Blogs from Otavalo, North, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo February 11th 2020

Our first 2 days in Ecuador were spent at a great hostel in Quito (Hostel Revolution) getting used to the altitude and finding the central market for supplies and lunch. We decided not to have the potatoes and leather or the leather and booklet! We learned that the bus system of Quito takes a bit of getting used to….we were warned to keep each other and our other valuables closely guarded which seemed ok until we finally, after a couple of false starts due to nerves, managed to barge our way onto the bus which was soooo crowded that you had to literally throw yourself off the approach ramp which are built into the bus stops and onto the bus before the doors shut. At one point I (Jan) was on the bus but the doors ... read more
Lunch at 4000m overlooking Las Lagunas de Mojandas
Scrambling? I don't think so....

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo January 19th 2020

Because we spent so much time in Otavalo, I decided that I had more things to talk about. Aside from their absolutely fantastic peanut ice cream and empanadas (both of which cost a dollar), there were some fantastic deals to be had in the market in Otavalo. One thing that's very different than I'm used to, though, was the way that they expected you to barter with them. In the U.S, one of the most aggravating things for me as a consumer is when prices aren't listed, since I like to take a little time to think about the cost without the seller being involved. As you might expect, the fact that no one in Otavalo listed prices, combined with the fact that they wanted you to make decisions on the spot was a little worrying ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo January 18th 2020

I very much enjoyed the time we spent as a group in Otavalo. It was fantastic to be able to see such a different way of life, and only an hour or so from Quito. By far though, my favorite part of the excursion was being able to relate to them in our interactions. In general, at the various stands I purchased items at, I could tell that they knew I was from either Europe or the U.S. At one stand in particular, I struck up a conversation after my purchase of a Quena (a flute/recorder hybrid instrument), and he asked me where I was from, inferring that he knew I wasn't from around here. He was very kind though, he complemented my Spanish speaking and I'm sure he talked a little slower so that I ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo August 26th 2017

Having always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands, we decided to make that our chief destination for 2017 travel. We knew full well that we will likely not be back this way, at least no any time soon, we decided to add Machu Picchu as a further destination after the visit to the islands. My brother Chuck located a Galapagos journey that would put us on a boat with less than 20 people exclusive of staff. Since it was fully chartered by the Houston Zoo, we happily joined the Zoo. As we would come to realize, this gave us a huge benefit in terms of the clientele on the boat. The flight down through Atlanta was uneventful. Chuck and I sat in steerage, but were in the row where the exit door was located, so had ... read more
Fast food, Ecuadorean style
Rustic joining
Condor

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo March 5th 2016

All kind of people travel. You have the single travellers, the couples, the friends, the families, and infrequently the mother-daughter pair. But it is not often you encounter the mother-son combination. The eyes stop to look, the minds wonder. We are different. Not the norm for the road. We stand out. But the reactions are invariably positive. How is it to travel with my mother? Not hard. But there are differences with travelling alone of course. Probably the biggest issue is the discrepancy in spending power. My budget is lower than my mums. It’s not always easy. I don’t want my mum to have to travel like I do, vice-versa, my mother doesn’t want me to break my bank to keep up with her. For the Galapagos I decided to go on par with my mother, ... read more
Bahia de Caraquez
Quito
Quito

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo December 18th 2015

We headed out for Baños leaving from the now familiar bus terminal at Latacunga. We were told to change buses on the outskirts of Amato which was more like just the edge of a busy road. On the second bus, as there were no seats left Vicks got to ride up front with the driver in the seat of the chap that usually goes round collecting the money. For the hour and a half journey Vicks was mainly being quizzed over the differences between Ecuador and England with the driver and the sellers of food that jump onto the bus at any given stop. We arrived at Baños to find out that it was the build up to “Baños Day” which meant that the town was extremely busy. We also arrived on a weekend and it ... read more
Waterfall near the town centre
View from Bellavista
Vicks on swing

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo December 10th 2015

We arrived in Otavalo exhausted by the bus ride but excited for the markets on the following day. We quickly found accomodation in supurb hotel with a stunning view of the surrounding volcanic formed mountains. After a short rest we eagerly ventured out into Otavalo eager to get a feel for this well known town. We enjoyed some outstanding mexican food, discovered where the local panderia's were. Important information as fresh bread has quickly become our favoured breakfast when on the go. We walked through the market area full of questions about exactly what these famed markets would be like. We realised the following morning that our imaginings could not possibly have prepared us for the chaotic fiesta of the market. We hesitantly ventured out into the neighbouring street to our hotel which had almost by ... read more
Volcano Cayambe
Shoe Shine
Ice drinks

South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo September 16th 2015

So I had 2 full days to use around Otavalo as I'd booked 3 nights at the hostel so here's what I did: Day one: So this was a day of mixed emotions... A slight change of plan as Lydia got invited to go with friends up to Ibarra today & decided on that rather than lake Cuicocha. I thought it might not be the best idea to walk the lake on my own for 4hrs so decided to head to Parque Condor a centre for rescued birds instead. I got a taxi up for $5 and entry into the park was $4.75. I walked around admiring the birds and I even got to see a Andean Condor in flight! This was definitely a highlight as they are extremely impressive birds which my camera does not ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo September 15th 2015

I have arrived in Ecuador no problem transferring in Houston although I did get a bit worried when it was taking what seemed like ages to get through customs! Whilst queuing for security in Houston I got talking to a guy called Renan(sp?) unfortunately he was flying to DC not Quito but he did give me a note from Honduras which is worth about 25cents apparently! So I finally landed in Quito at 11pm (5am British time). I got a bit concerned that I should only be bringing 1 phone into the country & I had 2 but apparently it's fine especially as the one doesn't actually work in Ecuador. Then I had a slight panic that my luggage hadn't arrived because it wasn't going around the carousel but it turned out airport staff had taken ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » North » Otavalo March 28th 2015

Geo: 0.233333, -78.2667None of us had a very restful night of sleep, which was to be expected given the altitude and what we had read before our trip. Still, we were at least clean and ready to meet up with our tour after breakfast at the hotel. We had no idea how many people to expect, as we had not received a list from Gate1 before departing the States.We recognized our guide from a video on the Gate1 site, advertising our tour. He provided us with all of our welcome information and assured us that our bags would be picked up and brought along. We made our way outside to a middle-sized tour bus with about 25 seats. By the time everyone boarded, we realized we were a group of only 12, including us! I had ... read more
Panorama of Quito from Overlook
Our "mini" tour bus
Gallapogos Iguana Gargoyles on Cathedral in Quito




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