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Cultural Tour of Ecuador’s Northern Highlands: Cotacahi

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US$ 617.38 Price per person from View price guide

Key facts

Where: Quito , Ecuador Duration: 2 Days/1 Night


  • The Northern Highlands is a region of stunning natural beauty
  • Buy colourful ponchos and Indian jewellery from the largest indigenous market in South America


Set out on an excursion to the north of Quito to the province of Imbabura, a magical land of lakes, snow-covered mountains and terraced farmlands.

The colourful and typical Indian market dates back to the pre-Inca times and is known for its textiles woven on back-strap and shuttle looms. It is great for those wishing to collect some true-blue Andean souvenirs, like ponchos, hand made textiles, hats, Indian jewellery, and various handicrafts.

These two days also include several highlights of the area such as the Indian artisans’ centres of San Antonio de Ibarra and Cotacachi, as well as the Indian communities located around the lake San Pablo. There are ample opportunities also to experience the rural life of this area of the country and learn about the industrious ethnic groups of Otavalo.


Day 1: Quito - Imbabura

After your pick-up from either your hotel or the airport in Quito, you will be driven north in an air-conditioned private vehicle to the Imbabura province. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on your tour. Head for Otavalo, located approximately 95 kilometres north of Quito. Located at 2530 meter above sea level we find the everlasting fertile, Province of Imbabura, these magical lands surrounded by lakes are cradle of artists, histories and living pre-Inca cultures.

We will visit Peguche, a picturesque and messy little town whose habitants are famous for their weaving abilities on hand made looms in vivid colours representing figures of the Andean Region.

At Peguche, the art of colouring wools have became a recreational game where traditions, norms and rules end up in an incredible blend of hammocks, textiles, sweaters, etc, that the community exhibits with proud and colour.

Together with the weaving industry, the community of Peguche, following with their ancestral traditions, is well known for the manufacture of wind instruments like the Sikus, Kenas and charangos, here we found the House of the Instruments whose walls bring us memories of the Andean music representing the song of nature, water and air. In the area, we also find the strong and artistic hands of the people of San Antonio. Art studios with wood, stone and ceramic sculptures that represents the Quito school of art that transmit us the spirit of the indigenous villages whom had kept this Spanish cultural manifestation within a lot of generations.

All this artistic towns, commercialize their art in the market, beyond a shopping tour this tour teach us the work, traditions and customs of our indigenous communities.

Overnight at one of country inns of the area.

Day 2: Imbabura - Quito

Visit the artisans centres of Cotacachi, a town mainly dedicated to manufacture of fine leather goods. In the afternoon we will visit a flower plantation.

On our way back to Quito, we will stop at Calderon, a small town famous for its bread dough figures which are exported to Europe.

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Activity Schedule

When does it run?



2 Days/1 Night

Start time

Start time: As per your convenience
Duration: 2 Days/1 Nights

Meeting point

Your hotel/ airport in Quito.
Hotel: (Please advise your hotel at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)
Airport: (Please advise your flight timings at the time of booking. If you do not have this information now, please contact the local activity operator 24 hours prior to the start of the tour with these details.)

Ending point

Your hotel/ airport in Quito.

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  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • English-speaking guide
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned private vehicle
  • 1 night’s double room accommodation
  • Breakfast on Day 2
  • Lunch on Days 1, 2


  • Dinner
  • Soft and/or alcoholic drinks
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses


Wear comfortable walking shoes/tennis shoes, warm clothing, windcheater, rain ponchos in winter months, hat or cap, plastic water bottle, sun-block, sunglasses, waterproof small backpack and camera. You are expected to bargain when you shop, and the Otavalo Market is a popular tourist site, so make sure to watch your belongings!

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Please note

Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming the departure details.

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Additional info

  • The confirmation voucher includes the local activity operator’s contact details and local telephone numbers at the destination. They will happily answer any logistical questions you may have.
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Cancellation policy

See the Cancellation policy for this product

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