Today´s tour is all about the indigenous communities that surround Otavalo. Depending the day you will visit one or more of the following communities that all have families specialized in their own craftmanship.
Afterwards you will be brought to the small village of Iluman, known for the craftsmanship of hats. You visit some local families, all dedicated to a different craftsmanship, with your guide. One family is, for example, famous for the elaboration of hats out of sheep wool.
Tapestries, shawls and ponchos craftmanship
In the village of Carabuela, you can see how tapices (tapestries), shawls and poncho’s are made with a small handmade weaving loom. An amazing process!
Another family works on big mats made from Totora reed. This reed grows on the sides of the San Pablo Lake, close to the Imbabura volcano.
If you are interested in shamanism, you might want to visit one of the shamans in Iluman. Indigenous people visit shamans for a ‘limpieza’, a cleansing of the body, to receive positive energy or to get rid of negative energy. To get a demonstration of a cleansing, the shaman will ask for an additional cost, depending on the treatment.
Afterwards, you will visit the nearby village of Cotacachi. This quiet town is very famous all over Ecuador for its good quality leather. You will find many shops selling different items (belts, jackets, bags…). Don’t hesitate to shop while you are there as the prices of the leather are lower than back home. You will head to the Cuicocha Lake, located 12 km from Cotacachi. Cuicocha is a young volcano that erupted 4,500 years ago which covered a large area of northwestern South America with ashes. This intense activity continued until about 1,300 years ago. The lake is formed in a former crater of the Cotacachi volcano and has two islands inside of it called Teodoro Wolf and José María Yerovi. From there, you can walk up to the viewpoint for some nice pictures, hike near the lake or jump on one of the small boats for a tour around the lake.