Ecuador 2: Crossing the Equator onwards to Otavalo and Cotacachi

Trying to catch the moment on the GPS when you cross the equator on a busy main road was not easy -fortunately there is a park where the pre-Inca’s already had figured out that this is an important place.

Unsere Route ab Quito ging nach Cayembe, vorher an der Sonnenuhr Quitsato am Äquator vorbei, zur Laguna San Pablo und dann bei Otavalo zum Campingplatz und Herberge La Luna de Mojanda. Die Fahrten zu der Laguna de Moyanda, dem Otavalo Markt und dem Parque Cóndor sind der Mühe wert gewesen.

Proceeding from Quito our route then took us to via Cayembe to Otavalo where we camped at the beautiful hostal and camping of La Luna de Mojanda – complete with a good restaurant run by the owners Kevin and Tamara. The view across to volcano Cotacachi thrilled us every morning.

In Otavalo we visited the fresh produce market enjoying fresh juices as well as the well-known craft market where quality crafted articles are offered. In this area the local women wear embroidered blouses and can also be be seen in town practising this craft.

Otovalo has arty lamp posts and some old buildings and a plaza.

Since the Condor park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, we took a drive up to the Laguna Grande de Moyanda and the smaller Laguna de Chiriacu (Laguna Negra), both cold, but clear waters. At Laguna Grande de Moyanda camping is permitted, the surrounding area beautiful and very tranquil.

On Wednesday we finally visited the Parque Condór bird rehabilititation centre (also Condors can be seen close up) and were not disappointed by the variety of birds of prey and owls to be seen there. Seeing the mighty Condor close up for the first time is quite something – albeit that the beauty of their head is debatable.

The evening rain and mist made us forget that we are close to the equator -a cold night was awaiting us.

From Otavalo we headed via Quiroga to the Laguna Cuicocha close to the volcano Cotacachi(4939m). Despite the overcast weather the craterlake was beautiful with its two islands in the middle. The area is within the large Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas.

Continuing towards Ibarra we stopped in the village of Cotacachi, known for its exquisite leather and fashion goods and we noted the many ceramic murals in town – how does an artist create ceramics in these dimensions and matching the colours perfectly?

Our journey ended at the favorite overlanding camping site Finca Sommerwind in Ibarra where a few days rest would be welcome.

This post covers 28th August to 1st September 2016

Author: Dieter

A passionate traveller and photographer with an urge to share the beauty of our planet.

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