The Otavalo artisan market
is one of the nicest in all of Latin America with art products
unknown anywhere else in South America. Many products have been
influenced by western art, like the patterns inspired by Escher, but
then incorporated in the local Inca art motives. Colors, keen art kraft, quality wool, all overwhelmingly present at this market, make
a visit to Otavalo an absolute must when you
visit Ecuador. Let us
help you find a great affordable place to sleep, a wonderful local pub to spend
an evening so you will remember Otavalo as a lifetime highlight.
Otavalo, capital of Otavalo Canton, is located at a 2 hours' ride
from Quito and it is a largely indigenous town in
the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. The town has about 100,000
inhabitants and is surrounded by enormous volcanoes: Cotacachi
4,995m, Imbabura 4,630m, and Mojanda 4263m.
The women are dressed in
white embroidered blouses, with lace sleeves, and black or dark blue
over skirts, with white under skirts. The Men wear white trousers,
and dark blue ponchos. Both sexes wear their hair in long braided
tails. The women wear many strings of glass-golden beads around
their necks and strings of coral beads around their wrists.
The Otavalo market was
built with financing of the Netherlands in 1970 and designed by the
Dutch architect Tonny Zwollo. It consists of 90 concrete
umbrella-shaped stalls with benches. The famous Otavalo textiles are
mostly made of wool, weavings in many bright colors, which are sold
all week long on the Plaza de los Ponchos and local art shops.
During the market's peak on Saturdays, almost
one third of the town becomes clad with stalls selling textiles,
tagua nut jewelry, musical instruments, dream catchers, leather
goods, fake shrunken heads, indigenous costumes, hand-painted
platters and trays, purses, clothing, spices, raw foods and spools
Originally a typical Andean
agricultural area on the rich volcanic soils, Otavalo consisted
originally of a farming community . With the popularity of the
Otavalo crafts aided by the rich traditional clothing tourism
started to grow in the 1970s, and the town now is one of the prime
destinations for tourists and there are now many more posadas
(hotels in a colonial house surrounding a courtyard), than other
similarly sized Ecuadorian towns, while all week long, romantic
restaurants in old colonial houses entertain their guests with
traditional Andes music. Every year the the indigenous festival for
the summer solstice, called Inti Raymi takes place around the the 21
of June, in different towns in the region, including at the Peguche
Waterfall (contact is for details).
Many nearby towns produce their different
handicrafts: Cotacachi, is known for Ecuador's
leather industry, while San Antonio, is known for its wood carving,
with show case art displayed in the streets in the form of carved
statues, picture frames, and furniture. All these places can be
comfortably visited from your posada en Otavalo in 30 - 45 minute
rides. Ask us for details.
concrete umbrella shaped stalls with benches on the market at Plaza
de los Ponchos was financed by the
Netherlands development cooperation in the 1970s.
Otavalo women having fun among themselves at a
moment when visitors are scarce.
Most people can't resist buying art craft and
textiles in Otavalo.
There is a wide range of woven products,
jewelry, sweaters, wood carvings, paintings, Panama hats, antiques,
of daily life in Otavalo plays right before your eyes in the
streets. It is such a hospitable and friendly community.
Wao, this guy was sooo good. My wife and I
could not leave until we were the last people in this local restaurant
and he told us he was sorry but had to get some sleep. What a lovely
group of people.
traditional music and friendly
"nightlife" in Otavalo is a lifetime experience.
While not among
the very old colonial cities, Otavalo has charming monumental
buildings, like the City Hall, the Jordan Church and the San Luis
Church. The Plaza Bolivar is quite popular among the local community
and often, on weekends people flock together for music performances.
Economical clean and charming bed and
breakfasts in "posadas"or hostals are available in Otavalo. We know where to find them so you can
feel at home in this charming city.
Esther is our favorite place for if you want to stay in Otavalo
itself, so that you can walk to the market, but of course there are many more
for every taste and budget.
Chorlavi is one of the oldest and most
charming haciendas of all of Ecuador. It was awarded the most
popular hotel of Ecuador by Tripadvisor. It is located at about 20
minutes from Otavalo and in the center of all the tourism destinations of the
Imbabura province. An ideal location in an idyllic historical hotel if you want
to spend several days in the northern part of the country.
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