Located just two and a half hours west of Quito is Mindo, a small village known for its cloud forest that stretches to the slopes of Pichincha. With a ranging altitude between 1400 and 4780m, this beautiful forest is home to over 450 different species of birds, one of the best places in the country to see the golden-headed quetzal.
One or two hours east of mindo is Otavalo, A town famous for its indigenous market held on Saturday, which dates back to pre-Incan times, where bargaining has traditionally been something of an art.
Quito - Mindo - Otavalo - Papallacta
Following pick up from your hotel, we head northwest of Quito through the Andean ranges. We pass the wonderful Mindo valley, engulfed in some of the richest flora and fauna in the world. Weaving through the black and white cinnamon trees your attention is captured by hawks sawing high above the canopy, surrounded by cedars and avocado trees we hear the distinctive chatter of woodpeckers in the distance. Other species of birds dwelling in Mindo include; partridges, american kestrels, hill turkeys, rock roosters, jumping birds and corn bunting any more. As we stop for lunch surrounded by orchids and hill lilies we gaze upon this unique natural forest to find trees such as yellow cinnamon, red myrtles and cepropia plants such as, hill hot peppers, shanshi and nettle. During the afternoon we make our way to Sachatamia, where we spend the night refreshed and revitalized after an evening meal.
During the morning take time to appreciate the facilities on offer at the lodge in preparation for our adventure after lunch. Heading north we visit Cayambe, this is a place that is known for its bizcochos, small shortbread type biscuits served with cheese. The mystical Andean range is simply enchanting, surrounded by carnation and rose plantations. Amidst the astonishing mountains and the peaceful lake lays the old town Otavalo. We enjoy an evening meal and the night in one of the typical haciendas; Las Palmeras de Quisinche or Romeral
Our day begins with a visit to the famous Indigenous market of Otavalo, here you can purchase traditional handcrafts such as ponchos, tapestries and jumpers. Throughout the highlands traditional dress is very common and is unchanged for centuries. Textiles still hold pride of place here and when strolling around the markets surrounded by some indigenous groups (Otavaleños and Zuletas) in traditional dress a truly extraordinary atmosphere is created. Following this our trip continues to Papallacta where we have our evening meal and spend the night in Termas de Papallacta.
Following breakfast you can enjoy the spa, relax at the thermal pools or take a self-guided walk around the Cayambe Coca Reserve with its several footpaths ideal for bird watching. This unique natural experience is often praised by bird watchers due to the abundance of Blue Winged Teal, Andean Duck, Andean Condor, Cinereous Harrier, Variable Hawk, Caracara, Merlin, Aplomado Falcon and Sword-billed Hummingbirds seen here. Following lunch we return to Quito.
The order of the visits may vary - depending on the weather and the day of the week.
Prices 2013 per person:
|1 person||USD1782||single room|
|2 people||USD993||double room|
|3 people||USD736||triple room|
|* 4 people||USD860||double room|
Prices include: Private transportation, English speaking guide, breakfast and dinner (except in Quito), entrances in Mindo.
* Tours for 4 passengers and up will have a private guide and driver due to local tourism regulations
Please ask for single accommodations available.
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