On arriving in Latacunga we found our taxi couldn´t enter the town as all the roads were shut. It turned out that there was a big fiesta happening called Mama Negra. This was the college version which was still impressive with the main one happening in October or November I think. There was a huge procession with people dressed up and dancing and lots of music.
The following day we went on a tour to a volcanic crater called Quilotoa. The tour took us through a few towns and some very impressive scenery. We stopped in a small town called Zumbahua for its Saturday market. As with Otavalo and all the small towns in this country the local indigenous people were all dressed in their traditional clothing and not for the benefit of tourists (there doesn´t seem to be many of us around at the moment!).
After the town it wasn´t far past a canyon to the crater. From the ridge we walked town through the mud to the lake inside. Very scenic. Typically as it reached the afternoon the weather turned and the rain started which made the going more tricky in the sand and mud. I will admit I was very tired and a little scared! At the bottom we decided to get the mules up. It takes half the time and saves a lot of energy. It was great fun though a little scary particularly as my mule kept trying to walk off the edge of the path and commit us both to our doom! I can safely say that I will never ride a mule up the side of a volcanic crater again! What do we call a volcanoe that does not erupt anymore?