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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Traveler's Corner

We spent 6 nights in Otavalo, out of which 5 were at the homely Rincon del Viajero just 2 blocks from the famous Plaza de Ponchos.

So... why only 5 nights out of 6 at Rincon del Viajero? Dazed and tired from a hectic border crossing from Colombia (which involved transport in 4 different vehicles, 6 luggage checks by the police, having our limbs pulled in 8 different directions by bus touts, getting dumped along a highway and some backtracking between the Colombian and Ecuadorian immigration booths), I just lucky-picked a hostel name from our guidebook and gave the address to the taxi driver. Hotel Riviera Sucre wasn't the cheapest of choices, but the travel guide promised "outstanding value" for the price. Plus, we figured that with it being foreign-run and nearer the top end, there would be free WiFi available in the hostel, which we had been hankering for - cos I don't like backlog on our blog!

Well, free (but slow - even a tortoise can crawl faster) WiFi and "outstanding value" certainly came at a cost. The lack of available rooms with shared bathrooms added to our hotel bill. At US$26 per room (with the promised agua caliente - which failed miserably), excluding breakfast, we could already visualise our money flying fast from our pockets (in the classic form of dollar notes with wings, flapping far into the clouds.)

So later that night, we went shopping - for a cheaper place to live out the rest of our week in Otavalo. We liked what we saw at Rincon del Viajero - good security, tranquil setting, cosy rooms, clean shared bathrooms, hot showers (yes, there really was agua caliente - lots of it!), friendly super-responsive staff and free WiFi (at a slightly faster crawling speed.) We negotiated a lower rate for our 5-night stay (considered lengthy for visitors to Otavalo who usually only descend upon the town on Friday for the Saturday market) and were rewarded with a US$2 discount for each night. The final price of US$18 was inclusive of tax and breakfast (fresh rolls, eggs and coffee!) We loved Rincon's proximity to Plaza de Ponchos (so that I could window shop en route to lunch everyday and sneakily suss out some coveted items before displaying any form of interest to the eager vendors), steaming fruit pies, awesome gelato, sweet nuts, heavenly chifas and stores blatantly hawking the latest movies on pirated DVDs (no, no, no, whoever said that I used to be an anti-piracy lawyer busting those enterprising copy pirates on raid after raid? Must have been my evil twin sister.)

I've posted a review on TripAdvisor singing praises of this little gem (it's still one, despite being listed in Lonely Planet's South America on a Shoestring which I see every other tourist toting around the continent) but the review is still pending approval. Do check back on the link to my reviews on our blog's sidebar for the full details.

Rincon del Viajero literally translates into "traveler's corner'. And rightly so. Not only was it physically located on the corner of 2 streets, it offered weary travelers a haven from the dusty roads and honking vehicles (but unfortunately, not from the yapping dogs from the nearby pet shops.)

The rooms lining one side of the corridor remind me of our HDB flats back home!

We had alot of fun with the lovely murals adorning the walls of the guesthouse. In fact, I think we were the only guests who shamelessly treated the place like our very own photo studio with various backdrops to pose with. Everybody else seemed to be serious shoppers, cool shooters sinking balls on the pool table or laid-back smokers puffing away along the corridors. Ah well, to each his own.

Ponchos, plaits and hats. Can't tell whether the two people in front are male or female - the men in Otavalo keep their hair long and wear it in braids!

He was muttering something about sore tummy muscles here

Good reading spot under the Volcan Cotacachi. Pity about the hole in the lake though.

Owning an iPod can make you the coolest person around here

Yes, doing an exact representation of how he treats his wife when nobody's looking

Rabbits are food for the condor. But don't play dead when you see one - this big lazy bird loves his meals to be as dead as a doornail!

If you're ever in Otavalo (don't worry, I had never heard of this place too until we started planning for this trip), do check out Rincon del Viajero for a good night's sleep.


Adeline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adeline said...


We get back in france wednesday and it's very difficult !! Ecuador was so great...
We have watch all your blog and we are very impressed, it's very funny and your pictures are really beautifuls !!!
We have realised that it was very difficult for us to talk in english with you so we have decided to take english and spanish lessons next year for our futurs travels !
If you have some good pictures of the animal's market can you show them us?
If one day you decided to visit france call us or send us an email to come to see us! We don't live in Paris but there is a lot of others beautifuls areas in france , and the south is really great !
So have a nice trip, "bon voyage" in french, see you.

Adeline & Nicolas.

Dannie said...

Hi Adeline & Nicholas!

We're glad you enjoy our blog, and even happier to have met you. You have given us some really good tips on shopping at the market, you know.

The blog entry on the animal market will be up as soon as I can get a good internet connection to upload the pictures. And yes, there will be a picture of both of you on it!

Stay tuned!

Yi Lin said...

Hi Adeline,

It was great meeting you and Nicolas. I think your English is pretty good! We can hardly speak any French, even though I tried learning the language. We certainly hope to visit France, especially the south. I think I might like it better than Paris!

Buena suerte for your next trip. Let us know if you ever come to Singapore!

Nicolas said...

Hi !

Maybe one day it's possible that we go to Singapour, my best friend live in new caledonie and we have to pass by Singapour to go there !

For the pictures we want say if you have some of them pretty good or funny with the animals we are interested to see them because your photos are very beautiful ! but we don't want absolutely be on your blog, we're not so pretentious :-) !!!

It's a real pleasure to follow you on your blog, we can continue to dream to america latin like that !

You can watch our pictures here if you want : http://picasaweb.google.com/nicoetadeline2

So, "à bientôt " !

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