Best of Ecuador’s Northern Sierra
Mindo: This sleepy town, nestled in the cloud forest, teems with toucans, hummingbirds, quetzals, and butterflies. Adrenaline seekers can fly across the forest canopy on zip-lines or plunge down the river rapids.
Textile Market: Otavalo’s textile market, held every Saturday, is one of the best on the continent—patterned ponchos, sweaters, embroidered shirts, handmade jewelry, and felt hats are all on sale, so haggle away.
Lagunas de Mojanda and Fuya Fuya: Explore these three beautiful lagoons high above the valley in the shadow of jagged mountains. Nearby Fuya Fuya is excellent practice for climbing more challenging peaks.
Laguna Cuicocha: This 200-meter-deep crater lake in the shadow of Volcán Cotacachi is one of Ecuador’s most stunning sights. Hike around it or take a boat through the canal between two volcanic cones in the center.
Tulcán’s Municipal Cemetery: With its extraordinary topiary works, this graveyard has been called “so beautiful, it invites one to die.”
© Ben Westwood and Avalon Travel from Moon Ecuador & the Galápagos Islands, 5th Edition