Located less than two hours north of Quito, Las Palmeras is a 150-year-old colonial hacienda set in a lush mountain valley at the base of the Imbabura and Cotacachi volcanoes. Accommodations are in charming cottages, each replete with historic ambience evinced through wood-beamed ceilings, heavy plaster walls and log fireplaces, where a roaring fire can be set to take the chill off cool mountain nights. Within the compound's tile-topped earthen walls, palm trees rise above a perennial garden abloom with hibiscus, bougainvillea, orchids, cholan, eucalyptus, avocado, black currant and more, attracting a profusion of birds including hummingbirds and vermilion flycatchers. While a stay here embodies peaceful rural tranquility, it's just a short downhill walk to the famous market town of Otavalo, where indigenous vendors have bought and sold wares for more than 400 years in the sprawling marketplace that is South America's oldest continuing site of commerce.
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