Hit the Trail, but Stop to Smell the Roses
If you are headed north of Quito, stop when you get to Cayambe and visit a local store to taste the “biscochos” and “hoja de queso.” Then check out the local market in Otavalo for artistan crafts. And along the way be sure not to miss the pristine lakes such as Mohanda or Cuicocaha, of Imbabura Province.
If you travel south of Quito, your family may enjoy a horse-back ride at Hacienda La Alegria in Machachi. Or you might visit the Cotopaxi volcano or one of the other snow-capped peaks in the area. Stop for lunch at the Café de la Vaca, taste the famous ice cream flavors of Salcedo, or consider a detour east to see the spectacular Quilotoa Crater.
As you navigate through the Andes be sure to keep your eye out for one common denominator that all of these destinations share: flowers.
Throughout all of Ecuador there are more than 700 flower farms, the great majority of them in the Andean Sierra hiding in plain sight next to each volcano and around the corner from every great hacienda. And, until now, very few visitors to Ecuador have ever had a chance to see where one of the most beautiful products of Ecuador is produced.
Ecuador´s flower industry, concentrated principally in the production of roses, is the fifth largest source of revenue for the country, bringing in half a billion dollars annually. The Ecuadorian rose is recognized as the best rose in the world due to the unique and favorable growing conditions found only in this country. There are more than 400 rose varieties in production as well as hundreds of other varieties of flowers and fillers throughout the country.
Though flower production in Ecuador began in earnest in the 1980s, the properties of many flower farms are hundreds of years old with traditional hacienda houses. Other farms are part of a community that offers distinct traditions – festivals or gastronomic traditions. Where you go in flower country you find a natural habitat unmatched anywhere else in the world, with unique and endemic species of plants and animals.
Ecuador is so much more than just the Galapagos Island. The Andes also has its own identity and flowers are often the common denominator of every tourist stop, whether they realize it or not.
Hacienda La Compañía
02-224-7825 or 097494194
Flor y Campo
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cayambe, Panamerican North, Km 2 ½, via Otavalo, Ayora.
Contact the Flower Exporting Association, FlorExpo, in Quito for other recommendations
Av. Amazonas y República, Ed. Las Cámaras, 12th floor
(593-2) 292-3646, 47, 48