Otavalo was a riot of colour, market stalls, traditionally dressed people, farm animals and shopping. Probably the only place I’ve ever seen everything from Guinea pigs to puppy dogs, pigs and cows for sale.
We spent a few relaxing nights enjoying good food at the Hacienda Guachala outside Cayambe. We discovered several equators, the official equator and mini theme park complete with the balance the egg on a pin activity, shrunken heads and pickled penis fish. Then there is the military equator and finally the wrong equator where they just…erm…got it slightly wrong. We also got up one chilly morning to climb the slopes of the Cayambe volcano and trek over the snowfall to look down under the clouds into the valley.
We drove to Tena and on into the Amazon to stay a few nights with a lovely family in the middle of the jungle surrounded by jungle, creepy crawlies and absolute black at night. We walked to the very end of the road and found a swimming hole all to ourselves, wellapart from the sandflies. Then we travelled via rafts and some exhilerating white water to a jungle lodge with the most incredible views over the Amazon…oh and a Tarantula.
Only two days into the trip and already we’ve decided to take some time out and relax in the hot springs of Papallacta. And as if the local outdoor bathing pools weren’t hot enough and relaxing enough, our cottages also have ‘private’ hot pools outside. Time for a cold beer in the warm waters after a long walk!
Quito – a city nestling between the hills and stretching out urban tendrils ever further along the valley. In the centre lies a beautiful, historical centre of open paved plazas, grandious cathedrals, tree lined streets and balconied cafes. The perfect place to acclimatise, overcome a spot of jet lag and try to resurrect some rusty Spanish.