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Exploring Ecuador’s Northern Highlands: El Angel Ecological Reserve and Otavalo

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Duration: 3 Days/ 2 Nights
Price per person
from $1081.44
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  • Buy some exquisite hand-crafted souvenirs at South America′s largest indigenous market
  • See the famous giant daisies in the El Angel Ecological Reserve

Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, but at the same time it offers a great biological diversity and multicultural and exotic people.

High above the town of the same name is Ecuador’s premier ‘páramo’ (moorland) reserve. Created in 1992, the El Angel reserve is spread across some of the most pristine high-altitude country in Ecuador. Throughout the reserve’s 15,700 hectares you’ll see the spiky heads of the ‘frailejón’ (giant daisies) plant for which El Angel is famous. Locals use it for various curative purposes, including relief of rheumatism. Filled with the solitude of ‘polylepis’ forests (‘paper’ trees), the El Angel Ecological Reserve breathes an air sense of serenity and peace.

Otavalo is an Indian town located in a beautiful mountain region, north of Quito on the Pan-American Highway. The Indians of this region are famous for the weaving of textiles, which has a history of 4000 years. It boasts of South America’s largest indigenous market, where you can buy some of the most exquisite handcrafted artefacts. The town is surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks and lakes.


Day 1: Depart Quito - El Angel Ecological Reserve

You will be picked up from either your hotel or the Quito airport and taken in a private air-conditioned vehicle to the El Angel Ecological Reserve , about 170 kilometres north of Quito. An English-speaking guide will accompany you on this tour. This drive will take around 4 hours.

On way to the indigenous market town of Otavalo, you'll visit the Cochasqui Indian Ruins, a major pre-Inkan ceremonial site or truncated adobe pyramids. Next, we will stop at the town of Cotacachi, famous for its leather clothes. Where you will have plenty of opportunity to shop. We'll also visit the crater lake of Cuicocha, which sits at the base of Cotacachi volcano, and San Antonio de Ibarra, a town that is noted for its wood carvings, before arriving at our hotel in Otavalo.

Upon arrival, check into one of the tourist lodges in El Angel.

Overnight at your tourist lodge.

Day 2: El Angel Ecological Reserve

After breakfast at the lodge, the day begins with an early morning car ride on a paved road to El Angel Ecological Reserve, situated at an altitude from 3400m to 4768m. The reserve is home to an incredible diversity of fauna and special "Páramo" flora, such as the spectacular fields of "Frailejones" which resemble a botanical army. This is the most extensive southernmost stand of 'frailejón plants (Espeletia hartwegiana), which can also be found in Colombia and Venezuela.

The drive takes you through mountains and valleys ornate with typical Andean Villages. On way you'll also pass the Voladero Lake, where we'll stop and have a delicious box lunch.

Overnight at Hotel.

Day 3: El Angel Ecological Reserve - Otavalo - Quito

The next day of our tour begins with an early morning visit to the animal market. After breakfast, we will take you to Otavalo's main market. This is considered one of the biggest and most colourful Indian markets in South America.

After lunch you will be able to visit the beautiful Mojanda Lakes before we begin our return journey to Quito, heading firstly to Cayambe to try the famous 'Cayambe biscuits', before we arrive in Quito in the late afternoon.

Arrive in Quito where your tour ends with a drop-off either at your city hotel or at the Quito airport.

Please note
Please call the activity operator at least 24 hours prior to start of the tour for reconfirming the departure details.
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • English-speaking guide
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned private vehicle
  • 2 night’s double room accommodation
  • Breakfast on Day 2, 3
  • Lunch on Day 2
  • El Angel Ecological Reserve Tax – USD10.00 per/person (subject to change without previous notice)
  • Dinner
  • Soft and/or alcoholic drinks
What happens after I book?
  • A booking voucher will be sent to you by email
  • Print all pages of the voucher
  • Present the voucher at the tour start point or attraction entrance
Activity schedule
When does it run?
Monday & Thursday
3 Days/ 2 Nights
Start time
As per your convenience
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.
Sale price
Check Availability
Additional information
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.
Dos & Don'ts
Warm clothing is needed. Do wear a hat or a cap. Carry sunblock (SPF 40). Wear good walking shoes. Bring along your camera (wide angle lens), binoculars and sunglasses.

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No cancellation fees

On most bookings

We will never charge you any administrative fees for cancellations. For most tours and activities, there is no penalty for bookings cancelled a week in advance.

See the cancellation policy for this product