October 3 – Otavalo

We arrived in Cotacachi late the night before, after a sumptuous dinner in Ibarra with friends of Wilson.  We were checked into a very nice B&B called the Yellow Guest House.  The rooms are nice, with private baths, comfy beds and very nice hosts.

Today we visited the town of Otavalo, home to the largest Indigenous market in South America.  The last time we visited, it was a weekday and not so busy.  This time, we hit it on a Saturday – it was 100’s of times bigger with so much to see and do….

After several hours at the market, we travelled out of town and to the top of a nearby volcano.  There was a beautiful lake and the whole area was part of a large park.

After a short hike and great views, Wilson had another surprise for us – we were going to have lunch at a local steak house!  Not quite like the Keg, but then we were in Ecuador…

Our afternoon activities included driving around the lake – Lago San Pablo – looking at properties and then a stop at a bird sanctuary situated on top of a hill overlooking Otavalo.  As we were walking towards the park, a condor appeared overhead.  Wilson said it was very rare to see a condor so close to a large populated area.  The sanctuary had a variety of local birds – eagles, condors, hawks, owls.  They had a demonstration for us at a viewing area overlooking the city below – it was quite enjoyable and informative.