After leaving Quito we head north to Otavalo, where acclimatization continues: a visit to the market and the lagoon Cuicocha. It takes us approximately 3 hours to get from Quito to Otavalo. We first check in at our hotel and afterwards it’s market time. We are very lucky it’s Saturday, THE market day in Otavalo. There are sooo many lovely things at the numerous stands and like this the afternoon passes quickly, wandering around at the “plaza de los ponchos”, how the market place is called.
On the second day we go for the lagoon Cuicocha, which is an approximately 30 min drive from Otavalo. Cuicocha is a crater lake in an extinct volcano and its name comes from the 2 islands which are in the middle of the lake. They are said to have the shape of the back of a guinea pig (cuy). The walk around the lake is a perfect acclimatization tour as preparation for higher mountains.
The walk around the lagoon takes about 3 to 4 hours and offers besides the acclimatization also a great variety of plants and animals which can be observed.
Well, time for summits again! We go south, after having explored Otavalo and its surroundings. The national reserve ILINIZAS is our next target – first the ascent to Corazón summit: Corazón is one of the popular acclimatization peaks. First it’s a pleasant walk through the “páramo” grassland and the last part is a bit rocky.
And after having completed the mission Corazón, Iliniza Norte is on our list. The tour is scheduled for 2 days, to enjoy also the advantage of sleeping a night at high altitude. Unfortunately altitude sickness also affected our guests, so only Lukas was able to ascent to the summit, while the rest of the group stayed at the refugio Nuevos Horizontes.
Up to now, the weather treated us not too bad, but also not really good … we stayed mainly dry but the views could have been a lot better. Mainly we had cloudy days … what for hiking is often better than hot and sunny days.
Checking our schedule we note that Chimborazo National Park is our next mile stone … let’s go for it. Some last acclimatization and then the attack of Chimborazo.
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