Otavalo: The mountain side of Ecuador

Take your jacket and vamos to the Ecuadorian mountains

Headphones please → Música Andina, a complete cliché but oh so beautiful!

In Latinoamérica there’s a saying that goes “En el mar, la vida es más sabrosa” meaning at the sea life is more “tasty”. Though it sounds just lame in English, you know what we mean; there’s something about the sea that attracts every homo sapiens on earth. In spite of this fact, we (or rather I) decided to explore more of the “Sierra“, the mountain part of the country.

otavalo-ecuador-4While I was packing our alpaca socks and our jackets, my husband kept talking about the smell of the mar and how we might probably die of vitamin D deficiency because we didn’t go to the beach this year. On top of that he had to drive. But look at these landscapes!


otavalo-ecuador-1My abuelitos and I love the sierra, probably because we have made a lot of memorias there, since I was a kid we used to travel there with my great-grandma so yeah, we were really excited. Our first stop was Otavalo. To get there you need a car, you could also take a bus., but you’ll just have more flexibility with a car.

otavalo-ecuador-2otavalo-ecuador-5One of the most beautiful restaurants/hotels in Otavalo is the “Puerto Lago”. We used to come here at least once a year and here is why:

puerto-lago-otavalo-ecuador-1puerto-lago-otavalo-ecuador-5puerto-lago-otavalo-ecuador-2The food here: Y-U-M-M-Y. I always eat our typical food so first of 10 dishes I always  end up ordering was a good old Llapingacho. You don’t need to understand or even pronounce that word, just eat it.

No that’s not popcorn, it’s “mote”, the most delicious type of corn grain ever!

When you are done eating you can go take a walk around the hotel and take a small siesta with this chicas. They will spit on you if you get to close or if they are on their PMS, so when men hear this it’s a “challenge accepted” type of situation. So while they do their thing the chicas will be already gone to that little kiosko you see on the back. Ponchos of all sizes and colors, alpaca socks, alpaca pullovers, alpaca heaven…


After this we normally go to the mercados in Otavalo where you can buy all sort of Andean souvenirs but this time we decided to go to Ibarra to get some dessert. It’s a bit of a ride but if you ever have the opportunity to try some “helado de paila” or paila ice cream once in your life, you’ll be driving waaaaay longer than what we did to get it. Ibarra is a really picturesque city take a look.


Typical ecuadorian sweets. Your teeth will ache but it’ll be worth it.

ibarra-ecuador-2To the good part: HELADO DE PAILAAAAAAA. So a paila is a metal bowl used in several countries in Latinoamérica. In a paila you can make ice cream, cook meat, serve rice or a paella, basically tutto tutto in this world.

Helados de paila Rosalia Suarez – Ibarra, Ecuador
The paila goes round and round and round on a ice floor and then….

You will never again see life the same way after you taste this. It’s fresh fruit pulp with ice. Doesn’t get any healthier than this.

Leche and Mora ice cream
Taxo ice cream. So exotic I couldn’t even find a translation for this fruit.

Drooling yet? I want to emphasize the fact that at this point my esposo was like: Mar? Playa? Beach? What??? Hombres… 🙂

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María del Carmen Villafuerte de Almeida: Sí, that's my whole name. I'm a married Ecuadorian living in Germany's coolest city, München that is. I'll be helping you refresh your Spanglish through my aventuras with my familia around the world.

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