Welcome to Cotacachi

Representing its affection for its arts and people, statues of Cotacachenean musician Enrique Montenegro, English actor Charlie Chaplin, and Ecuadorian indigenous-rights pioneer Dolores Cacuango can be found around town.

Top experiences in Cotacachi

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Travel guides

Starting at $32.49

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Cotacachi activities

$45 Shopping & Fashion

Otavalo Marketplace with Optional Lunch

Departure from our designated hotels in Quito through the Pan-American North Highway until arriving to Cayambe, where the passengers will have the opportunity to taste the delicious “Bizcochos de Cayambe”, a type of cracker or bread baked in a clay oven (greatly paired with local cheese or caramel sauce).  After admiring Lake San Pablo, we will arrive at the Otavalo Market, the largest in America, where the indigenous people of the area, known as "Otavalos", one of Ecuador's most recognized ethnic groups, make and sell their textiles and handicrafts.Passengers may choose between to stay in this area and enjoy more time from the market and our bus will pick them up at the end of the tour (they will not have the visit to Cotacachi and Cuicocha), or continue with the journey to the town of Cotacachi, recognized for leather clothing and crafts. On the way to Cotacachi, we will visit an andean instrument workshop "Ñanda Mañachi" located in the area of Peguche, to spend some special moments with the local people and understand the Andean culture.In Cotacachi you have enough time to visit the village, the shops of leather goods and free time for lunch, (not included).Later we will visit the Ecological Reserve where the Cuicocha lagoon is located, inside the crater of the Cotacachi Volcano, which originated after a volcanic explosion thousands of years ago. And if the weather permits it will be possible to make a walk by the lagoon, that is to say sailing in the crater of the volcano in small boats (with additional cost).** Bus will wait for 10 minutes in Otavalo to pick up passangers that stayed there, and after that will return to Quito and their respective hotels or starting point.

$60 Day Trips & Excursions

Otavalo Market, Cuicocha Lagoon, Peguche Waterfall from Quito

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Otavalo Market, Otavalo, Imbabura ProvinceVisit the main attractions of the province of Imbabura within approximately 10 hours. Crossing the Valley of Guayllabamba, we will arrive at the Quitsato Solar Clock, site thru which the Equatorial Line passes. Then, we will make a stop at the lookout of Lake San Pablo, and continue the journey to Otavalo where we will visit the largest indigenous market in South America, an ideal place for shopping. Afterwards, we will head up to Peguche Waterfall, a beautiful ritual and spiritual site where the inhabitants, on the eve of Inti Raymi take a sacred bath under the waterfall. The adventure continues towards the Cuicocha Lagoon in the Cotacachi – Cayapas Reserve (Unavailable on holidays). Return to Quito.Duration: 6 hours

$62.50 Cultural & Theme Tours

Otavalo Cayambe Equator Cuicocha Full-Day Cultural Trip

Leave from central meeting point in La Mariscal, Quito, at 6:50am. Drive to Otavalo on this small-group tour with an English-speaking guide. Reach Quitsato Mitad del Mundo Monument (own expense), the middle of the world at the equator line. Visit a bizcohos factory (own expense) in Cayambe. Take in stunning views of Cayambe, Guayllabamba, Quito, Cotopaxi and Tabacundo at an observation point. Explore the Otavalo market. Go to Cuicocha, a wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano. Enjoy a delicious lunch at 3:30pm. Head to Cotacachi, the leather capital of Ecuador following lunch.Return to Quito by 7:00pm

$108 Cultural & Theme Tours

Otavalo Indigenous Market Private Day Trip from Quito

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Otavalo Market, Otavalo, Imbabura ProvinceThe Otavalo Market, which makes this market town famous, is undoubtedly one of the most important and spectacular markets in all of Latin America. The Otavalo market is attractive to visitors for both its outstanding shopping and its cultural significance. Local people use market day much the way their ancestors did during Ecuador’s pre-Colombian history. The Otavalo market is a fascinating way to experience traditional Ecuadorian culture and the traditions of the Andes.Duration: 2 hoursStop At: Cuicocha Lake, Laguna Cuicocha, Imbabura ProvinceIt is a 3 km (2 mi) wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes. Its name comes from the Kichwa indigenous language and means "Lago del Cuy" or Guinea Pig Laguna in English. It was given this name due to the guinea pig shape of the largest Island in the middle of the laguna. These animals play a significant part in the everyday life of EcuadoriansDuration: 2 hours

