A highlands town with lots of charm
The one unmissable stop on any Otavalo tour is the Saturday market. Here you will find the most important and celebrated market in the Andes. It’s been going for centuries. Among the studios that specialise in leather, woodcarvings and weavings there will be a huge selection of handicrafts, and plenty of local delicacies to savour as you browse.
But, it’s the atmosphere and the people at the market that make it so memorable. Hundreds of indigenous people descend on Otavalo from the surrounding mountains. Dressed in traditional garb of embroidered white blouses and headscarves for the women, and felt hats and ponchos for the men, they barter and haggle with the local Otavaleños hawking their wares. This is an authentic and vivid slice of Andean culture to experience.
Even if you’re not here for the shopping, the region around Otavalo has much to recommend it. Natural attractions such as the Peguche waterfall and the Lagos de Mojanda are all within easy striking distance.
On your tailor-made Otavalo holiday you can stay in beautifully restored haciendas that provide a vivid window into Ecuadorian history, and from which guided horse-riding and trekking tours can be arranged.