04.07.2010 - 04.07.2010
Hey all...Happy Fourth of July! This was our last day in Otovalo, Ecucador, and I managed to do just about everything. I woke up pretty early and headed with a taxi driver to a Volcano, called Coicocha (not sure about the spelling). It was similar to Crater Lake, and absolutely amazing. We were able to hike the entire crater rim, at about 12,000 feet. The hike was 18 km, or about 12 miles, with lots of steep climbs. At that altitude, it was a little tough, but I did it in about 4 hours. We saw tons of things, including wild orchids and even pine trees along one side of the crater rim. After that, we ate at a restaraunt at the lake inside the crater. There were two islands also. The last 4 km of the hike was on a road through an agrigultural area. It rained a little during the last part, but it wasn´t bad at all. When we left, we went to El Parque de Condores (a Condor Park). It was sort of like a zoo, but it was really cool. They even had a bald eagle! The taxi driver then wanted to take us to a famous waterfall just outside of town, called Cascada Peguchi (again, not sure on the spelling). It was really nice too. There was a cobblestone trail meandering through the Ecualyptus trees, which smelled really good. Then he wanted to take us to a small town where the local indiginous artists live and do their work. They have started something I´ve seen other places, sort of a local community tourism program. The artists open their homes up to people and offer a demonstration of how they do their art and then, of course you get an opportunity to purchase. It´s a really good model and good for the indiginous communities. The driver did all this for us for only $10 per person! Tomorrow, at 6:30 in the morning, the same driver is going to take us a half hour north to Imaburra to the bus station that has busses going to Esmeraldas and Atacames, Ecuador, on the coast. We´re planning to stay there for three nights too. The place is called the Chill Inn, it´s owned by some Swiss people. It´s $9 per night and only 50 meters from the beach...I´ll keep you all posted and let you know how it compares.