BEST VIEWED LARGER
This artwork is derived from a photograph taken during a tour of Ecuador and parts of Central America.
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Taken April 4, 2010 from Cotacachi, a sleepy town north of Quito, Ecuador.
We happened to get here on Easter Sunday with a market and celebrations going on.
This is the magnificent view we had from our El Paradiso Hotel of the great Imbabura Volcano. There is something about mountains bathed in clouds that is so mysterious and fascinating.
The vibrant green valley between the two volcanic peaks (the other being the Cotacachi Volcano) that shelter this town can be viewed briefly from the Pan-American Highway as one journeys past on the way from Quito and Otavalo north to Ibarra. But since buses rush past the right-hand-turnoff to Cotacachi, it’s easy to miss one of Ecuador’s most idyllic areas. The town is a brief three-kilometer ride that winds its way past verdant pastures, dramatic ravines and a leisurely flowing stream where cows graze, watched by an assortment of children and dogs.
Cotacachi is a meld of “edificios” with red and brown tiled roofs and multi-colored walls. While many are being replaced by new concrete buildings, there are still a number of quaint old colonial structures tucked in among the 3- and 4-story shops and residences that make up Cotacachi proper. There is an imposing cathedral topped by a bright-colored statue of Jesus. The town square is charming, with several colonial buildings, a well-manicured park with flowering trees and inviting park benches.
The history and cultural beginnings of this town are hidden deep in the past. One hears tales whispered proudly of how the people this far north managed to resist the Incan conquest until the 16th century. Legend has it that the Incas were unable to have much influence here and finally gave up after only a 20-year subjugation of the north.
Known throughout South and Central America for its leather goods—coats, jackets, purses, shoes and specialty items—picturesque “Leather Street” is increasingly becoming more elegant as prosperous shopkeepers vie for the attentions of affluent clientele.