There are two islets formed of 3 lava domes. 

Andean Flora and Fauna You will find miniature orchids and other Andean flowers within the reserve, and there are Andean foxes, deer, spectacled bears and even the Andean condor.

Book your south america tours

Meet / Depart: Cotacachi – Ecuador 
 
Includes
Private Transportation
English Speaking Guide
Guided hike around Cuicocha Lake
 
Not Included
Cruise around Cuicocha lake $1.20 pp min. 7 people
Anything not specified
 

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera with high and low speed film, cash or travellers checks. 

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Cuicocha Lake

LTE-QTP008 (Option 2): Horseback Riding around Cuicocha Crater Lake

Cotococha Horses Riding

Enjoy a day of horseback riding in the Ecological Reserve Cotacachi-Cayapas, located right outside Otavalo. Ride through breathtaking nature scenes and visit indigenous communities. We will ride around the Cuicocha Volcanic Crater Lake while enjoying the local flora and fauna.  Miniature orchids, Andean flowers are found along the horse trail. We can also spot foxes, deer and with much luck the majestic Andean condor. A cruise around the lake is optional.

Detailed Itinerary

Cuicocha MealWe will depart from the office in Otavalo by car to a rural community or a hacienda. From there, we will start our horse-ride through native forest and indigenous communities,where we will be able to observe the daily life of the people.

We will visit the Cuicocha Crater Lake and enjoy a traditional meal. The Crater Lake is located at 3,064m above sea level. Its water is blue green. There are two islets formed of 3 lava domes. There will be time at the lake to partake in a boat ride around the islets. From Cuicocha Lake, we will return to the hacienda by horseback before returning to Otavalo by car.

Highlights

Snow Capped Volcanoes and Mountains. Incredible scenery, including views of Cotacachi (4966 m /16300 ft.), Imbabura (4650m/15 255ft.), Cayambe (5790m/19 000ft.), and Cotopaxi (5.898m/ 19 350ft.)

Cotacachi CondorCuicocha Crater Lake is a remote, gorgeous spot with 200m deep clear water. It is located at the Cuicocha Volcano at approximately 3.200m above sea level.

Andean Flora and Fauna. You will find miniature orchids and other Andean flowers within the reserve, and there are Andean foxes, deer, spectacled bears and even the Andean condor, Ecuador's symbol.

Indigenous Communities. The horseback riding through the Andean landscape is the best way to see the area in the way the indigenous view it. Pass through small indigenous communities that you would never see otherwise, and experience the Andes in the traditional way.


Book your south america tours

Meet / Depart
Office in Otavalo – Ecuador
 
Includes
Private Transportation
Horse ride around Cuicocha Lake
English Speaking Guide
 
Not Included
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Gratuities and personal expenses
Hotel Accommodations
Cruise around Cuicocha lake $1.20 pp min. 7 people
Anything not specified
 
Cuicocha Volcanic Crater Lake
A volcanic eruption caused the dome of the Cuicocha volcano to collapse inward; its glacier melted and formed a lake within the new giant crater, 1 mile wide at each side.

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera with high and low speed film, cash or travellers checks. 

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Horseback Riding

LTE-QTP008 (Option 3): Biking Downhill to the Subtropical Cloud Forest

Mountain Biking

A unique adventure off the beaten path. We depart from Otavalo and head up (by car) to the Ucshapungo Community. From there, it is a downhill ride from 3500m down to 1200m above sea level. Abundant flora and fauna can be contemplated on the route down the Andes Mountains, which lasts approximately 5 hours. We will pass through a breathtaking and ever-changing landscape. Upon arrival at Nangulvi in the Intag Valley we can enjoy a restoring bath in the local hot springs.

Detailed Itinerary

TermalesIn the surroundings of the Otavalo market, we find a dirt road that leads from the Andes  into lower valleys in the subtropics of Intag and its cloud forest. Many birds can be admired along the trail while passing by small rural villages observing local agriculture. The 60km bike ride is mainly downhill from approximately 3,500 meters near Cuicocha  Lake  (Andean zone) to 1,500 meters, in the subtropical Cloud Forest of Intag.

After this adventurous biking trip, there will be the opportunity to bathe in the thermal pools at Nangulví. A dip in the hot water will wash away the dust and tiredness and you'll feel 'brand new'. After a relaxing swim and lunch, we will take you back to Otavalo by car. Return to Quito.

Highlights

Indigenous Communities. We will pass by small villages on the way, where we will be able to admire local agriculture. You will pass through small indigenous communities that you would never see otherwise, and experience the Andes and its descent close up.

