The town of Otavalo has a world famous artisan market. We hired a minbus to drive us north from Quito to visit the market and some surrounding attractions. The market is completely full of people trying to sell handmade goods at low prices. And, of course, to get the real price you have to bargain with each shop owner. We let Laura do most of the bargaining, as she could get things for about half of what us gringos could.
The crew in front of the colors of Otavalo.
After the market, we went to eat lunch at a beautiful resort/spa outside the town of Cotacatchi. The place was completely decadent (although the meal probably cost one sixth of what it would cost in America). the town of Cotacatchi is famous for its quality (and cheap) leatherwork. I got a nice leather belt for the tidy sum of $8.
The had peacocks roaming around in the yard outside.
And a beautiful lawn that we took a little rest on.
From Cotacatchi, we headed up into the mountains to Lake Cuicocha, a beatiful lake that fills the caldera of a dormant volcano.
The lake was absolutely gorgeous. We took a little boat tour around the islands in the middle.
No fish live in the lake because it is overly rich in minerals and, as you can see here, volcanic gases still bubble up from below.