Located just 2 hours from Quito, the perfect base to explore the stunning mountain scenery and nearby Otavalo.
The Northern Sierra
Travel northeast from Quito on the Panamericana and discover lesser-visited Northern Sierra. Staying in the area will allow you more time to visit the famous arts and craft market at Otavalo as well as exploring the stunning countryside, volcanoes and colonial Ibarra. There are several accommodation options, the best being Hacienda Zuleta - one of Ecuador's most authentic haciendas.
Cayambe sits at the foot of Volcan Cayambe, Ecuador's third largest volcano. From here you can explore the Reserva Ecologica Cayambe-Coca, a protected area of over 4000 square kilometres with much birdlife to observe. Nearby is the pre-Inca ruins of Cochasqui and hot springs at Oyacachi an idyllic village nestled in the hills.
The big draw of the region is Otavalo, where the authentic market offering weavings, textiles, jewellery, carvings and other handicrafts is a joy to experience. However, you will need to use all your negotiating skills to the full. The market is open daily, with Wednesdays and Saturdays being the biggest in terms of numbers of vendors and hence choice of items to purchase.
North of Otavalo is the charming colonial city of Ibarra, with elegant, whitewashed buildings, churches, cathedral, several museums and parks. Well worth visiting.