Northern Highlands

Shutterstock/32222881/JOSEALBERTOTEJONorth from Quito to the border with Colombia is an area of great natural beauty and cultural interest. The landscape is mountainous, with views of Cotacachi, Imbabura, Chiles and glacier-covered Cayambe, interspersed with lakes. This is also a region renowned for its
artesanía
. Countless villages specialize in their own particular craft, be it textiles, hats, woodcarvings, bread figures or leather goods. And, of course, there is Otavalo, with its outstanding market, a must on everyone's itinerary.

The Panamericana, fully paved, runs northeast from Quito to Otavalo (94 km), Ibarra (114 km) and Tulcán (240 km), from where it continues to Ipiales in Colombia. Secondary roads go west from all these cities, and descend to subtropical lowlands. From Ibarra a paved road runs northwest to the Pacific port of San Lorenzo and south of Tulcán a road goes east to Lago Agrio. To the east is the impressive snow-capped cone of Cayambe (5790 m), part of the Reserva Ecológica Cayambe-Coca.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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