Road trips are our favorite.
So this past weekend, we loaded up the car and headed north about two hours to Otavalo. A town known for it’s artisanal market that we had been to many times passing through on our way home from somewhere else.
This time, we decided to stay awhile.
Arriving at our AirBnB, that was priced at $11 per person, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But the reviews were solid and Casa Zulay more than lived up to our expectations. Beautiful vintage furnishings and antiques filled the property from an old jukebox to giant clay pots that looked like they’d have a lot to say if they could talk. Photographs of the family lined the main room dating back to their indigenous roots. Colorful tiles and lush gardens with fragrant flowers and yummy trees only added to the spectacular views of Imbabura, an inactive volcano that lay beneath a blue sky.
After getting settled, we decided to set off in search of some waterfalls. Leaving the dogs at the house based on some previous research I had done of the hike, we made our way to the entrance of a well-established trail and park. You can go left or right. Or maybe not quite. Right will take you down the main road that is made of stone. While heading left will wind you through a more rustic and scenic route in the forest. Log bridges crossing narrow streams. Muddy paths that slide beneath your feet.
It’s more our speed. But nice to have both options.
Once you arrive at the falls, an easy 40 minute walk at toddler speed, there are carts of food. Llamas you can take photos with in front of the impressive view. And plenty of areas to post up at while absorbing the powerful rush of water to earth. We took lots of selifes. Some deep breaths. And as the sky started to darken, decided to head back. But not before grabbing six cheese empanadas priced at one dollar. Shaken in a handful of sugar. The combination of queso fresco and fried dough melted in our mouths with the perfect mix of salty and sweet.
The next morning, we set off for Lago San Pablo. Set amidst green hills dotted with quaint towns, it reminded me of those fairy tale picture books I used to read when I was little. We boarded a boat at Parque Aquático for $2 a person. This buys you a twenty or so minute spin around the lake giving you an opportunity to see Imbabura and the surrounding area from every angle. Watching families gather near the water’s edge. Even seeing one setup for a wedding. This is somewhere I could see myself one day. A thought we play with often as we discover all of Ecuador’s different landscapes.
Sometimes it’s the beach. Other times the jungle. And today, it’s lakefront with a kayak or maybe even a pontoon. A fishing rod. With smells of fresh trout wafting through the air.