Otavalo | Quito | Latacunga | Quilotoa Loop | Coca | Nuevo Rocafuerte
From the border of Tulcan (3 hours at the Colombian immigration + 1 in Ecuador) everything seemed going as it was meant not to go. It was really difficult to find a taxi at the border, there was a fight between big mamas and bus drivers at the ticket-desk at the terminal and, last but not least, we were 5 hours late and 3 hours far from our Airbnb check-in in Otavalo.
The starting point was not one of the best but from the day after Ecuador was perfect. We spent Christmas time chilling in this small town. Otavalo is known to be the biggest textile, animal and food market of Ecuador. Next to the town, in the region of Imbabura, there were an infinite amount of hiking spots, waterfalls, vulcanos and lakes to discover.
Right after Christmas it was time to move and we decided to spend a very rainy day and night in Quito. The capital is big, with crowded busses and not worthy a visit it’s just a useful place to catch the next bus to jump in a new adventure!
What’s next then? A bus for Latacunga, where we left some not useful stuff for hiking at the Hostal Tiana (ps. The staff there is really nice we don’t agree with the reviews online!). And finally a bus for Segchos where our Quilotoa Loop adventure was ready to start.
The Quilotoa Loop, 50 Km trails and 1000 mt to reach the top, has been one of the best experiences we have done in many years. Hiking 4 days keeps you strong and gives you limits and at the end you can only be proud of yourself.
We started from Segchos a small town where we don’t suggest to stay but only to arrive and start the hike. We have been sleeping the night before the hike in Segchos but we couldn’t find food after 8.30 and we ended up eating a toast that a angry woman didn’t want to prepare for us (watching telenovela).
1st day hike: Segchos – Isinlivi
The hike was hard, we were seriously questioning ourselves how it’s possible for the locals to run down the trails so fast! But we got to Isinlivi pretty early under an amazing heavy rain! We stayed at the LluluLlama one of the best hostel I have seen in my entire life! Great atmosphere, good food, a steam bath and a lama in the garden!
2nd day hike: Insilivi – Chugchilan
It was time to take it slow and we did. It was the most chilled day of hike, when we got to Chugchilan we decided to find a spot where to camp. The fog was rolling down the mountains and it was really surreal around there. The owner of the local Cloud Forest Hostel gave us a place in her field and we had an amazing time under the rain (again).
3rd day hike: Chugchilan – Guayama San Pedro
This was the worst. Really bad trekking paths and a altitude to reach of more than 700 mt. But we made it! And we slept in the most cozy place: Hostal Rosita. A family owned big house in the valley where the food it’s great, the showers are cold but the company of Dory and Ester is a blast! We found ourselves roasting peanuts on the fire in the “cabana” outside and discussing about the traditions of that area for New Year’s Eve.
In Ecuador they traditionally celebrate the “Año Viejo” that is the old year to kick out with bonfires, music, chicha and dancing. In small communities there is a big group of people playing music moving from house to house to wake up the people at around 7 am. Then the day before they have been preparing a goat to cook and the day goes for the preparation of the party. While the day after, the 1st of January is the “Año Nuevo” that kicks in and it’s a great party at midnight!
4th day hike: Quilotoa Lagoon and back to Latacunga
And then this was WOOOOW! We got there early in the morning and it was just a surprise! Hopefully it’s possible to understand from the pictures!
Back to Latacunga we were both really happy and proud of what we have accomplished during the 4 days-hike. And ready to kick the 2017 out!
After Latacunga we decided to dramatically change the landscape outside of our windows and got on a long day-night bus for Coca, the extreme border with the rain forest and the Rio Napo, one of the affluent of the Amazonas.
Coca it’s a terrible city but if you want to navigate to Perù it’s the only way you have to get to Nuevo Rocafuerte where you get to the immigration and get your paperwork done! From Coca to NR we took a great 15 hours speed boat with kids, mamas, guys programming Arduino and so on. It was a pretty funny experience overall!
But for our adventure on the Amazon Basin you should wait until next post!