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Banos or Otavalo?

San Diego
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Banos or Otavalo?

My husband & I will be travelling to Ecuador for 6 days in May. In addition to spending a day or two in Quito, we are trying to decide whether to travel to Banos or Otalavo & surrounding areas for the remaining 4 days. I am also looking for feedback on places to stay (anyone stayed at Hacienda Manteles near Banos?) and possible itineraries in both places. Our interest on this trip is rest and relaxation amongst beautiful surroundings primarily, with culture being a close second.

Thanks,

Devi

Beirut, Lebanon
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1. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

I would HIGHLY recommend staying in the Otavalo region. There is a wealth of natural beauty in the area with the lakes and mountains. Some options that I like for staying in the area are Casa Mojanda, Hacienda Pinsaqui and Hacienda Cusin, and Rancho Ali Shungu (not the Hotel Ali Shungu, which has the same owners - nice, but the other is luxurious and in the countryside). Besides Otavalo, visit Cotacachi and nearby Cuicocha lake, Peguche waterfall, drive through the countryside to Zuleta, visit the Mojanda Lakes.

I've heard good things about Hda. Manteles but have no experience with it. I stayed in nearby Hacienda Leito, and it was very nice, gorgeous setting, they have horseback riding.

Fayetteville...
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2. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

I would second the advice from American in Quito. The only reason to choose Banos over Otovalo is if you are really wanting to get a glimpse of the Jungle. You can ride the bus to Puyo and back. In Otovalo we stayed at Casa Andina. It is considerably cheaper than the haciendas. It was absolutely beautifull. www.lacasasol.com

San Diego
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3. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

Thanks for the helpful responses. We're planning on 4 days in Otavalo & neighboring areas. This is our tentative plan:

Day 1: Pechuge

Day 2: Hiking in Zuleta Valley

Day 3: Horse riding & Cuicocha lake (Runa Tupari tour)

Day 4 (Sat): Textile Market

We're planning tp stay at Hacienda Cusin/Pinsaqui. Any recommendations in favor of one or the other? Also, am wondering whether it made sense to move to Ali Shungu for the night before the Saturday market for ease of visiting the market?

What is the best way to get from Quito (Hotel Cafe Cultura) to the Otavalo area, and then finally from Otavalo to Quito airport? Would you recommend using the services offered by the hacienda ($60), a taxi, or taking a bus (I expect to have 2-3 carry-on size bags)? Thanks!

Beirut, Lebanon
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4. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

I would recommend using the transportation offered by the hacienda - just easier. I love both of the haciendas - Cusin is a little more rustic, Pinsaqui more elegant. Pinsaqui is more centrally located for your itinerary. Some friends had a poor experience with the horses, so if you're planning to ride, I'd recommend Cusin. I wouldn't bother to move for the last night, it'd only save you ten minutes in the morning, so why waste 45 minutes checking out of one hotel and checking into another plus the time to pack up and unpack. If you're thinking to see the animal market I understand that you should really be there by 6am. i've never made it then.

usa
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5. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

Hacienda Cusin is very serene and very quiet during the week. The horses and stable master are good...just be a little weary of a horse named Pueblo...Pueblo likes to play and run in the open valleys :-) The taxi or hacienda transport from Cusin to market is a very easy and inexpensive 15 minute ride.

Georgetown, On
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6. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

We went to Otavalo in March'07 and stayed at Hacienda Cusin. 300 years in one family- you get the cultural for sure! It was an oasis of calm... super people, helpful... the food was wonderful... nothing but superlatives!

We did the markets in Otavalo, Lago Cuicocha (the crater walk and cruise), the Cascadas Peguche, Mitad del Mundo, San Antonio de Ibarra, El Lechero, Parque Condor... the Pululahua crater... the leather town (sorry I can't remember the name), a weaving place, a place where an older lady made amazing sculptures out of bread!!!... there was so much to see and do... so much new and beyond anything we'd ever experienced before...

We didn't get to Banos, but I don't feel ripped-off at all!

Pequannock, New...
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7. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

We also were in Ecuador for 2 wonderful weeks this March (2007). On a day trip from Quito we had plenty of time to stop at two miradors on the way to Otavalo, shop and lunch in Otavalo, El Parque Condor (great views of Otavalo in the distance), San Antonio de Ibarra (woodworking), and Cotacachi (leather). This was a leisurely 8am to 6pm day, including travel time. Each of these towns has a center square where you can sit & observe town activity while eating ice cream (we saw a funeral procession complete with casket in San Antonio de Ibarra). If you're into hiking (or a thermal spa) Papallacta was another day trip from Quito that we enjoyed. Hope that helps your planning.

England
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8. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

We've just got back from Ecuador and spent two night at Hacienda Cusin. It is very tranquil and in beautiful surroundings and we really enjoyed it. We didn't ride, but went to the Saturday market in Otavalo, which we absolutely loved, and also took a great tourist train ride through the Andes mountains. We could happily have spent longer in this area if we'd had more time.

9. Re: Banos or Otavalo?

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