Must see attractions in Northern Highlands

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    Crafts Market

    Plaza de Ponchos, the nucleus of the crafts market, is filled every day with vendors selling woolen goods, such as rugs, tapestries, blankets, ponchos,…

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    Parque Cóndor

    Get an up-close view of Andean condors, as well as eagles, owls, falcons and hawks, at this Dutch-owned foundation, which rehabilitates these and other…

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    Reserva Ecológica El Ángel

    The 16,000-hectare Reserva Ecológica El Ángel includes frailejones, rare, otherworldly plants with fuzzy leaves and thick trunks. From El Ángel, take the…

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    Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca

    At 4031 sq km, Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca spreads across four provinces, including the Oriente, and includes alpine tundra and rainforest. Volcán…

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    Tahuantinsuyo Weaving Workshop

    Jose Rafael Maldonado, Miguel Andrango's son-in-law, now runs the day-to-day operations of this internationally famous weaving family business, in its…

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    Tarabita

    This unique, small motor-powered (2002 Nissan!) cable car takes you soaring across a lush river basin over thick cloud forest to the Bosque Protector…

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    El Lechero

    While this tree outside Otavalo is famous for its magical healing powers, it's much more reliable as a great picnic spot, romantic or otherwise, and for…

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    Cascadas de Peguche

    Most visitors head out this way to see the Cascadas de Peguche, a series of falls sacred to locals – visitors are still welcome, however, during Inti…

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    Cementerio

    Each Monday and Thursday morning, groups of Otavaleños summit the Calle de las Almas (Street of Souls) to this hillside cemetery, sharing meals, songs,…

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    Mariposario de Mindo

    Mindo's best butterfly garden is like walking through a paint factory with the fans set to slow – a stunning kaleidoscope. Visit in the warmest part of…

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    Cascada Nambillo

    Popular with local families on weekends, this series of cascades is the easiest to access in the area. However, it still entails either a trip on the…

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    Daily Market

    Next to the Animal Market, this large, covered complex just west of the Panamericana houses the vendors who previously plied their trade in a messy…

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    Parque La Merced

    Also known as Peñaherrera, the city’s main plaza was built at the beginning of the 19th century. The main feature of the Iglesia de la Merced is a gold…

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    Quitsato

    Here's a landmark that claims to be one of a kind – a massive 52m-diameter sundial set exactly on the equator. Surrounded by an impressive stone mosaic…

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    Parque Pedro Moncayo

    This gorgeous palm-filled plaza is dominated by the baroque-influenced cathedral. The altars are covered in gold leaf, and Troya’s paintings of the 12…

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    Galería Luís Potosí

    San Antonio, a small village near the larger city of Ibarra, specializes in woodcarvings. The most renowned gallery here is Galería Luís Potosí. Potosí…

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    Cascada de Taxopamba

    Just past Casa Mojanda on the road up to Lagunas de Mojanda is the well-signposted trailhead for Cascada de Taxopamba. It's about a half-hour walk to…

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    El Museo Fábrica Textil Imbabura

    Four creatively designed galleries explain every aspect of the history of textile production in the highlands. Located off the Panmericana, just before…

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    Obelisk

    A 30m-high white obelisk honors Miguel de Ibarra's founding of the city in 1606.