fun to do kids andes north ecuador   Travel for Kids

The Andes (The North)

The Andean highlands are spectacular, with volcanic peaks in the clouds, mountain lakes formed in the calderas and waterfalls, lush fields and wide open countryside. It's also an area rich with artisans villages, and kids can watch families of weavers (children too) at work.
Otavalo Market
  Otavalo – Otavalo is noted for its markets that have everything under the sun. The animal market (get up early) has every conceivable farm animal, the food market is stacked with bushels of local produce and an amazing variety of tropical fruits, the crafts market on the Plaza de Ponchos is filled with woven things, a colorful spectacle! Saturday is the big market day, but stalls are set up every day in the Plaza de Ponchos. Girls can buy earrings, necklaces, woven belts, and white embroidered blouses, just like the Otavalo ladies. Boys will enjoy traditional Otavalo clothing of dark blue wool ponchos and felt hats.
    Lago de San Pablo – For a day trip, hike from town up to "El Lechero" (the sacred tree) for a striking view of Lake San Pablo, then walk down to the lake. Feeling lazy – hire a taxi from town to drive around the lake. Boating on the lake is available from the Hosteria Puerto Lago.
    Cascada de Peguche (Peguche Waterfalls) – Take a picnic and walk from town, or take a bus or taxi right to the entrance to the falls. From the entrance, it's a ten minute, easy walk to the waterfalls. There is also a network of trails on the hillsides, if you want to hike further.
      Hikes and horseback riding – At your hotel, ask about horseback rides, or renting mountain bikes for the day. You can also arrange for horses and bikes at stores around the Plaza de Ponchos.
  Artisans Villages – The Otavalo area has long been famous for its weavers. Artisans often combine workshop and family home. You'll see parents teaching a young boy how to weave, young men hard at work at their looms, or a grandmother carding wool.
    Agato – Just outside the village, visit the workshop of Miguel Andrango for a demonstration of the centuries-old backstrap loom.
    Peguche – In Peguche, the Cotacachi family makes exquisite tapestries, with many designs to choose from. They have a gallery on the square in Peguche.
    Iluman – Visit the village of Iluman (north of Otavalo) to see how felt hats are made and buy hats (perfect fit for kids). To see master weavers at work, particularly "chumbi" belts, stop into the Inti Chumbi Coop run by the Conteron family.
    Lake Cuicocha (Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi-Cayapas) – Take a boat trip on Lake Cuicocha in an old volcanic crater. The boat ride around the stunningly blue lake, dotted with lava islands, is spectacular. (Life vests are provided for the ride.) Don't miss the Visitor's Center at the entrance to the Reserve.

Ibarra – In Ibarra, the "white city" (la ciudad blanca), rent a horse and cart to ride around town. These two wheeled carts are in use by the local population, not just for tourists. See other families riding around town, their carts loaded with kids, pigs, potatoes and all sorts of things. Ibarra is famous for its fruit flavored ice creams. Close to Ibarra is San Antonio de Ibarra, where you can see wood carvers at work (and buy woodcarvings).




In the Otavalo market, kids can shop for ceramic figurines, traditional jewelry of gilded glass or red beads, silver earrings and necklaces, beaded necklaces, tapestries, blankets, felt hats, scarves, ponchos, fluffy llamas, paintings, sweaters and vests in kid's sizes, dolls in traditional Ecuadorian dress, leather or woven pouches, musical instruments.

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