Stalls bow under the weight of vibrant textiles, mountains of spices fill the air with their rich aroma and locals wander past in traditional dress; this is the famous Otavalo market and a complete feast for the senses.
Located a few hours north of Quito, Otavalo is a predominantly indigenous town famous for its buzzing weekly market. Although trade goes on daily in the Plaza de los Ponchos, the Saturday market is the largest and teems with life as the townsfolk gather to sell their crafts. At its busiest, one-third of the town can be covered with stalls selling everything from dream catchers and jewellery to woven rugs and spices. Browse the unique collections of handmade crafts and admire the weavings and textile skills of the people of Otavalo.
Otavalo’s market tradition stretches back to before the Inca Empire, and today the town still retains much of its original flavour. The villagers host the markets in traditional attire, with women donning embroidered blouses, headcloths (fachalinas), and beads, whilst men dress in ponchos and felt hats. When you’re not shopping for souvenirs or bargaining with vendors, head off to explore and enjoy the mountainous scenery surrounding the town. Imagine endless patchwork hills, lush pastures, volcanoes, and hidden emerald lakes, perfect for hiking, horse-riding, and mountain biking.
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