Morning pick up in Quito for your private transfer to the Hacienda Guachala, Shopping the way to visit the Equator Line, Calderon Town and Pululahua Crater Continue north to our 400-year-old hacienda nestled at the base of Cayambe Volcano. G Adventures discovered this hacienda years ago and it has become a special part of all our trips in the area. If you are feeling energetic, you can rent a 4x4 and travel to the base of the volcanos glaciar and hike back down. Also you can rent horses and head off into the hills and little roads or explore the beautiful propery surrounding. The hacienda including a swimming pool inside of a greenhouse Hacienda Guachalá, the estate where we stay has a long and dynamic history. Originally part of an Inca outpost, the farm became an encomienda given to a conquistador. In 1647, D. Francisco de Villacis bought the sheep farm and constructed a wool factory, exporting his product to Europe. A great grandson of Pope Alejandro VI (one of the Borjas), married Maria de Villacis in 1700, and the farm passed into the hands of the Borja Family until 1832, when it was sold once again. In 1892, the farm was bought by Josefina Bonifaz, who changed the wool factory to a dairy farm. Her son Neptali Bonifaz, who eventually became Ecuador's President, divided the inherited land between his sons. Following land reform laws of the 1960s, part of the land was returned to indigenous families. Today only a small fraction of the original land, including the original house and factory buildings, remains in the hands of the Bonifaz family. Part of the family home was refurbished in the early 1990s and converted into a small hotel, the Hacienda Guachalá, where we enjoy the natural beauty of this highland area surrounded by the hacienda’s colourful history.
Today during the morning you have the option of renting a truck to 4 wheel drive to the Cayambe Volcano Refuge or go to the Cochasaqui ruins before heading to Otavalo through Cayambe Town in the afternoon. The town of Cayambe is famous for its dairy industry and the snow-capped extinct volcano of the same name, that dominates the town. Ecuador's third highest peak at 5790m (18,991 ft), it is the highest point in the world through which the Equator directly passes — at about 4600m (15,088 ft) on the south side
Spend all morning visiting the beautiful area of Otavalo and its world famous handicrafts market, the largest in South America. Villagers from the surrounding countryside come here every week to sell handmade goods as well as livestock, fruits and vegetables. Return to Quito for late afternoon. Otavalo is justly famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today's market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people. There are three main market plazas in town, with the overflow spilling out onto the streets linking them. The Plaza de Ponchos is where you will find most handicraft items. You will find colourful woollen goods such as ponchos, gloves, hats, blankets, scarves and sweaters, as well as fine tapestries and a variety of embroidered blouses and shirts, shawls, string bags and rope sandals. This market gets underway at dawn and continues until early afternoon. Remember, bargaining is expected for every purchase! If you're good you should be able to get at least 20% off the starting price. The food market sells produce and household goods for the locals, and there is an animal market beginning in the predawn hours on the outskirts of town. Although these are not designed for visitors, they are cultural experiences to see and are definitely worth a visit. One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños' cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just put on especially for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life.