Quito, Otavalo & Mindo; Ecuador

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January 30th 2019
Published: January 31st 2019
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We are continuing to branch out from our excellent base in Quito. Again we rented a lifeless Chevy Spark for the drive to Otavalo and Mindo, but it was economical; $10 for fuel for the 4 day trip.

Driving is a challenge here, potholes that are more like craters on roads that wind up or down mountains. 50km feels more like 200.

But it was worth it.

As usual, we'll let the photos tell the story.

Next: 5 days at La Selva Amazon Jungle Lodge.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 22


Guayasamin Home/museumGuayasamin Home/museum
Guayasamin Home/museum

This beautiful home of the late artist, Ecuador's best known, sits on a ridge high above Quito. The house is packed with his collections and paintings.
His studioHis studio
His studio

We took a guided tour which adds so much to the experience.
Paco de LuciaPaco de Lucia
Paco de Lucia

A fascinating part of the tour was watching Guayasamin paint this portrait of the famous flamenco guitarist...using time lapse, we saw the complete creation.
Pre Columbian collectionPre Columbian collection
Pre Columbian collection

The house was so large the many collections did not clutter it.
Otavalo & MindoOtavalo & Mindo
Otavalo & Mindo

Our road trip took us first to Otavalo, north of Quito, then Mindo, to the west.
The road to OtavaloThe road to Otavalo
The road to Otavalo

White knuckle drive all the way.
Riviera Sucre HostalRiviera Sucre Hostal
Riviera Sucre Hostal

We stayed 2 nights in this charming guesthouse in Otavalo.
Tourist at restTourist at rest
Tourist at rest

The perfect little sitting area outside our room.
Otavalo marketOtavalo market
Otavalo market

Quite a jumble of genuine local crafts and crafty Chinese knockoffs.
Grilled cornGrilled corn
Grilled corn

So many foods on offer.
Saturday marketSaturday market
Saturday market

Locals buy these huge seed pods and eat the contents as they wander through the market.
Ecuadorian hatEcuadorian hat
Ecuadorian hat

Not a Panama hat, as the locals are quick to point out.

The head in the foreground is that of local indigenous hero with the Catholic Church behind.
Condor ParkCondor Park
Condor Park

Just outside Otavalo is this fascinating sanctuary for raptors from all over North America. Several of the birds were released to demonstrate their flight skills...they returned for a treat of course.
Perfect settingPerfect setting
Perfect setting

The birds were released to fly freely over this beautiful valley.
Harris hawkHarris hawk
Harris hawk

Landed beside us to devour its treat, a scrap of meat.
Andean Condor wingspanAndean Condor wingspan
Andean Condor wingspan

We are hoping to see these giants in the wild later in our trip to Peru.
Take offTake off
Take off

This condor is in an enclosure large enough to allow it a short flight.

The 120km drive took 4 hours to get to Mindo. It is a magnet town for birders, hikers and river rafters.
Dragonfly Hostal, MindoDragonfly Hostal, Mindo
Dragonfly Hostal, Mindo

Our home for 2 nights. The little town is full of assorted mutts. They rest up all day to be fit for the all night barking competition. They finally let up just as the roosters take over.
Around MindoAround Mindo
Around Mindo

Mindo measures its rainfall in meters. As a result the cloud forest vegetation its pretty spectacular.

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