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Culture, Music & Crafts

See our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and all our Ecuador Cultural Immersion tours

Culture, Music & Crafts

Duration: 4 Days / 3 nights

Program overview

The Northern Highlands are home to important indigenous groups like the Otavalos, known worldwide by its tapestries, textiles production and embroidery. Learn also about the cultural richness of the Afro Ecuadorian community.

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Culture, Music & Crafts: Tour Highlights

  • Visit a local Rose farm to receive an introduction to the floral industry.
  • Visit the thousand years old Otavalo market. Learn ancient techniques for textiles elaboration.
  • Meet an indigenous family, learn about the traditions of the Otavalo culture, enjoy their Andean music.
  • Train ride through Andean Valleys, aboard a locomotive.
  • Meet the Afroecuadorian community, enjoy their music and dance.

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Itinerary – Day by Day

Day 1: Otavalo: Culture, traditions and artisan background

Depart from Quito early in the morning to the province of Imbabura; also known as the Lakes province due to its numerous aquatic formations. Your first stop will be at a private Hacienda dating back from republican times, to enjoy a country style breakfast with pastries, bizcochos (traditional biscuits) and local cheese. Visit a local Rose’s farm to receive an introduction to the floral industry, one of the major economic activities in Ecuador. Ecuador possesses more than 300 varieties of roses and are known worldwide by its beauty and finest quality. Continue to the Otavalo craft market where locals show their products and crafts to sell. The Otavalos are a merchant indigenous community by tradition, and are known worldwide for their wonderful work on textiles and tapestries. Visit the artisan town of Peguche to learn about the elaboration process of textiles using ancient techniques, continue to a music store to learn about Andean Music. Enjoy lunch in the area and continue to a Hacienda style hotel for dinner and overnight. (Meals: L, D)

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Day 2: Introduction to the Indigenous community life.

Today, visit the Indigenous community of San Clemente for an introduction to the Indigenous community life. Spend the day learning about their ancient customs and traditions. Visit the community medicinal gardens and work with them at the organic orchards. Learn about the importance of cuy (guinea pig) for the indigenous philosophy as a provider of strength, good vibes, and also in diagnosing illnesses. Enjoy a delicious, fresh and healthy lunch based on typical ingredients; and learn how to cook some of the most popular dishes. In the afternoon, return to your Hacienda Hotel. The rest of the evening is free to enjoy the hotel facilities. (Meals: B,L,D)

Day 3: Train ride through Andean landscapes and sugar cane plantations – Afro Ecuadorian Community.

This morning enjoy a beautiful ride on board a locomotive that will take you through natural landscapes formed by mountains and sugar cane plantations. Arrive in Salinas town to visit the Afro Ecuadorian community and learn about their history and traditions. Upon arrival, the local community will welcome you with a typical dance and its traditional music “La Bomba”, you are also invited to join them in their dance and follow the rhythm. Enjoy lunch at the community restaurant to support their sustainable tourism initiatives. In the afternoon, return to your hotel. Rest of the afternoon at leisure (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 4: Cuicocha Lake and Cotacachi town – Return to Quito.

Hotel check out and transfer to the Cotacachi-Cayapas reserve. Visit Cuicocha Lake; formed in a crater after thousands of years of intense volcanic activity of the extinct Cuicocha volcano. The Cotacachi-Cayapas Reserve has an extension that goes from the western Andean cordillera to the Pacific coast. Enjoy a short hike in the area to admire the beauty of this natural environment and then continue to the town of Cotacachi, famous for producing high-quality handmade leather goods that include wallets, purses and jackets. Cotacachi is also a multicultural city embracing local indigenous, mestizos and retirees from all over the world seeking for a peaceful setting. Enjoy lunch in the area, in the afternoon return to Quito. ( Meals: B, L )

Operational details

  • Program starts and ends in Quito.
  • Otavalo Craft Market opens every day, main market day (including animal market) is on Saturday
  • Train to El Chota operates from Wednesday to Sunday
  • The order of activities on the itinerary might be subject to change due to train operating days

The program includes

Private transportation, expert local guide, accommodation & meals according to itinerary detail, visits and entrance fee to mentioned places. Train ticket Ibarra-Salinas. Welcome kit, snacks and water provision along the trip.

The program does not included

International airfare, personal expenses, insurance and gratuities.

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.

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