Ecuador – Los Andes

The volcanos in the distance from Quito beckoned us and we definitely were not disappointed.

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From Quito we crossed the Andes to the North into the Imbabura province with incredible views of Imbabura volcano, San Pablo glacial lake & Cotacochi volcano. These mountains just towered all around us.
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We were surprised to learn that this area produces a lot of roses and flowers for export and you’d see the growing sheds and road side stalls selling flowers everywhere.

 

 

 

The scenery just made us want to get some exercise, so we walked to the Peguche waterfall. Nothing to strenuous but nice to get some fresh air. We were surprised to see lots of Eucalyptus trees in Ecuador imported in from Australia.
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The town of Peguche is small with mainly indigenous people dressed in traditional clothing going about there everyday lives. Interestingly both the men & women have long hair here. The men and women seem to share the agricultural duties here.

they are small people and carry everything on their backs.

they are small people and carry everything on their backs.

the women here tend to the animals and the fields

we saw many cows being led around the towns in Ecuador

selling their bean produce

selling their bean produce on the side of the road

This town actually makes all the textile weaving that is found in many markets and stores around Ecuador. The women prepare the wool and the men actually do the weaving.
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While in Peguche we saw the Tren de Los Andes or the old steam train that takes tourists through the Andes. An expensive way to get around apparently. Here’s a video clip of the train going by but I’m not sure if its going to work. Our guide was so excited.

p1110735It was then into the Otavalo markets to see the local markets selling weavings & FRESH produce, both very colorful. Would have loved to get some fresh produce here.
p1110741p1110743p1110748We made our way through some valleys directly East of Quito to Pampallacta, also known as the gateway to the Amazon. The drive was impressive as we climbed up to 4000m where it was very rocky with coarse vegetation and down to the town.
p1110755The natural public hot springs of which there are many pools beaconed us. So nice and relaxing.

Our room had a nice pool outside with no one around, perfect!

Our room had a nice pool outside with no one around, perfect!

We made a trip into Cotopaxi National Park South of Quito. The landscape was so dry and flat with wild llamas about.
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Walked 4km around Laguna Limpiopungo with Ruminahui volcano in background

Walked 4km around Laguna Limpiopungo with Ruminahui volcano in background

Cotopaxi Volcano in the background, an active volcano

Cotopaxi Volcano in the background, an active volcano

Our guide took us to some amazing haciendas built in the 1600’s around the Andes to see the grounds, all of which were really impressive.

Hacienda San Augustin so different to the homes in the area

Hacienda San Augustin so different to the homes in the area

Interesting art work in the El Monasterio wing at Hacienda Cusin

Interesting art work in the El Monasterio wing at Hacienda Cusin

We ended up staying at a working farm, Hacienda La Alegria to experience their daily works. Maurico was awesome taking us for a 5 hour horse ride into the hills with some nice scenery.
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The farm has Alpacas and Llamas, dairy cattle and lots of horses. The farm dogs were very proud when they decided to round up the Alpacas and llamas for us on their own accord. The llamas were not so happy being disturbed.
p1110801Excellent time in the Andes. Heading to Peru.