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We hiked to a waterfall in Otavalo, but first we got completely turned around and hiked near the waterfall but not to it. We arrived at this tourist location before it was really open and got completely turned around, but it wasn't a bad thing because where we hiked around was really, really pretty! The waterfall was also spectacular! It was a fantastic morning. Gosh, I love Ecuador. 

We went to the market in Otavalo, but for some reason I didn't take one photo! Can't believe it! I guess I had to leave with a regret. We did buy things at the market though. 

Because we were unable to do any hiking on our first go at Cotopaxi, I knew I had to return the next day. Fortunately for us, Maeve was up shortly after 6am (after a very sleepless night, sorry fellow hotel guests!) and we were at Cotopaxi National Park not long after it opened. It was a very misty, cloudy morning and the entire time there was cloud coverage over Cotopaxi, so I’m really grateful we were there the day before. We hiked around La Laguna, which was mostly flat and took just over an hour. 

I firmly believe that God took extra care when he created Ecuador. It is so beautiful! I’m so grateful we had the chance to come to this incredibly National Park. I’m really, really glad we made this stop. 

Our next stop was Cotopaxi National Park. We made two visits to the park on two days. On our first day, we checked in and it was recommended to us to rent a 4x4 vehicle if we wanted to hike to the Refugio. We decided to see how far our car could get us. The drive into the park was breathtaking and as we drove up Cotopaxi, the cloud coverage slowly cleared, ultimately revealing the peak of the Volcano! It was mesmerizing and I had Conor pull over so many times to take photos! I loved every minute! In the end, perhaps we should’ve enlisted the 4x4, because at some point our gutless Chevrolet Spark could do no more and we had to roll down the mountain and turn ourselves around. Everything was so breathtakingly beautiful, that there was no room for complaints whatsoever. Only gratitude for where we were. We decided to go back down and hike the Lagoon, which we would’ve done if someone hadn’t locked the keys in the car! Fortunately opening a car manually (aka breaking in) is a common skill set and everything turned out okay, although it did chew up a couple of hours. We’re making memories! 

My favorite picture I took is the one of the llama and Cotopaxi in the background. Is this for real??? Yes, it is. 

We stayed one night very close to the south entrance of Cotopaxi park at the Rondador Hotel. It was such a great stay, with very friendly staff, especially with Maeve. The restaurant had really yummy food! It was such a pleasant time. I highly recommend traveling in Ecuador with a baby. Ecuadorians are so kind, but their kindness is magnified when you have a cute, blue eyed baby traveling with you. Maeve has helped us to make so many connections! 

The next rescue center we visited (Paseos Los Monos) had primarily monkeys but other animals as well. Again, it was another loop that we walked to see what we could see. It was really great! The whole loop, we were accompanied by a coatí, which is related to raccoons. She followed us and rooted around in the ground for snacks as we went. She was so friendly that a couple of times I almost step on her because she was underfoot. Something about having this little creature walk along with us made the visit extra special.

The place had a nursery for baby animals fed with bottles. There were 3 monkeys and a baby coatí. One of the monkeys was 14 months old and especially playful. Maeve was laughing so hard and it was the cutest thing ever! I loved watching Maeve point to all the animals. Safe to say, every member of our family enjoyed this day!

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