A Trip from Quito to Patate

Dorit Hansen von Soleq.travel und Solecu Tours

SOLEQMASTER

What do you do in Quito when you’re cold? My mother-in-law is quite “friolenta” – that she feels cold is a permanent condition, so to speak! When she once again complained about the cold in Quito, we decided to take her on a trip to the warmth. Only where to?

Places to visit near Quito

Due to the different altitudes in Ecuador, you can quickly reach places where the temperatures are completely different from those in the cool Quito at an altitude of approximately 2,800 m. You can find more detailed information about the climate in Ecuador in our Ecuador travel tips.

In the cloud forest in the west of Quito, however, we had been recently. The hot springs to the east of Quito we had also already visited and in Cotacachi in the north we were last weekend. This is why we decided to go to the south this time. Where exactly we’d go, however, we had not decided with departure yet. It should be a real road trip: We wanted to see where the road leads us! Eight of us and with three generations we left for the south around 9:30 in the morning.

Jeans sale in Pelileo

We were curious to see what the trip from Quito would surprise us with. But what we knew was that we would go to Pelileo first. Here you can mainly buy jeans. To get there, we drove on the Simon Bolivar south past Petregal. This is an agricultural region and fruit is sold everywhere. I sometimes had the feeling that we were at the coast – with huge watermelons, bananas, papayas and much more!

In Ecuador, there are many villages that specialize in one product and are known nationwide for that product. In Cotacachi they are leather goods, in Ibarra the Helado de Paila (ice cream from the pan) and in Pelileo jeans. They are sold in almost every shop on the main street. They are also very cheap, but from my own experience I can say that larger sizes, which are still common in Europe, are difficult to find.

La Laguna de Yambo

Until Machachi the traffic was very slow, so we only got really going on the partly eight-lane Panamericana afterwards. We took the first break at the Laguna de Yambo.

Here we realized for the first time that we had been driving parallel to the railway tracks that connect Quito with Duran near Guayaquil. We should cross them even more often afterwards. The landscape here is characterized by eucalyptus trees, huge penko plants and palm trees, which does not fit at all to the Frisian cows that graze everywhere.

In Salcedo, many ice cream sellers invited us to try the famous ice cream from Salcedo, but as it was just before noon, we saved it for the way back.

Our destination Patate

From Pelileo we went on to Patate. Patate was definitely the discovery of the trip! Situated at 2.200 m the climate is very pleasant and together with rich soil Patate has developed into a centre for ornamental plants and fruit trees! Most of the visitors, including us, had their cars full of plants on their way back.
The central park in Patate is really beautiful with almost overflowing vegetation. A speciality of the place are the Arepas de Zapaillos, very tasty baked flat cakes wrapped in corn leaves and best eaten warm. Due to the climate there is even a wine production here.

Market in Patate

The local market is the prettiest market I have come across in Ecuador, very clean and small, but nice! Of course, even the smallest ornamental plant is not practical for international travellers, but the Arepas are very recommendable and wine and/or a pair of jeans can be easily transported as a souvenir.

Llanganantes National Park

The entrance to the Llanganantes National Park is easy to reach from here. This is very worthwhile for hikers! For smaller hikes there are several waterfalls that can be visited! Information can be found on the National Park website.

Volcano Tungurahua

On a clear day from Patate you can see the volcano Tungurahua, the most active volcano in Ecuador. On the way back we were lucky and could see it. It even had snow on the top, which is not usual.

Our spontaneous road trip was definitely a little adventure and a successful day for everyone. A trip from Quito to Patate will certainly not be the last one we made. Patate is definitely recommendable as a pleasantly warm but easily accessible destination for a trip from Quito that is not yet so well known or overcrowded!

Nice accommodations in the area are the Haciendas Mantales and Leito.

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