We awoke to another beautiful day this morning but instead of seeing buildings and hearing traffic, we saw green mountains all around us and the city of Ibarra far below us.
Breakfast wasn’t until 8 a.m., which made everyone happy since we could sleep in a little later than the past few days.
We departed the hotel at 8:45 a.m. and made our first stop of the day at the Rosalia Suarez Heladería, one of the most famous places in Ecuador to enjoy homemade ice cream. The ice cream shop has been open since 1896 and the family-run business has never used a machine to make the ice cream. We met the daughter-in-law of Rosalia Suarez, who started the business more than 100 years ago when she was just 16 years old. Sra. Suarez, the daughter-in-law of Rosalia, gave us a short presentation about her family, who still runs all aspects of the ice cream shop like they have since 1896. Before Rosalia Sanchez passed away she asked that her family continue the tradition of making the ice cream hand made.
Next, we made a quick stop at San Antonio de Ibarra, a small market that specializes in handicrafts made out of wood. We shopped for about 20 minutes before departing for the big market in Otavalo.
We broke into our small groups and shopped for almost three hours. The kids did a wonderful job interacting with the local venders as we walked around the market, stopping at a myriad of stands to shop. More than once the friendly venders complimented the kids on their Spanish as they bargained for the best prices. Oftentimes the vender would start at $20 and the students would offer $14. After a few minutes they met in the middle at $16. It was fun to watch them use their Spanish all morning at the market as they bought clothes, jewelry, paintings, scarfs and much more. We were very proud of them! Here are some pictures and videos from our time at the market.
We had lunch at a restaurant near the market and then returned to the bus to drive to the Peguche Waterfall in Otavalo. The waterfall is 66 feet tall and 20 feet wide with an average temperature of 54 degrees. The falls are on steep slopes surrounded by shrubby vegetation. We hiked back to the falls to see them up close, getting a little wet from the off spray.
Our next stop was to see an Andean music presentation at a family’s home. They demonstrated how to make a small Andean flute and then played a song for us.
Our final stop of the night was in the small town of Cotacachi. We were going to visit here Monday but decided to go today so we could save some time tomorrow for the cable car trip up Volcán Pichincha. Several of us needed to stop at the ATM for the first time after our busy day of shopping. Cotocachi is famous for its leather and we spent about 30 minutes visiting some of the stores before having dinner at El Leñador.
Toward the end of dinner, the waiter arrived with a surprise we had ordered … guinea pig. In Ecuador guinea pig is a delicacy, so we ordered one for the kids to sample. Most tried it … they thought it was OK.
We returned to the hotel around 9:45 to pack before calling it a night after a busy day of shopping and sightseeing. What was the best part of the day? Click below to see what Kylynn and Chloe think.
Tomorrow we’ll do a short hike and take a boat road at Lake Cuicocha before having a farm-to-table type meal at a family’s home. Afterward we’ll stop in Quito for the cable car ride before heading to Baños.