After spending a week in the Galapagos, we stayed in Quito for about 4 days. We wanted to use one of the days to explore outside the city, so my mother had located Ganguilagua tours and made a reservation with them. They worked with us via email to plan our day beforehand to do what we wanted to do and fit our schedule. Our guide, Hugo, was fantastic. He spoke great english and explained things to us very well.
We began the day by making a quick stop at a bakery where they make figurines for the day of the dead and other holidays. It was a great place to get original yet cheap gifts for people. We began to make our way towards Otavalo, and stopped a few places where there were great views of the volcanos. We also went to the equator (not the touristy one), basically just to say we were there.The scenery outside of Quito is really beautiful, so it's worth making the trip just for that. The acacia trees and everything else they grow there is really interesting. This was a Wednesday so the Otavalo market was probably not as full as on the weekends, but it was a great start for us as otherwise it probably would have been overwhelming. The shopping was fantastic, we got blankets, table cloths, hats, hand towels, jewelry, etc. and I still wanted to keep buying stuff.
For lunch Hugo took us to a really nice hacienda where Simon Bolivar had once stayed. It was really beautiful and the food was great as well. It was nice having a local to expain their favorite things on the menu. After that we went to Cotacachi, a town that specializes in leather. We only had about 30 minutes to spend there, so we went into as many stores as we could. I was very impressed by the quality, it is definitely comparable to what you can find in Italy. The whole town has new car smell from all the leather, I didn't want to leave. Afterwards we went to a crater lake in one of the old volcanos. It was beautiful, but it was raining so we just got out of the car quickly for a photo.
That was the end of our day as we wanted to get back in the city by about 7:30 to have dinner. The traffic going back is what you would expect in a major city, but it's not as bad when you're not the one driving. All in all it was a wonderful experience! If I find myself back in Quito (which I hope I do), I would book with them again and request Hugo again as well.