Top things to do

Top Choice Cafe in Mindo

Mishqui Quinde Heladería

Oswaldo has moved from the old van to a more permanent site, but it's still all quinoa, all the time: in burgers ($4 to $5), pudding, homemade sorbet and shakes where you can mix it with other flavors like blackberr…
Top Choice Cemetery in Tulcán

Cementerio de Tulcán

Who would have thought the coolest thing you may see in Ecuador would be a cemetery? A maze of cypress trees – sculpted into bulbous, pre-Columbian totems, mythological figures, animals and geometric shapes – lines …
Top Choice Cafe in Otavalo

Cosecha Coffee Shop

Owned by a young American expat, this contemporary cafe with Santa Fe-like adobe walls and minimalistic design wouldn't look out of place in a cool outer-borough NYC neighborhood (it even serves bagels!). Sandwiches…
Top Choice Cafe in Mindo

Yumbo's Chocolate

Owner Claudio Ponce works with an all-female cooperative of cacao growers near Timbiré, Mujeres Para El Futuro (Women for the Future), bringing the heat from the Pacific Coast straight to your Mindo mug, with the be…
Top Choice International in Otavalo

Cafe Fussion

Chef Javier, who studied the culinary arts in Peru, painted this place in Caribbean pastels, and the same artful imagination goes into his recipes: smoked ribs with ginger, beef a la pimienta cooked in a reduction o…
Top Choice International in Otavalo

Sumac

Ecuadorian chef Jorge David Quilumbaqui, trained in French cuisine in Quito, presents artfully plated meat and fish dishes, as well as delicious desserts, using locally sourced ingredients. He's recently moved from …
Market in Otavalo

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, sweaters, scarves, gloves and hats – as well as embroidered blo…
Market in Otavalo

Market

This is the reason everyone comes to town. For centuries, Otavalo has hosted one of the most important markets in the Andes, a weekly fiesta that celebrates the gods of commerce. Vendors hawk a dizzying array of tra…
Ice Cream in Ibarra

Heladería Rosalía Suárez

In 1897, Rosalía Suárez discovered the best ice-cream had no cream at all. Her shop has been a sensation ever since. Now run by her grandson, it serves helados de paila, sorbets made from pure tropical fruit juices …
National Park in Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas

Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas

This 204,420-hectare reserve is by far the largest protected area of Ecuador’s western Andean habitats. Altitude ranges from about 200m above sea level around San Miguel to 4939m at the summit of Cotacachi. Habitats…