Otovalo is a market town between Quito and the border with Colombia. Most people will pass through on a Saturday as the market is best then. Us being us we arrived on a Sunday.
The market was still impressive and we felt like we were the only tourists in town.
We spent a few days here and visited a nearby village and a lake for some hiking.
I bought a lot more than I should have done, egg let me.
We hated the gringo area
We found more pan de yuca (bread I can eat)
Latacunga is not that exciting in itself, but it is a good base for exploring the natural wonders in the area. In the day the street food and market is awesome, in the evening there was one place we could eat (most places close, I assume people eat at home) and all I could eat was plain rice and chips, for three nights.
First we went to lake Quilotoa, a high altitude crater lake. Very beautiful, hell of a walk into the crater and back but good training for the next day, and the skinniest dog that received all our lunch plus some meat that I bought from a restaurant that thought I was a crazy gringa.
The next day we went to Cotopaxi national park to have a climb of the volcano. You have to have the proper gear to reach the summit, so we only made it 5,600 metres. Still it was the highest we’ve ever been. This was an even harder walk but we did it alot quicker than a lot of people according to our guide (big whoop). Anyway, we reached the glacier at the top, walked around a lake and had a stroll through the general park. Despite being initially underwhelmed, probably due to the cloud, we loved it.
I also became addicted to Yo Me Llamo, an Ecuadorian TV show that is a cross between stars in their eyes and x factor. It’s awful and everyone watches it.
Arriving in Ecuador we carried on going straight from the border, to Machala to Cuenca.
It had a bit of a bad run with us, as we ended up only being there in the evening and in the pouring rain. Our first day we travelled to the nearby towns famed for their markets as it was a Sunday. Honestly we went because I wanted to go to the place based on the name, Sigsig, it’s glorious. The other two were Gualaceo and Chordeleg. All three were different and we pretty much wandered around the centres, visited the markets and tried even more food.
Baños was the place I think I was most looking forward to in Ecuador. Famed for its natural springs it is a bit of a destination for relaxation and basking. So we did. We both treated ourselves to embarrassingly cheap glorious massages, and I went a steal further and got a manicure and pedicure too, just because. We also did a hell of a steep hike up the surrounding mountains and then around the town, before finally ending in the baths.
In the baths there were three main pools and some plunge pools so we followed the crowd when we arrived and tried to go in the most crowded one. This was a mistake! The water was so hot it felt like climbing into a kettle, I think we managed ankles and no more. So we removed ourselves with dignity to the cooler pool, which was still pretty piping. When we were so hot we couldn’t bear it we chucked ourselves in the freezing showers. Feeling brave we faced the hot pool again and this time, a bit more acclimatised to the heat, we were successful. It was so hot that after a few minutes we moved to the plunge pool and just sat there. SAT, in the plunge pool. Even braver and still really hot we went for a swim in the cold pool. Finally, having experienced everything we left the baths and left Baños.