December 8, 2016
January 12, 2017

The activities during our one day in Quito were perfect, especially the museum at the equator, which gave us a great base of cultural info for the rest of our time (our first visit) in South America. Just driving around in Quito with Jovani talking was fun (and restful) and educational, but when he took us to the top of the mountain to see the Quito Madonna, I really felt I knew him and some traditions in South America. Casa Aliso was perfect – so charming and such friendly, helpful staff, a delicious breakfast, lots of lovely space and charm and beauty.

We cannot even begin to express how much we enjoyed the Anahi and its crew and the itinerary, so I won’t even try. The wonderful crew really made the trip as great as it was. Snorkeling was more fun for me than for Vince. My one misgiving about the trip is that I wasn’t a bit braver to stay in the water and try more more photographs. We got a few good ones and we only skipped two snorkel opportunities, but I wish I had stayed in longer with the very playful sea lions (they were so rough with each other that I was a little cowardly).

I am so happy you suggested the Western Isles at this time period – the landscape was so harsh and lovely, so dramatic – just perfect. We had six other people on board, four couples total, so we got a lot of individual attention from Galo, the park ranger (incredible, helpful, passionate, energetic, creative, patient guide) and the rest of the crew.

When we got back to Quito and were met by our guide, Santiago, and driver Karlos. The ride to Otavalo was amazing with those mountains, and our arrival at the Hacienda Piquane was a fantastic surprise, it was so lovely and special. A cordial young owner who made us feel like family showed us to our enormous room with so much charm (#3, lovely). We explored a while because the hacienda was like nothing we’d seen anywhere. The young owner invited us to the bar in a cellar for live music, a speech about the history of the hacienda, and drinks and snacks. Then a really delicious dinner, nice house wine, fantastic service, and to our room where someone had turned down our bed, turned on the space heater, and put hot water bottles in the bed. Staying at this Hacienda and the Casa Aliso in Quito were two of my favorite memories of our time there!

We visited the Otavalo market, got to add a short time at the waterfall, a weaving demonstration and wonderful shopping at a shop called the Condor with amazing products and prices, a fantastic lunch on the leather street with a tiny bit more shopping, and then a really nice 2.5-hour hike around the “Guinea pig” lake, which was lovely and a fun, challenging experience. – Jeannie, October 2016


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