Published: August 4th 2012August 3rd 2012
Day 17: Otavalo Day 2:
We woke up around 6am or so, made coffee, then went out to find some eggs and rolls for breakfast. After breakfast, we walked down to the bus terminal to get a bus to either Cotacachi or Quiroga. We ended up going to Quiroga first. When we arrived at the town sqaure, the driver's assistant had already signalled his brother the taxi driver and when we got off... there was a taxi waiting for us! He originally asked for 5 dollars to take us to Lake Cuicocha, but we'd been told it should be four dollars, so he agreed. After a pretty long trip, we arrived at this beautiful volcanic lake. The taxi driver wanted 15 dollars total to wait an hour and then take us back, but he agreed on returning an hour later for another 4 dollars. We found out the boat around the lake was only $2.50, so we bought two tickets. The ride was pretty neat, especially for the money. After the ride, we got our free hot drink (non-alcoholic), browsed the handicraft stalls, and took the taxi back to the bus stop.
Next stop, Cotacachi where they make the
best leather goods. The bus ride was only about 20 minutes and cost 25 cents. The bus dropped us off and we walked along the street oggling all the leather good shops and checked out the main plaza. Manoli bought a couple of neat little ball cap coin purses in one shop, then we headed back to the bus stop to return to Otavalo. Again, the trip was pretty short and costs 25 cents each I think. We bought some water and snacks in the local supermarket, then returned to the hostal to drop it off. We finally figured out the best way to Peguche to see the waterfalls, and left a little after 2pm, hoping we could find something for lunch in Peguche. The town is known for their weaving and musical instrument, but we were so wrapped up in finding someplace to eat that we didn't see many shops. The first place we found was out of food til dinner time, but pointed us towards another place down the road. We eventually found the Aya Huma Hostal which had a restaurant. The sign on the door said they didn't open til 5pm, but the door was open and
the guy told us they'd serve us, so in we went. They had an okay variety of food, so we ordered two bowls of soup, one cream of quinoa and one cream of spinach, and an order of french fries with hot dogs. Almost everything was quite good, except the hot dogs were tough on the outside and cold on the inside.
After lunch, 4pm by now, we walked down the old railroad tracks to the road that went to the waterfalls. There were a number of craft and souvenir shops near the entrance, so we checked them out, then headed to the path to the waterfalls. We had to sign in at the entrance building, where I graciously made a one dollar donation (optional), then hike along this nice cobbled path to the falls. There is a decent little campground along the way, with regular sites, concrete circular sites, and a few little cabins. A couple of groups were apparently camped there at the time. When we got to the falls, they were pretty cool, and they had a couple of overlooks. We checked out the lower one since the upper one looked pretty steep and didn't seem
to have such a great view of the falls. The trail up was a bit wet and slippery, but we made it.
After leaving the falls, we decided to walk back to Otavalo. It turned out to be a pretty easy walk into town. We could tell the town was really starting to hop, being Friday night before the big market, but when we decided to head to the street the hostal guy had recommended for eating and shopping, we were surprised at how busy it really was. After walking a number of blocks looking for a place to eat a light dinner, but reached the plaza where the handicrafts are and found a restaurant called Buena Vista (Good View). It turned out to be a good view, but the service was terrible and the food didn't make up for it. We waited a while to get a menu, then almost an hour to get our food! Manoli had a vinagrette salad that she said was nothing special with the lettuce tasting a bit sour, and I had a bowl of spaghetti with steamed vegetables and three cheese sauce. The spaghetti was cooked properly and the vegetables were good,
but the "three cheese sauce" was almost water with little flavor. Oh well, live and learn. The total was $9.30, so we left a ten and boogied. We returned to the hostal and tried to watch a movie on NetFlix, but apparenlty the connection speed or bandwidth wasn't sufficient, so it kept reloading every 20 or 30 seconds. This took several minutes each time, so we gave up.
Tomorrow is the big day. We will be at the animal market soon after 7am, then check out the other markets. We plan on staying in the hostal until checkout time, then ask to leave our luggage there while we continue shopping. We aren't planning on going to Quito to meet the group until 4pm or so.
There are more photos below