On a clear day the majestic volcanic peaks create a stunning panorama of the Ecuadorian Andes. From here we go to Saquisilí, a truly traditional highland market with a great variety of colorful products situated in an arid valley in the foothills of the Illinizas.
The market sells everything from the local produce of farming haciendas to shampoo, guinea pigs and objects made from cabuya (from the penco plant). The locals communicate amongst themselves in their mother tongue of Quichua and in the centre of the market they have their own cafeteria serving typical dishes such as chancho (pig), sancocho (yucca and plantain soup) and mote (hominy).
We continue our journey south past the town of Latacunga; its name comes from Llacta Kunka which means God of the lake. Latacunga is famous for its Mama Negra festival in which the virgin of Las Mercedes is honored for giving the people their fertile land.
We travel on through the beautiful highland landscape to La Victoria and Pujilí; Andean towns of potters where the family tradition of pottery lives on. Here we will visit the pottery of Don Gustavo where they make vases and pots using a potter’s wheel. Passengers can have a go at creating their own clay pot. We move on to the Association of Potters where we will be given a detailed talk on how they prepare the clay, dry and fire the pots and vases and the methods they use to paint them.
We head to a local restaurant of the area to taste the typical dishes made with local products, which vary depending on the season.
On the way back to Quito we will pass through, Machachi, where ‘Chagras’, páramo cowboys ride around the town on horseback.