Otavalo Travel Guide

  • Market in Otavalo
    Market in Otavalo
    by MalenaN
  • Market in Otavalo
    Market in Otavalo
    by MalenaN
  • Market in Otavalo
    Market in Otavalo
    by MalenaN

Otavalo Things to Do

  • Visit the market

    There are markets in every Ecuadorean town, small or large, so what is so special about Otavalo? Well, for one thing, its size. It has to be one of the largest markets not just in Ecuador but possibly in South America – at least on a Saturday, the principal market day, when not only the Plaza de Ponchos is jammed with those selling and those...

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  • Otavalo Market

    Otavalo Saturday market is said to be the larges handicraft market in South America with lots of craftsmen coming to town to sell their goods. Already since pre-Incan times there has been a market here. For centuries the Otavaleños has been known for their high quality weaving. Handmade leather goods and wood work are also produced in surrounding...

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  • El Parque Condor

    The condor park is an educational facility and a rehabilitation center for condors and other birds from the Americas. The private 30-acre park is on Pukara Alto, a pre-Colombian site, just a few miles from Otavalo. The unpaved road leaves a lot to be desired, but it is worth the effort to get there.Visitors follow a marked path leading past all of...

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  • Rodrigo Mora, Zulaytur, Excellent...

    There is an anthropologist who runs an extraordinary tourist guiding service in Otavalo. His name is Rodrigo Mora. His company is Zulaytur. His office is on the second floor at the corner of Colon and Sucre streets. He can take you to surrounding villages, into the homes of Indian families where they make hats, sweaters, weavings, and other crafts...

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  • Central Plaza and surroundings

    There is more to Otavalo than the market! Check out the Central Plaza and the surrounding buildings. There is a large bust of Ruminahui, an Inca general (and brother of King Atahualpa) in the Central Plaza. He hid a lot of the Inca gold to keep it from the Spanish, and people are still running around the Andes looking for it.There is a nice church...

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  • Grand Marketplace

    Otavalo is renowned for its marketplace, and it is well worth the praise. This huge indigenous market caters to all sorts of people, from tourists to locals. It contains crafts of any shape and form you can imagine... textiles, ceramics, paintings, jewelry, musical instruments, toys, some antiques, and more. In addition, there is a food market,...

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  • Colorful Handicrafts

    The market is full of color, and is a good place for buying local handicrafts, but be prepared for a long bargain sesion, Otavalo´s indians are experts in that art.

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  • Otavalo Market

    Otavalo town is famous for its market, saturday is the best day to visit it. The indians from the nearest villas come to town to sell their handicrafts. There are hundreds of stalls selling handicrafts around the Plaza del Poncho.

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  • VOLCAN IMBABURA

    Imbabura Volcano is the towering volcano you see as you walk along Lago de San Pablo.The slopes of and areas around Imbabura are very fertile. You can observe many farms growing maize, sugarcane, and beans.Standing at 4,630m, it is nearly always enshrouded in clouds. If you are those who come to Ecuador to climb every volcano, you certain can do...

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Otavalo Hotels

See all 11 Hotels in Otavalo
  • Coraza

    Abdon Calderon and Sucre (CORNER), Otavalo, Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Cusin

    The Hacienda Cusin is just outside Otavalo, at the foot of the Imbabura Volcano. It was built in...

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  • La Luna

    Piedrahita y M Suarez Sts, Otavalo, Ecuador

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

Otavalo Restaurants

  • Excellent juices, and a view to go with...

    In need of refreshment and a sit-down after an hour or so of wandering around the market, we looked for somewhere where we might also get a view of the action, and found it at the Buena Vista, which lived up to its name! We climbed the stairs to the first floor room which is quite cosy – lots of wood, a small library of travel guides to browse, and...

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  • Mi Otavalito

    Before going back to Quito I decided to have lunch and went to the restaurant Mi Otavalito. There I ordered the traditional plate Llapingachos de Otavalito. Llapingachos are fried, mashed potato patties with a cheese filling. Other things on the plate were avocado, a salad of tomatoes and onion, some kind of meat, fried eggs and mote (boiled white...

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  • Fruit salads at the market

    I saw a women and her daughter that were selling fruit salads at the market and the fruit salads in the big mugs they had on the table in front of them looked very yummy, so I bought one for $1 (June 2011). It was a mix of watermelon, mango, papaya and pineapple in the mug and the fresh tropical fruits of course tasted very well.When I had paid I...

