We woke up today to sunny skies and a fresh pot of Ecuadorian coffee. The plan for the day was a drive to Ibarra to go to the larger shopping center to pick up a few needed items, then drive out to the lake, Yahuracocha just east of town. Click the link to learn about the dark history of this lake.
Anyway, we never made it to the lake as we got turned around in Ibarra and there was a huge traffic jam due to construction on the way out of town. We ended up driving further west out of town on the Panamerica Highway. We then found a back road that took us back to Cotacachi. There were many small communities along the way, each with its own small central square with a church.
The roads in Ecuador are generally very good. I would love to bring my GoldWing down and do some exploring. The main highways are beautifully maintained and are mostly toll roads.
Once you get off the main highway, most of the secondary roads are also in very good shape, although a bit narrow in spots. You know when you are coming into a small town or village as the pavement switches to brick or stone roads, all laid by hand!
The final stretch of about 8Km from Atuntaqui to Cotacachi was an old cobblestone road – definitely not a good idea on a GoldWing! We had to watch out for livestock, oncoming vehicles, holes in the road, and children walking home from school…
Here is a map of the route we took – it was conveniently posted on a wall inside the convent in Cotacachi where we stopped for lunch. Soup, salad, chicken and rice, fruit smoothie and jello for $2.75.