Another filling breakfast at the Sangay, then a quick jaunt a few blocks over to the neo-Gothic Basilica Reina Del Rosario De Agua Santa.
It’s a long name for a famous pilgrimage site for Ecuadorians. Devout Catholics believe the Virgin Mary is responsible for many miracles which have happened here, displayed in art work on the walls of the church.
Mary also allegedly appeared at the base of the 260-foot waterfall called la Cascada de la Virgen. See it and decide for yourself if it’s true.
Grab some snacks and local goods, and we’ll hit the road by late morning for Otavalo. This is the reason I suggested bringing an extra, empty piece of luggage to Ecuador!
On the drive there, like everywhere else on this trip, we’ll take in the majestic Andes Mountains, verdant valleys, and picturesque villages.
Otavalo is the home of the largest open-air market in all of South America. Stock up here on top-quality (and inexpensive) alpaca wool jackets and scarves, jewelry, clothes, blankets, hammocks, Panama Hats and much, much more.
On Friday afternoon, after we check into our hotel (a one-night stay here before heading back to Quito Saturday evening), we’ll visit la Cascada Peguche, the local waterfall surrounded by lush forests and hiking trails.
In town, check out the many cafes, shops, town square, and overall ambiance of this wonderful little place. You’re likely to hear native Andean music wafting through the air and a local band playing on the street.
Oh, and for the entire trip, dress like it’s late May in Wisconsin. Cool at night, warm and sunny during the day, but never above 75º F, except maybe a little warmer in Baños.
You won’t see locals wearing shorts, ever, and most tourists don’t either. Dress to fit in and be comfortable, and bring a spring jacket along.