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  • Food stands at the bus terminal

    I had not bought a lot to eat at Carcelen in Quito and was still hungry when I arrived in Otavalo. The first thing I saw at the terminal was that there were several food stands on the south eastern side. I went over to Papitas de Doña Carmita and bought some chicken and French fries in a small bag. It was very greasy, but tasted good. For the...

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  • Yamor

    Traditional food from this region of Ecuador.My cousins that live in Otavalo brought me to this place and it was delicious. I wanted traditional food and they said this is the best place for traditional food. We had fritada which is fried meat, llapingachos which is a fried potato like pancake with cheese, mote which is hominy and we had empanads...

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  • LOCAL MARKET

    I normally take a peek at the local market to see if there is anything interesting.The Mercado 24 de Mayo has a section where they serve lunch for about US$1 with rice, a piece of meat and some salad. There are many stalls to choose from, but I reckon they are all more or less the same. I supposed just follow the locals and join them at the most...

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Otavalo Transportation

  • To Otavalo by car

    We came to Otavalo by car, having pre-booked a day’s excursion to here and to Mitad del Mundo before leaving home, thinking that this would be not the cheapest but the most efficient way to fit several of the major sights near Quito into just one day of our limited time there. We were very pleased with the arrangement as we had an excellent guide...

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  • From Quito to Otavalo and back

    Before coming to Quito I had read that buses to Otavalo leaves from Terminal Carcelen, in the far north of Quito. To know how to get there I asked for direction. Someone told me to take the bus to La Y and from there take another bus to Carcelen. When I left in the morning they told me at my hotel to take the yellow Metrobus from La Marín to Ofelia...

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  • Otavalo by bus (on your own)

    Getting to and from Otavalo is fairly simple, you can do it yourself. Take the bus from the Terminal Terrestre (confirm with your hotel that the bus to Otavalo departs from here) -- your taxi driver will take you outside the terminal, and you will catch the bus on the sidewalk. Buses are frequent, but you should go early so you can have plenty of...

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Otavalo Shopping

See all 16 Shopping in Otavalo
  • What we bought here

    While I always like to bring back a souvenir or two from our travels, neither Chris nor I see shopping as a major holiday activity, and we hadn’t expected to buy a lot at Otavalo, being more interested in taking photos of the activity than participating in it. However a number of things did catch my eye and I couldn’t resist making a few purchases....

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  • The Market

    The Otavalo market has been in existence, in the same location, for centuries. It was there even before the Incas came. The Otavalo Indians are noted for their weaving, and many of them had booths at the market filled with rugs, scarves and sweaters. The market also had food vendors, jewelry, beaded belts, embroidered dresses, Panama hats, noise...

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  • Get more for your money

    They say that the best day to go shopping in Otavalo is Saturday when the Plaza de Ponchos is full. I think the opposite. The Plaza de Ponchos is busy everyday and you can find everything that you see on Saturdays any day of the week. The Plaza de Ponchos is so large now on Saturdays that it even spills into the streets. But you will start to see...

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Otavalo Local Customs

  • Otavalan dress

    As I wandered around the market stalls taking my photos I began to realise that all the women were dressed in a similar style, rather different from the indigenous people I had seen in Quito. This is the traditional dress of the Otavaleña. It consists of white blouses, with coloured embroidery (usually of flowers) and flared lace sleeves, worn with...

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  • Fritada llapingachos and mote

    Fritada is pork and its cut into cubes and fried with onion and other spices. It is a popular dish in Imbabura. LLapingachos are like a potato pancake, cheese inside and fried lightly.

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  • El Lechero

    My cousins took me up to this famous spot. It is on the way to the Condor Park. The Lechero is a very very old tree. They say its hundred of years old. Local shaman come here too because there is a certain positive energy found here. It is located on a hill that overloks the Lago San Pablo and there is also a couple of legends here. The first one...

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Otavalo Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch out for pick pockets

    Over all Otavalo doesnt have alot of violent crime. It is also much safer here than it is in Quito or Guayaquil. We walked around at night with absolutely no problem. What you do have to watch out for is when there are large crowds because when you least expect it you might be missing something. Dont take your money out in public and use common...

