Tim and I recently returned from THE most interesting trip… The Land of the Sun! Ecuador has the largest biodiversity per area in the world!! The richness of this country lies in this diversity, natural and cultural. Ecuador has 4 diverse and unique regions: the Amazon Rain Forest, the highland Andes, the Coast, and the Galapagos Archipelago. We were mainly in the Andean area, with two volcanoes on either side.
Our group was escorted by Olivia Camden-Mackie, a fiber artist at The Fiber Company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The tour was for artists, crafters and anyone who was interested in going to this beautiful country. We flew from Charlotte, N.C. to Miami and into Quito – the capital. One night was spent and off we went to Cotacachi. Our hacienda hotel, El Meson de las Flores, was once the home of the governor in the 1800’s—very quaint and charming, with breakfast every morning.
The tour was designed to visit craft markets. We purchased leather goods, alpaca blankets, sweaters, rugs, llama wraps, jewelry, and so much more!! We even learned the “fine art” of negotiating very quickly and reasonable prices were found by all!
There were many shops in this area and I don't think we missed a single one! We especially enjoyed Peguche where weavers were making extraordinary pieces. A market we particularly enjoyed was the Santonio Market. It was fascinating to watch the woodcarvers make beautiful pieces. The Vatican even commissions the artists in this area for many of its pieces. Another market that was enjoyed by all was in Otavalo—there we found linens, jewelry, hammocks and beautiful jewelry boxes. NOT TO BE MISSED….a pie shop!! This stop made for a wonderful afternoon snack break!
A lovely time was had by all; this was my 42nd country to be visited and we learned so much about the culture, the language and the government. Americans are welcomed warmly!
Let me know if I may further assist with any of your travel needs or pleasures and many thanks to Gwen Scott for the wonderful pictures!
**Very Important: If you are planning a trip to this area, it is most important that you get a prescription from your doctor so you can avoid Altitude Sickness. You are in the Andes Mountains and you want to stay well.