Indigenou CommunitiesHidden trails and smooth dirt roads Enjoy a smooth and relatively easy downhill ride: this will allow you to really “take in” and appreciate the landscape around you.

Intag Subtropical Cloud Forest. First, appreciate as you descend how the surroundings drastically change, and then once in the subtropical cloud forest, you will be able to enjoy abundance of flora and fauna. Intag is also a great place for bird watching!

Nangulví Hot Springs. After finishing the ride, enjoy soaking in volcanic hot springs at the cooperatively run eco-tourism complex in Nangulví.

Book your south america tours

Meet / Depart
Otavalo – Ecuador
 
Includes 
Breakfast & Lunch
Private Transportation
Mountain Bike with front suspension, helmet, knee and elbow pads
English Speaking Guide
Support Vehicle
 
Not Included
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Gratuities and personal expenses.
Anything not specified.
 
Activity Level
This trip can be adapted for all levels. Most of the ride is downhill and it is not steep. In general, it is an easy trail.

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera with high and low speed film, cash or travellers checks. 

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Mountain Biking

LTE-QTP007: Two days Northern Andes and Otavalo Market/ Haciendas

Haciendas

We head north from Quito and visit small village artisan workshops. We will visit the Otavalo Market; here we can experience the most important indigenous trade gathering in South America. Learn to bargain for ponchos, sweaters, and local handcrafted goods. We will then visit another small town, where we will visit local artisan homes. You will also have the chance to visit the Cuicocha Crater Lake. We include stays at historic haciendas, country inns or with indigenous families.

Detailed Itinerary

Otavalo MarketDay 1.  Quito – Otavalo:   North of Quito, we will visit the small villages of the northern Andes. On our way to the Otavalo Market, we will have the chance to stop at Miralago: a scenic lookout point from where we will have a great view of the Imbabura Volcano and the San Pablo Lake. At the Otavalo Indigenous Market, the most important in South America, where we will spend some time bartering and trading for ponchos, wall hangings, wool hats and other artisan crafts from the surrounding villages. Optional lunch. Accommodations, relaxation, and dinner at a historical Hacienda or Country Inn.

Day 2.  Otavalo – Quito:  Visit Cuicocha, a volcanic crater lake, and small indigenous villages. Cuicocha Crater Lake (“lake of the Gods” by its indigenous name) is a remote, gorgeous spot with 200m deep clear water. Created by a volcanic eruption about 3100 years ago, it is located in the Cuicocha Volcano at an altitude of 3,200m. Optional lunch, return to Quito.

Highlights

Cuicocha crater lakeCayambe Volcano. If the weather is good, we will be able to view one of the most beautiful mountains in the country with its perfect cone shaped summit, covered by eternal snow and crossed by the Equator line.
Cuicocha Crater Lake Cuicocha a remote, gorgeous spot with 200m deep clear water. Created by a volcanic eruption about 3100 years ago, it is located in the Cuicocha Volcano at an altitude of 3,200m.

Hacienda Stay Enjoy. A relaxing and tranquil stay in comfortable country houses where it seems time has stood still. Haciendas are farms first built during the colonial times, when the Spanish King gave out land to the most influential people in the area. Today, many haciendas are remodelled, with all the daily comforts you are used to, to provide a unique experience for its visitors.

The Otavalo Market. A famous indigenous gathering, where local communities get together and share their social life and bring out their goods - such as woodcarvings, tapestries, wool sweaters, ponchos, Andean musical instruments, paintings, etc -  for sale and trade. Many different forms of folk art can be appreciated and bought at very low prices.


Book your south america tours

Meet/Depart
Quito – Ecuador
 
Includes
Meals listed in itinerary (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner)
Private Transportation
Guided tour to the Otavalo market and indigenous communities
1 night in selected hotel in Otavalo
English speaking guide
Entrance fee Cotacachi Cayapas Wildlife Reserve ($1)
 
Not Included
Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
Meals not listed
Gratuities and personal expenses.
Anything not specified.
 
The Andean Hacienda
The haciendas in the Andes are the main houses from old Andes cattle farms. Today many old haciendas serve as boutique hotel and bed and breakfast accommodations.

WHAT TO BRING

Passport, comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windbreaker, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack, camera with high and low speed film, cash or travellers checks. 

IMPORTANT:

We reserve the right to modify the itinerary - due to weather conditions, etc. - in the best interest of our clients.

 Hacienda Stay


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Post office box: 17-21-1982 Main Offices Address: Av. Gral. Rumiñahui , San Rafael
Quito - Ecuador