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Peguche is a small village a kilometer or two outside the famous artisan town of Otavalo. It is north of Otavalo on the way to Cotacachi and can be reached by taking either of two turnoffs to the right, which are clearly marked.
The tiny village is home to a number of talented artisans and weavers, among them Jorge Cotacachi, who weaves fine rugs and tapestries of wool and alpaca. To reach his shop, walk along the sidewalk to the right side of the main church and you will find it off to the right. Two large weaving shops on the main road have a wide variety of woven products, from clothing to tapestries, wall hangings, animals and house wares.
One of the shops often features a weaver demonstrating the ancient art on a loom.
The Peguche waterfall is a relaxing and meditative way to spend some time in nature. The short hike to the waterfall bridge is quite easy and unspoiled.
Tall eucalyptus and grassy pastures afford plenty of places for family gatherings, picnics, meditation, hiking, exploring and just plain relaxing.
The walk from the bridge to the falls itself is a steeper climb upward, but not terribly challenging or difficult.
The falls is considered sacred by the indigenous and ceremonies are held there.
If you look carefully, you’ll notice a small tunnel in the rocks of the waterfall further up, through which you can climb higher.
Not far from the Peguche waterfall is my favorite place to stay, the charming and delightful hostelry, Casa Sol, formerly Casa Andina. It was designed by Barro Viejo, an indigenous team of 3 architects whose carefully-planned design beautifully fits the steep slope it is tucked into. The buildings work their way up the hillside in a series of bright-colored adobe buildings.
The entire compound is a feast for the eyes, with soft curving lines and lots of architectural detail.
Visitors who climb the steep cobbled road and enter the hostel, which is run by indigenous, will find themselves in an enclosed courtyard entry filled with plants and a water feature.
The custom furnishings are as interesting as the imaginative architecture, with hand-made sofas, chairs and cabinets from Cuenca, original artwork and sculpture, and handcrafts from Guatemala and Ecuador.
Whether you climb the waterfall, meander along the river where women still do their laundry and children play, search for fine weavings or luxuriate at Casa Sol, Peguche is one of those special places that shouldn’t be missed.
Take your time and walk around the village. You’ll find a gentle way of life that will make you think that the march of time has been slow and the way of life much as it was centuries ago.