We were ready for a new surrounding, different kind of food, new cultures so we decided to move on and yes!, we made it to Ecuador! our first stop Otavalo.
We took the night bus from Cali to the border. After standing in line to get our exit stamp from Colombia, we crossed the border on foot walking across a bridge from one country into the other. This always is quite the experience, literally crossing borders. But we made it, and are excited for a new country, new habits, new cultures and its people!
Otavalo is a relatively small town in the northern part of Ecuador, two hours north of Ecuador’s capital, Quito. Otavalo is famous for its market, helt every day. However on wednesday and saturday’s most people from neighbouring villages visit the market, so than the market is at its biggest and busiest.
We were amazed by what we saw, just after one day we realised that we could not compare Ecuador and Colombia. Especially in the northern region, most of the people wear traditional clothes full of colours and primarily made of wool from sheep and alpacas. Because of the enormous heights, the temperature is also a bit more chilly so we understand the typical ponchos are a warm welcome to wear.
But Otavalo has more to offer than the market. If you are in for some adventure, there is a nice hike you can do starting from town up the hill to a, for locals, secret place called El Lechero. This is an ancient tree on top of a hill overlooking the town and its surroundings. Honestly the place was a bit overrated for our likings, but from there it is a small walk to the nearby Condor sanctuary. Which, unfortunately this was closed on the day we were there. Not a very good start. However the surrounding hills and the enormous volcano located close to Otavalo made everything worth it just to wander around.
We continued our walk thanks to a wonderful app called “maps.me” which shows even the smallest hikes and paths, just by using the navigation of your phone after you downloaded the free map of Ecuador. We were guided along farmland, through a dried-up river and a narrow path directing us to straight above the beautiful Peguche Waterfall.
Next stop: Quilotoa