Day 1: Quito -- Ibarra or Otavalo (L, D)
After pickup from your Quito hotel, relax aboard a comfortable coach as you head north along Pan Americana – the Pan-American Highway – stopping in towns along the way.
First, cross the equatorial line at Guachala (used to be the middle of the world monument), before heading to Cayambe, a town situated on the equator at the foot of Cayambe Volcano. Snap some photos while standing astride the line dividing northern and southern hemispheres and taste 'bizcochos.' These buttery biscuits are baked fresh daily in traditional wood ovens. Then, stop in Mira Lago, which offers greats views of Imbabura Volcano and San Pablo Lake, before continuing to Otavalo, two hours north of Quito.
Head to Otavalo’s Indian Market, located on the Plaza de Ponchos and nestled in a valley under Imbabura Volcano. Explore the open-air market, renowned for its typical crafts and textiles, including brightly woven Alpaca scarves and tapestries woven with indigenous designs, as well as embroidered blouses, tagua-nut jewelry and more!
Enjoy lunch (included) in Cotacachi, an indigenous town at the foothills of Cotacachi Volcano and famous for its high-quality leather goods at bargain prices. In the afternoon, browse the shops or market for leather handbags, jackets, boots, belts, wallets and shoes. Then, head to a nearby village for dinner (included), with the evening free at a restored 17th century estate to explore at your leisure. Depending on the day of the tour, you'll stay in either Ibarra or Otavalo.
Day 2: Ibarra or Otavalo -- Quito (B)
After breakfast, visit a workshop for making the musical instruments of the Andes, such as panpipes and flutes created from the canes of aquatic reeds. Watch a demonstration before returning by coach to Quito in the afternoon.