This trip is takes visitors through a fine display of Ecuadorian folk art, visits to small villages and artisan homes will allow passengers to learn the diferent techniques used as well as purchase souvenirs from the master craftsmen.
Arrival transfer, hotel stay at a colonial mansion or boutique hotel in the downtown area.
Visit the colonial downtown of Quito a UNESCO heritage site, learn about the unique religious art the capital of Ecuador has to offer. You will get the chance to visit several churches and marvel at the religious art from the Quito school and how the indigenous born painters assimilated the European techniques creating a blen of styles found nowhere else. A short stop at the Sinchi Sacha foundations souvenir shop will allow us to see the diferent crafts from around the country.
After visiting downtown Quito, we will enjoy lunch at a typical restaurant with international and local dishes (lunch is optional). We will then visit the middle of the world monument and the Inti Ñan Equator musuem. See your first sample weaving loom at the workshop of a Salasaca family that works at the museums souvenir shop. After a full day of exploring, we return to our hotel.
North of Quito is the valley of the awakening sun, home to the Otavalo ethnic group. The Otavaleño people live in several communities and are one of the most prosperous indigenous nations anywhere. En-route to the Otavalo market we will visit several small villages, each specializing in a craft. Learn how traditional crafts and innovation keep these cultures alive and prosperous.
Some of the craftsmen villages & towns we may visit:
Calderon: Bread dough figures
Cayambe: Small city known for its traditional biscuits and leaf cheese
Zuleta: Female embroidery workshops
Agato: Textiles, backstrap loom and Spanish loom weaving of ponchos
Peguche: Musical instrument workshop and Andean folk music
Iluman: Felp and wool hat workshops
San Antonio: Crafted wood workshops and master carvers
Cotacachi: Fine leather goods
We will visit most of the above villages depending on passengers interests, visits will be spread out between the 1st and 2nd day in the area. Our visit to the Otavalo market will help us understand the social interaction and local economy, this colorful gathering will allow us to observe handicrafts and textiles from the surrounding villages and other parts of the country in one plaza.
The afternoon of the first day we will visit a local family where we will spend the night, at dinner we get a chance to enjoy local food made from fresh produce. We will be able to practice our Spanish and talk to our friendly hosts and learn about their lifestyle. Accommodation is in a nice twin bed cabin with a private bathroom and fireplace.
Our second day in the Otavalo area starts with a delicious breakfast with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade tortillas or bread. This morning we get to help the family (optional) with their everyday activities.
Before leaving the northern Andes of Ecuador we will continue visiting artisan villages and the homes of diferent master craftsmen. This evening we head back to Quito and return to our colonial mansion.
Today we catch an early morning flight to Cuenca, we will be able to admire the majestic Andes from a birdseye perspective from our airplane window (weather permiting). Cuenca is considered the most beautiful city in Ecuador, its downtown area is a UNESCO heritage site. We will walk along its streets and enjoy the unique architecture, wrought iron balconies, religious art and colonial builidings. After a guided walking tour around the city and a visit to straw hat factory (mistakenly called Panama hats) we will continue with a visit to the Vega ceramic shop, here we will be able to admire the art of one of Ecuador´s master artists.
After lunch (optional) we will visits the Conceptas museum of religious art, considered to be one of the finest displays of religious paintings and artwork in South America.
We will spend the night at a colonial mansion converted to boutique hotel.
Today we will visit one of the valleys near Cuenca. In Gualaceo we will visit the workshops of IKAT weavers and learn about their tie-dye approach torwards creating unique designs in their textiles. The town of Chordeleg almost entirely sustains itself from its handmade jewelry industry where the philigrain technique is used to creat unique art in silver and gold. After lunch (optional) we return to Cuenca in time to catch the afternoon flight back to Quito. Overnight at a hotel near the airport.
Transfer out for your intenational flight home. Today we have the option to join a trip extension on board one of our Galapagos cruises or an Amazon river tour.
The above is a sample itinerary prepared for a arts program. It can be customized to fit the needs and special interests of your travellers.