Explore the mountain towns outside of Quito with a trip to the lively market town of Otavalo. Shop for handcrafted wares, enjoy a traditional Ecuadorian lunch in town, and stop at a historic, colonial hacienda on the way.
After being picked up at your hotel, wind your way up the Pan-American highway to Guachala, the oldest hacienda in Ecuador—built in 1580 on the equatorial line.
Admire the stunning grounds, chapel, and architecture, then take a seat on the lovely colonial patio to try a bizcocho de Cayambe pastry served with local cheese or dipped in dulce de leche.
Stop off at the Mira Lago vantage point for a sweeping view of the Laguna Sao Paulo, and then continue on to the vibrant market of Otavalo.
Wander the stalls to scope out handmade items and woven goods. Haggle with indigenous Otavalenos vendors for everything from clothing and dream catchers to tagua nut jewelry and fake shrunken heads. Then, indulge in an authentic Ecuadorian lunch at a local restaurant.
After your meal, you can choose to spend more time exploring the market or visiting the leather shops in Catacachi before your return trip to Quito.