Favorite thing: I wasn't aware of Ecuador's rose industry until a lady on one of my flights down mentioned it to me. At that time, I had no idea I would get that chance just two days later. Roses thrive here because of the volcanic soil and mild climate the year round. As you drive from Quito to Otavalo, you see many greenhouses sprouting up along the hillsides. Roses grow in these greenhouses. It is very likely that the roses many Americans and Europeans send at Valentine's Day grow in Ecuador.
Favorite thing: There is even a quarrel between the "gringos" (any white person, not just American or European tourists who insist on having things their way all the time) and Indians on where the equator or middle of the world is. On the way back from Otavalo and other nearby places, we stopped by where the Indians think it is. I would have thought the advent of global positioning system technology would have settled this debate straightaway.
Favorite thing: The village of El Quinche is famous for its big church, as large as the monasteries and cathedrals of colonial Quito. The most important thing for pilgrims is the wooden image of El Virgen del Quinche, carved at the end of the 16th century by artist and architect Diego de Robles. Ever since de Robles was saved from tumbling hundreds of feet into the Río Oyacachi by a thorn snagging on his clothes, the Virgin has been believed responsible for a bunch of other miracles, depicted by paintings inside the church. Pilgrims make their way from far and wide to pay respect to the Virgin, especially during the festival in the third week of November, climaxing on 21 November. Crowds of people receive blessings all year for everything from newborn babies, cars, and pets. Buses to El Quinche leave regularly from downtown Quito, sometimes with people in the doors shouting the destination as the bus cruises down city streets.
Favorite thing: Atuntaquí is a small town on the Pan American Highway. Its claim to fame is textiles made right there, rather like South Boston and other towns this size in southern Virginia and the Carolinas when textile mills were thriving. People from the cities flock to Atuntaquí to take advantage of the cheaper prices at clothing stores near the local mills. In close proximity to the clothing stores (all of which have a waiting room for men who are somehow hoodswankled into taking their wives, girlfriends, or daughters shopping). There is also a nice park and a church nearby.
Favorite thing: Ecuador , Peru, and Bolivia probably have the highest percentage of pre-European natives (Indians) than anywhere else in South America. Sadly, many of the poorest of these countries happen to be Indian. Yet, they are very proud of their heritage and are resentful of what the European colonists did to their ancestors. For some reason, some Indians, particularly the older ones, aren't keen on being photographed. So, be prepared to get an earful if you get caught snapping them anyhow.
Abdon Calderon and Sucre (CORNER), Otavalo, Ecuador
Good for: Couples
Cotacachi Imbabura, Cotacachi, EC
Good for: Business
The Hacienda Cusin is just outside Otavalo, at the foot of the Imbabura Volcano. It was built in...more