A day-trip to Otaval,mostly known for its indigenous market, is one of the most popular trips from Quito. I decided to spend a little more time in the region, to combine:
- Otavalo + indigenous market
- Train trip to the North (touristy, I know – but I like train rides)
- Cotocachi Volcano and Cuicocha Laguna – horseback riding (!!!!!)
The Otavalo market did not “blew me away”. Unfortunately, I did not manage to see the animal market in the morning, since it only lasts until 12.00am. A lot of the stuff on the market was very touristy – more of the same. I was much more impressed by the more authentic markets in Bolivia and Peru. But if it’s ones first visit to a South American market – GO! And most of the day-trips from Quito also go to Laguna Cotocachi – so it’s a nice and worthwhile day-trip.
The train trip (Tren de Libertad II, whole day, 53 US$) went from Otavalo via various small villages with artisanal specialties, via Ibarra to Salinas – and detour. The first part felt like a sales-tour… we stopped in villages and went to see a former textile fabric (turned museum) and a wood carver, who produces holy statues.
But than, beginning from Ibarra the rain drove through beautiful landscapes – so I got what I was hoping for. After all that hiking and biking – a relaxed day in a train felt just right for me.
Tour along Cotocachi volcano and Cuicocha Laguna. Okay, I am not and never have been a “horse-girl”, not at all. I’ve been on horses before, but did not fell in love with it. I’ve been riding on a bloody donkey for a whole day in the Colombian jungle (because of my ankle injury) and I did not enjoy it at all. But hey…. this horse ride along Cotocachi volcano area was the only tour available for that day (Ecomontes in Otavalo)…
And… I really liked it! The horse and me got along very well for the approx. 3h ride and managed to not hurt each other (besides my muscle aches next day). Yeahhh! And my horse had his little two months old baby boy riding all the time next to it.
During my Otavalo visit I stayed in Hostal Doña Esther – Otavalo – a centrally located, basic hotel, with hot water, super friendly staff and a restaurant that (among others) serves a very good Pizza. Well deserved comfy food ❤