Always reserve in advance for the weekend rush, even in budget hotels. The many highly recommended options outside town, often located down rural lanes amid lovely pastoral settings, provide a much different experience and are great places to hole up midweek for quiet and relaxation.

Community Tourism

A new community tourism initiative in neighboring Pijal is opening the Kayambi community to visitors. The Sumac Pacha organization (www.casainteram.org/pijal) can arrange a stay in one of the four rustic cabins overlooking Lago San Pablo and Volcan Imbabura, while getting a taste of a more traditional way of life.