Chaski Route –– Mindo Cloud Forest –– Middle of the World Complex
Day 1: Quito –– Otavalo–– Peguche –– Cuicocha –– Karanki Magdalena Community
Departing from Quito to the north, we will ride across the colorful valleys of Guayllabamba and Cayambe. A ride through the breathtaking Andean setting offers great photo opportunities and after two hours of traveling through the riveting countryside, we will arrive at the province of Imbabura.
Walk through the famed craft market of Otavalo (2.550msnm), which is the most famous and picturesque in South America. For visitors, the market offers the possibility of approaching Ecuadorians at a more intimate level as you negotiate prices of a variety of woven goods, bags, hats, flutes or simply appreciate the skillful and generous people responsible for the elegance and beauty of the clothing and handicrafts.
Visit the nearby Peguche which is known for its traditional looms and handcrafted wind instruments where you can purchase their goods directly from the people who make them.
The ride continues through a marvelous Andean setting we head into the indigenous community of the Karanki Magdalena. The scene displays a wide array of crops which resemble a colorful patchwork on the eastern foothills of Imbabura volcano. The skillful people are known to produce outstanding embroidery which could be admired and purchased directly from the artisans.
Learn from the community members about local planting techniques of potatoes, quinoa, lupin, corn, beans, wheat and other vegetables depending on the harvesting season.
At night, enjoy of a traditional dinner prepared with the local produce.
Day 2: Karanki Magdalena –– Train ride to Salinas –– Ibarra –– Quito
After breakfast, embark on a train journey engineered in the early 20th-century that connects the northern Ecuadorian Andes and the Pacific Coast. The ride descends into the warm, dry valley of Salinas, across sugarcane plantations, magical landscapes, through tunnels and over bridges spanning canyons and patchwork fields.
Enjoy a unique lunch at the Salinas Afro-Ecuadorian community restaurant, implemented by Go Galapagos – Kleintours in an effort to boost tourism in support of this fascinating area. The menu has been carefully put together through with the community to share the local savoir-faire with our high-quality standards.
Be amazed by a panoramic view of Ibarra, taste a typical, refreshing sherbet – helado de paila to continue in a ride back to Quito.
Day 3: Pululahua –– El Pahuma Reserve ––Mindo Cloud Forest–– Middle of the Worl Complex –– Quito
Arrive at the Pululahua Crater Viewpoint, 140 mi. northwest of Quito. Observe exotic species of birds, butterflies, flowers such as orchids and bromeliads, and much more at Pahuma Reserve located in the heart of the Ecuadorian cloud forest.
Our ride takes us to Mindo’s cloud forest to visit a fascinating natural reserve with dense forests, waterfalls, and orchids. In the protected forests of Mindo – Nambillo, there will be the opportunity to observe various species of hummingbirds.
On the return to Quito; we visit “Mitad del Mundo” (Middle of the World Complex) and the Equator Monument situated at 0º0’0” latitude. In the eighteenth century, the French Geodesic Expedition erected one of three pyramids, as landmarks, to commemorate their calculation of the middle of the Earth. The complex replicates the Spanish colonial architecture with a typical central plaza, a church, and bull-fighting ring.
Drive back to Quito.