$44.22 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Otavalo and Cotacachi Day Trip from Quito

You will be picked up from your Quito hotel at 8am and depart for Otavalo by way of the Pan-Americana Highway. There will be a brief stop in Guayllabamba where you can taste the chirimoya (custard apple) fruit that is typical of the area. You will also visit the viewpoint of the road to Cayambe to admire and photograph the beautiful mountains and valleys of the area. You will pass Guachalá, the oldest estate in Ecuador before stopping at Mira Lago, a San Pablo viewpoint. After photographing the beautiful San Pablo Lake, you will continue to Otavalo where the indigenous Otavalo people develop their textiles .Visit the Otavalo market, known for its bustling Saturday market and offerings of various wares. While Saturday is the most famous market, there is plenty else available throughout the week in the plaza as well as the local shops. There will be a stop for lunch before continuing to Cotacachi, an artisan city renown for its leather shops. After you have experienced the diverse textiles and leather products of the region, it will be time to return to Quito where you will be dropped off at your hotel.

$1513 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Ecuador Highlights in 10 Day

ItineraryDay 1: Arrive in QuitoStop At: Adventure Journeys, Quito, Pichincha ProvinceMeet your AJ trip leader and group at 6:00pm, at the hotel lobby. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day. We have no scheduled activities. One of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and to answer any questions you may have regarding the adventure. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day relaxing or exploring Quito and the surrounding area.About Quito: Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ecuadors capital. The city is considered The Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Due to its strategic location cradled in the middle of the Andes, fantastic day trip can be organized such as: Quito City tour, including a trip to the equator line, Mindo Cloud forest, Cotopaxi national park, Quilotoa crater lake, Otavalo indian market, Papallacta hot springs, Pululahua inhabitant crater and many more. Adventure Journeys offers many options for all types of travelers while in Quito and has incorporated outdoor activities into each experience. A sampling of our experiences for the adventurous traveler include: Cotopaxi biking, Pululahua crater horseback riding, Mindo canopy zip lines and tubing, Papallacta trekking and Jatunyacu river rafting.Please see the menu of adventures we have to offer and contact us if you are interested in further exploration in and around Quito. Duration: 1 hourNo meals included on this day.Accommodation included: Dann Carlton Hotel or Similar Day 2: Otavalo Indigenous MarketStop At: Otavalo Market, Otavalo, Imbabura ProvinceWe take an early departure from Quito and drive north through the majestic Andes. On our way we will stop at a viewpoint to admire Imbabura Volcano and Lake San Pablo. Once in Otavalo, you will have plenty of time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, filled with the Otavalo Indigenous people wearing the traditional blue ponchos, white trousers and long braided hair. Learn all about their daily activities, typical food and native language. Explore their famous handicraft market, with its wonderful textiles, alpaca throws and rugs, knitted clothing native paintings, ceramics, jewelry, tapestries and more at bargain prices. In the afternoon, we will drive to Cotacachi to have lunch and witness the impressive leather goods of the town and enjoy the beauty of this small village. There will be some free time for you to explore the shops or simply relax while sipping on one of the best coffees in Ecuador in the main plaza. Finally we will go to Peguche, a small village known for its waterfalls and wind instruments productionDuration: 8 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • DinnerAccommodation included: Hacienda Pinsaqui or Similar Day 3: Papallacta Hot Springs Stop At: Termas de Papallacta, Papallacta, Napo Provinceof the Andes. This road is situated between two national reserves, Antisana and Cayambe Coca, both located in the high mountain Paramo ecosystem, known for its short vegetation and for being home to some incredible animals such as the spectacled bear, deer, puma, Andean condor, cara-cara and more. After our 2 hour drive through the beautiful landscape, we will arrive at Papallacta Hot Springs Resort, where you can soak in the volcanic water pools surrounded by mountains and colorful flowers and birds. Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Papallacta Hot Springs HotelDay 4: Hummingbirds in the Cloud ForestStop At: Termas de Papallacta, Papallacta, Napo ProvinceEarly in the morning, we will drive down along a curvy panoramic road towards the Amazon Rain forest; as we descend from an altitude of 3000 meters to 500 meters, you will observe how the landscape and vegetation change drastically between climates. Our first stop will be the Guango reserve, where we will have the unique opportunity to see many different species of hummingbirds in the wild. These small creatures are famous for their incredible ability to flap their wings rapidly, as well as for their bright colors. Later, we also stop at the "Guacamayos-Macaw Lookout," located between Antisana and Sumaco National Reserves (low elevation cloud forest), to observe the magic blanket of clouds that covers the Amazon rain forest, until we finally arrive at the Arajuno River, where a motor canoe will take us 20 minutes up the river to the Itamandi Eco-Lodge. Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Itamandi Lodge or Similar Day 5: Amazon Hike and Kichwa CommunityStop At: Napo River, Cotopaxi ProvinceIn the morning, we will hike to explore the Tropical Rain Forest and have an interpretation from our guide and learn about medicinal plants and we will search for wildlife. Later, we will enjoy a cultural activity where an Amazonian Kichwa community will receive us and we learn about their way of life and the interaction they have with the forest. Appreciate the skills of the indigenous women manufacturing handmade pottery (ceramics). This little business helps to support the indigenous people in their daily life. Today we will also have the chance to learn how to make our own chocolate from the raw fruit. Accommodation:Itamandi Amazon Eco-Lodge Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • Lunch • DinnerAccommodation included: Itamandi Lodge or Similar Day 6: Road of the Waterfalls and BañosStop At: Tungurahua, Banos, Tungurahua ProvinceThis morning explore the “Saladero” parrots clay lick. Come back for breakfast and continue our journey driving farther south to Puyo, where we will have a quick look at the balsa carving shop. From here continue onto Rio Verde, located in the UNESCO World Heritage site, Sangay National Park. Here, we will hike down to the second highest waterfall in Ecuador, the Pailon Del Diablo, where pounding water cascades on the rocks and mesmerizes you as you watch from a suspension bridge. You may also take an optional hike behind the falls. After another quick drive, we will arrive at another incredible waterfall called El Manto de la Novia, where we will ride in a cable car traversing the canyon of the Pastaza River. In the late afternoon we will arrive to Baños, located right on the foothills of the Tungurahua volcano, which has been active since 1999. It has some eruptions every few months which delights visitors with lava and steam displays that can be viewed from a number of safe view points in the region. Here in Baños you can also visit a spa or another place to enjoy the hot springs of the area.Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: La Casa de Luis or Similar Day 7: Highest Volcano in Ecuador and VicuñasStop At: Mount Chimborazo, Chimborazo ProvinceEarly in the morning, we will drive through valleys and farming villages to reach the Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador with an elevation of 6310 meters above sea level; whose summit is also the furthest point from the center of the earth on the entire planet. On a clear day, the majestic peak of Chimborazo dominates the view for many kilometers. There will be a short hike for 0.9 km (0.57 mi) to reach the elevation of 5000 meters where the glacier begins. On the hike, we will spot a few of the animals that inhabit this volcanic wonderland such as the Andean condor, cara-cara, hummingbirds, and the timid vicuñas. Once extinct in Ecuador, they have been reintroduced and are now protected; this beautiful animal is related to the alpacas and llamas. Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • Breakfast • LunchAccommodation included: Hacienda La Andaluza or SimilarDay 8: Devil's Nose Train and Inca RuinsStop At: Estacion Ferrocarril, Alausi, Chimborazo ProvinceAfter an early breakfast, we will take a scenic drive to the small town of Alausí. Here, we will board the train to the Devil’s Nose, where the tracks wind through the countryside in a zigzag formation, creating a travel experience like no other. After the train ride, we will continue our visit towards Ingapirca, the most impressive Inca ruins of Ecuador. We will spend the afternoon learning about this archaeological site, notable for its unique fusion of Inca and native Cañari architecture, as well as for its religious meaning. Later, we will head up to Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colonial architecture.Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Hotel Carvallo or SimilarDay 9: UNESCO City CuencaStop At: Old Cathedral of Cuenca, Cuenca, Azuay ProvinceStarting in the morning enjoy a fantastic city tour, visiting the most important buildings and notable places in Cuenca, such as Calderon Square, the New Cathedral, El Barranco and El Turi lookout point. In the afternoon visit a famous Panama hat factory where we will understand the whole process of making this traditional Ecuadorian hat. In the early evening we will take a short 45 minute domestic flight back to Quito, where we will have our farewell dinner. Duration: 8 hoursMeals included: • BreakfastAccommodation included: Dann Carlton Hotel or SimilarDay 10: End of services Pass By: Quito Old Town, Quito, Pichincha ProvinceInternational departures, end of services. Take with you memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"! Meals included: • BreakfastNo accommodation included on this day.