At the top of a lake and later a city

We awoke to another absolutely beautiful morning in Ibarra, with a blue sky and stunning views of the city far below us.

We met for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and loaded the bus, as today was our last day in Ibarra and Otavalo.

Our first stop of the day was at Lake Cuicocha, one of the most beautiful places in all of Ecuador.

Lake Cuicocha

We did a 30-minute hike on the Las Orquídeas trail and ascended a few hundred feet. The views were spectacular.

The hike up
View from a lookout point
Enjoying a hike at the lake
We’re so thankful to have Luis with us on this trip!
Admiring the view!

Video at Lake Cuicocha

After our hike, we took a 30-minute boat ride around Lake Cuicocha, which is 590 feet deep. The lake used to be a volcano crater and there are no fish in the lake. There is a small island in the middle of the lake but it is uninhabited. You can swim in the lake with a permit.

Lake Cuicocha boat ride
Lake Cuicocha boat ride

Lake Cuicocha video

After our boat ride, we had lunch at Peguche Wasi, where our hosts made us a fresh meal of soups, vegetables, potatoes and grilled chicken that some of us thought was the best chicken we’ve had since we arrived.

Enjoying lunch

After lunch, we watched a presentation of how the family makes hand woven artisan products.

Video clip

We did some more shopping before we left, as the family also has a small store with their handmade items for sale.

We departed for Quito next so that we could ride the gondola cable car to the top of Volcán Pichincha. We were planning to do this on Saturday but had to delay it, as it was closed for repairs when we arrived. It was worth the wait as we ascended to 13,451 feet to see Quito below us. Check out these images:

View from the top with the north side of Quito in the background
On their way up!
Panoramic view

Video clip

We stopped for dinner at a mall food court before departing for Baños. We arrived around 11:30 pm and everyone called it a night.

We begin the last part of our trip Tuesday in Baños with a chiva bus ride around the area followed by a trip to the hot springs. ¡Buenas noches!

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