is on almost every Ecuador itinerary because it serves as a base
excursions in the local area. Local travel
agents help arrange visits, tours, hikes, treks,
horse hire or
cycling trips, as well as Otavalo hotels.
Any Ecuador travel agent in Quito can also arrange tours from
often include several attractions in the Otavalo area, home to many of
popular tourist sites in Ecuador.
hiking destinations: Keen
walkers might trek
up to the Lagunas de Mojanda (Mojanda
Lakes), for example, or this could also be an enjoyable horse ride
(cabalgata). Other popular destinations include
Waterfall (la cascada de Peguche) or Laguna (Lagoon, Lake) Cuicocha, as
well as Lago San Pablo.
Otavalo hotels are accustomed to walkers heading to these
popular hiking destinations, so they may well be able help arrange
trekking guides or lend maps of Otavalo trekking routes.
is easy to organise trips from Otavalo to craft workshops in
villages and slightly further afield to villages like Zuleta,
its embroidery, or Cotacachi, known for leather goods. Ask
local travel agents, either in Quito or Otavalo, or ask
stallholders in the market if they will organise a tour to their own
workshops for you, if your Spanish language skills are good enough.
hotels are not the only accommodation option. To
agricultural life in the Otavalo area for yourself, try a farmstay at
community tourism project Runa
where you can stay in a cabaña in
the garden of a farming
family. You have your own room and private bathroom, but eat
the family and help with or watch tasks on the farm if you wish.
You'll get more out of this if you are able to learn Spanish
enough to be able to communicate. Runa
Tupari's office is along one side of the Plaza
Ponchos in Otavalo.
San Pablo, or Saint
Lake is a short bus ride out of Otavalo, or a pleasant walk.
There are various hotels and hostals offering accommodation
activities near or on the lake, such as canoeing or horse-riding
excursions. The lakeside restaurant is a little pricey, but
the views are wonderful.
in the hills
overlooking San Pablo lake
is the raptor rescue center, Condor Park (Parque Condor), open
Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30a.m. to 5.00p.m. and well worth a visit.
This is your chance to see the huge Andean condor, an
species, close-up, along with various other types of vulture, hawk, owl
Hike there from Otavalo or take any bus from Otavalo
Quito, get off when you see the sign for the Parque Condor turn-off and
walk or take a taxi for the 4km from there.
birds of prey which, for various reasons, cannot be released into the
wild, and carries out very important community education work with
school groups, raising awareness of wildlife and conservation issues.
you are there for one of the flying displays (usually at 11.30am and
4.30pm). The grace and beauty of a bird of prey soaring
the skies then choosing to return to the fist of its trainer is quite
awe-inspiring and emphasises the importance of the centre's
in helping to save these species from extinction through rescue,
rehabilitation and environmental education.
these are some of the most popular tourist sites in Ecuador, you will
easily find Otavalo maps and information (try the Tourist Information
office just off the corner of the Plaza de los Ponchos, the main market
square). If you can communicate in Spanish, it is possible to
travel on local buses or walk to hiking destinations without
assistance. For those wanting more help, transport or guides,
most local travel agents speak English and offer a wide range of
excursions in and around Otavalo.
Spanish Vocabulary for excursions from Otavalo, Ecuador:
Agencia de viaje: travel agents
Laguna: Lagoon or lake
Destinations: Otavalo Excursions
Tourist information for day trips, hikes, homestays and visits from
Otavalo, including San Pablo Lake, Condor Park & community
farmstays. The Otavalo area includes many of the most popular
tourist sites in Ecuador as such is on every Ecuador itinerary.
Local travel agents offer excursions, guides and maps to
hiking destinations around Otavalo.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
content of this website is copyright and may not be used or reproduced