of the Traveler's Choice for all of South America!
Otavalo Indian Market
At a road distance of ą100km from Quito, the Otavalo
Indian Market is located in the Andes of
Ecuador, at an elevation of 2600 masl, slightly lower than the the nation's
capital. 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'
Ecuador's capital, 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
If you can't make it to Otavalo, we recommend you go in Quito to the Mercado de
Artesanías El Mariscal, in the Calle Juan Leon Mera & Jorge Washington and for
better quality products to Productos Andinos on the corner of Callle Urbina &
Cordero. For more information, read:
Art and Craft in Ecuador.
Other Indian market towns
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
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 hotel en Otavalo in 30 -
45 minute rides. Ask us for details.
The 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,
Much of daily life in Otavalo plays right before your eyes in the streets. It is
such a hospitable and friendly community.
"Nightlife in Otavalo"
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.
Enchanting traditional music and friendly "nightlife" in Otavalo is a lifetime
The Town of Otavalo
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. However, don't
expect to find historical buildings of the grandeur of Quito and Cuenca. Otavalo
most and for all is the center of the present day Indian craft and art. Just a
small rural town half a century ago, one will also not find any important
Top: The city hall of Otavalo; bottom left: The Jordan Church; bottom right: San
Great Otavalo Hotels at a great price
Economical clean and charming bed and breakfasts or "posadas"(hostals) are
available in Otavalo. We know where to find them so you can feel at home in this
Esther is our favorite place for if you want to stay in Otavalo itself, so
that you can just stroll to the market, but of course there are many more
hostals 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 the Otavalo Indian Market 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