Cotacachi is a small town in the Andes, about a 2-hour drive from Quito. It is a little lower in elevation than Cuenca, but feels like it has the same weather. We just got back from our trip to Cotacachi. We were there for a week and really enjoyed our visit. What did we like about it? Well, we really liked how quiet it was! I guess I'm getting old, but the constant traffic below our apartment, the car alarms, the firecrackers going off, hearing your neighbors, etc. is noisier than I realized. Being away from all of the noise, you realize how loud it really is.
One of the reasons why it was so quiet in Cotacachi was because we stayed at a beautiful ranch hotel which could easily accommodate 200 people and we were the only ones there! Also it is off the beaten path, thus making it even quieter. We had a TV but only in Spanish so we didn't watch it much. But we did have internet which is a requirement for keeping in touch (with the outside world!).
Cotacachi is a town of about 10,000 people (compared to Cuenca with about 400,000 people). What's beautiful about Cotacachi are the two volcanoes that are on either side of the town. On the west side is (Mama) Cotacachi and on the east side is (Papa) Imbabura. They are considered sacred by the indigenous people that live there. Speaking of the indigenous, their dress for the women is different than in Cuenca (long skirts in Cotacachi compared to short skirts in Cuenca). (Long makes more sense to me for protection and warmth.) Also, because you're in such a small town, you have more direct interaction with the indigenous people (the women mostly) who cook and serve you your meals, and clean your room. They are very sweet people who just want to please.
The following are pictures of where we stayed (Rancho Santa Fe). On the hotel sign is a picture of "Kokopelli". We were very surprised to see Kokopelli. He is everywhere in Arizona - not sure how he got to Ecuador! (But maybe he actually started in Ecuador!)
The following pictures are the sights around town; i.e., church and central park, restaurants, leather stores. Notice how beautiful, smooth and clean the sidewalks are. Also on top of the church is a statute of Jesus as he overlooks the town. (I loved that!) And Cotacachi is known for its leather products. There is one main street just dedicated to the leather stores. Mike and I both bought leather jackets while we were there.
The first place we ate. (The food was delicious.)
This was a tourist attraction; hence the musicians playing for our benefit.
Solid Rock Cafe
We were walking around town trying to find a map of Cotacachi, but there were none to be found. Lo and behold we stopped and there painted on the wall of a building was a map of Cotacachi! I took a picture, printed it and now we have a map of Cotacachi!
More posts to follow re our week in Cotacachi.