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Remote villages and colourful Indigenous markets rest among blue lakes and the soaring cones of snow-capped volcanoes, such as the famous town of Otavalo, to the north of Quito. For centuries, regional markets have played an important role in Indian life, providing regular gathering places for trade and socializing and the Otavalo Market is one of the largest and most typical in Ecuador. Visitors can observe the hustle and bustle of the town as farmers and country workers flock in to sell vegetables, meat, livestock or beautifully woven or wood-carved handicrafts.

The towns and people retain a distinctive identity with fascinating blends of Inca and colonial influences, and many can be visited alongside the market on this day-trip from Quito. These include Calderon, a town where the famous "masapan" dolls are made and Guayllabamba, with its typical fruit 'chirimoyas'. There will also be the chance to stop in the highway to Cayambe to admire and take pictures of the beautiful landscape crossing the equatorial line. After the market we will come to the town of Peguche and visit a typical house. Finally, a visit to the leather area of Cotacachi is planned before returning to Quito.

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