ARTS, CRAFTS & TRADITIONS OF THE ANDES

Day 1: Traditional Cuisine and Otavalo Market (Quito – Cayambe – Otavalo)

Departing from Quito to the north along the Pan-American Highway we will travel to the small village of Calderón to learn about the tradition of bread dough figures while visiting a local bakery. We continue north to the valley of Guayllabamba and then on to the southern part of the valley of Cayambe where the equator meets the highway. On a clear day here you have a spectacular view of the Cayambe Volcano in the distance. We have the option to visit Quitsato, an interesting solar clock that was created to provide a unique, innovative view of the equator.

 

From there we continue north to the village of Cayambe to sample a local delicacy, the famed “biscochos”, traditional local biscuits. Try them along with fresh cheese! Progressing north, we reach Imbabura, the “Province of the 2 Lakes” and will make a photo stop at the Miralago viewpoint. A few minutes further we will reach Hacienda Cusín, a restored 17th-century estate, and check in before enjoying a fantastic lunch. The hacienda’s cuisine is quite well known. In the afternoon we will depart to visit Otavalo and the largest indigenous market in Latin America, famous for its variety of goods and terrific shopping. Bartering is the name of the game here!

After the market, we will return to Hacienda Cusín to enjoy the grounds and a nice dinner. Overnight in Cusín. (-/L/D)

 

Day 2: Afro-Ecuadorian Village (Peguche – San Antonio de Ibarra – Salinas)

 

Today we will take advantage of the cultural diversity of the region so after breakfast we depart north along the edge of Lake San Pablo until we reach the weavers community of Peguche where almost every home has looms. We will visit a local workshop to learn about the techniques that have been passed down for generations. Then we will visit an Andean musical wind instrument workshop to see how some of the most popular highland instruments are made.

 

We continue north through various villages like Ilumán, known for producing felt hats and local healers called “yagchas,” to reach San Antonio de Ibarra, a village devoted to perhaps the best wood carving work in Ecuador. There we can interact with local artisans and see a typical workshop. Traveling on only a few minutes to the north we will reach Hacienda Chorlaví, a former Jesuit property converted into a comfortable resort, where we will check in and have lunch. In the afternoon we will head north to visit a totally unexpected community, the Afro-Ecuadorian village of Santa Catalina de Salinas, where we will learn about its fascinating history and traditions. On the way back to Hacienda Chorlaví we will make a stop in the city of Ibarra to try the local homemade fruit ice cream.

 

Upon arrival back at the hacienda we’ll have some time to relax and enjoy a nice dinner as well as a good night’s rest. Overnight in Chorlaví. (B/L/D)

 

Day 3: Andean Condor Rescue Center (Zuleta Community)

After breakfast we depart along the old cobblestone road south to Hacienda Zuleta, a 1,600-hectare (4,000-acre) colonial working farm that has belonged to the family of Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more tan 100 years. The hacienda produces 10,000 liters (3,000 gallons) of milk each day that is used to make the well-known varieties of Zuleta brand cheese. After check-in we will take a 20-minute walk on the hacienda grounds and cross green pastures to reach their Andean Condor rescue center where we will 3 have super chance to take great photos of these majestic birds as well as learn about their struggle to survive in this part of the Andes.

 

Afterwards we will return to the house where you can enjoy some time exploring before dinner and a comfortable night’s rest. Overnight at Zuleta. (B/L/D)

 

Day 4: Flower Plantation (Cayambe Valley – Quito)

After breakfast we depart and follow the same route south to reach the

Cayambe Valley, rose capital of Ecuador, where we will visit an important rose plantation to learn more about this industry that exports the loveliest products Ecuador has to offer.

 

After the visit we continue on to El Molino de San Juan, a former grain mil converted into a typical restaurant where we can enjoy a nice lunch before returning back to Quito later in the afternoon. (B/L/-)

 

 

Included: Private English speaking guide and driver with A/C vehicles, all meals as detailed on the program, accommodation in selected properties, visits, excursions daily bottled water and activities. This excursion is a private basis tour however it might include certain shared or group visits on some locations.

 

Not Included: Beverages, tips or personal expenses. For other languages than English (German, Italian or French) please ask for the surcharge.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE The itinerary could be modified due to regulations from National Parks, restoration of certain areas at haciendas or colonial houses or force majeure events.

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