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Two Weeks in the Andean Highlands

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Hike into vast volcanic craters. Visit bustling markets to find handwoven garments. Then saddle up with Ecuadorian cowboys and roam the Andean countryside on horseback. This snow-dipped landscape offers the chance to appreciate both the culture of indigenous peoples and the dramatic natural world in which they live.
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Away from the hiking, trekking and rafting, Sacha Ji provides the perfect tonic for aching limbs. Sprawling to the south of Imbabura volcano, this recently built wellness retreat oozes relaxation as soon as you stroll through its beautifully...
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Otavalo, Ecuador
For unique handwoven attire at reasonable prices (depending on your bartering skills) few places come close to Otavalo. This small indigenous town, sunken between the volcanic peaks of Imbabura, Mojanda and Cotacachi hosts a market renowned...
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Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of being a cowgirl. Now, years later, I find myself living my childhood fantasy—in Ecuador. As part of a three-day repunte, or roundup, organized by adventure outfitter Tierra del Volcán, I ride...
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The annual trek from Quito to Otavalo takes two full days. Halfway through the second day, you are rewarded with a view of this remote lake high in the mountains (the photo does not do its scale justice). The hike commemorates the journey that...
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Alausi, Ecuador
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. Take a ride on the Devil’s Nose Train, a feat of railroad engineering that offers spectacular views of the Ecuadorean Andes. From Riobamba, it’s a two-hour bus ride to the small town of Alausi, where...
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Calle Modesto Jaramillo y Salinas, Plaza de Ponchos, junto a, Farmacias Economica, Otavalo, Ecuador
It's fitting that an artisanal coffee shop, La Cosecha Coffee, sits just off the main market square of Plaza de Ponchos, Otavalo. While sipping on single origin coffee from nearby Intag, you can observe local artisans sell their handmade hats,...
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Magical is the only way to describe Hacienda El Porvenir and its location high in Cotopaxi National Park. We had an amazing 3-hour ride on the Hacienda's healthy, beautiful horses that are set free in the evenings to roam and graze on the endless...
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Saquisilí, Ecuador
Everyone who visits Ecuador knows about Otavalo market: the weavings, the sweaters, the friendly vendors. Well, Saquisili has all those and more. There's street food (grilled chicken feet anyone?), a shoe section, a live animal market and more...