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  • You can't always be kind.

    When I went to the market in Otavalo I was overwhelmed by the number of beggars. It got a little scary at one point when I had 3 people literally hanging onto my arms asking for money. They won't hesitate to pull at your clothes and follow you. And if they see you give money they will be much more persistent.As heartless as I feel saying it you...

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  • Otavalo Hotels

    11 Hotels in Otavalo

    1 Reviews

Otavalo Off The Beaten Path

  • Cotacachi

    If you’re visiting Otavalo independently, or with a flexible guide, and especially if you’re not all shopped-out (!), you might consider going on to Catacachi afterwards. We came here for lunch (which was included in our tour price) after a morning spent in the market. The town is known throughout Ecuador for its leather work, on items such as...

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  • Cuicocha Lake

    Cuicocha Lake is in the crater of an extinct volcano that last erupted 3000 years ago. It fell in on itself, and the dome makes a big island in the middle of the lake. During the solstice the natives go to the middle of the lake to make offerings. (According to our native guide, it means Lake of the Gods, NOT Guinea Pig Lake as some of the...

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  • Peguche Waterfall

    The Peguche Waterfall is considered to be one of the most important ritual places for the indigenous people in Northern Ecuador. This sacred waterfall is the site of an annual bathing ritual during the summer solstice festival of Inti Raymi.A winding path with interpretive signs guides visitors through a eucalyptus forest to the Cascada de Peguche....

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Otavalo Sports & Outdoors

  • malianrob's Profile Photo

    by malianrob Written May 10, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Of course the game of choice here is soccer or futbol. I had a chance to watch a game and I blew it. I totally forgot that I got invited and I took off with one of my cousins somewhere. I y=think it would have been a great experience here. Well, maybe next time.

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Otavalo Favorites

  • Go the day before market day and stay...

    We took the bus to Otavalo the day before market day, so the bus was very quiet and so was the market, which gave us time to buy the stuff we wanted (at lower prices than on market day). The actual market day the whole town gets tranformed into a market and as we stayed the night we were at the market before most of the other tourists arrived. This...

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  • Cock Fight!

    We stumbled upon this cockfight on our way out of Otavalo. We had passed "the venue" earlier, but some guy was charging a cover charge, so we ignored it. On our way back, however, there was no one at the door, and we saw all these guys going in there, and decided to follow. Much to our surprise, it was a cockfight! Filled with locals, mostly men,...

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  • THE MARKET

    If you arrive at the market at 6:30 am you will notice that there is an absence of men at the stalls. Most of the men arrive at the market at 4:00 am to bring in the livestock and then sell the livestock . Then they go on a drinking bing . By noon you can see them passed out on the sides of the roads .

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Explore Deeper into Otavalo
Musician's Workshop--Peguche
Off The Beaten Path
See Beautiful Raptors
Off The Beaten Path
CASCADAS DE PEGUCHE
Things to Do
LAGO DE SAN PABLO
Things to Do
PLAZA DE PONCHOS
Things to Do
La Virgen de Monserat
Things to Do
Arbol de las caras/rostros
Things to Do
Laguna Yaguarcocha
Off The Beaten Path
Cotacachi
Off The Beaten Path
Lago Cuicocha
Off The Beaten Path
El Corazon de Imbabura/Heart of Imbabura
Local Customs
Cleaning of the city at night
Local Customs
Lago San Pablo
Things to Do
Otavalo has a new mayor
Local Customs
More Condor Park
Off The Beaten Path
Parque del Condor/Condor Park
Off The Beaten Path
Iglesia San Luis
Things to Do
Otavalo Saturday Market
Things to Do
More good Food
Restaurants
Simple good food
Restaurants
Dama de Amor
Local Customs
The Festivals
Local Customs
Cascadas de Peguche
Things to Do
The Main Market
Things to Do
Plaza de Ponchos
Things to Do
It's fun to bargain
Shopping
Making change makes life easier
Local Customs
The indiginous culture
Local Customs
Plaza de Ponchos
Local Customs
Gifts galore
Shopping
The waterfall in Peguche
Off The Beaten Path
The freakin' huge market
Things to Do
Peguche
Off The Beaten Path
Nice Ecuadorian restaurant
Restaurants
The lakes around - Les lagunes autour
Off The Beaten Path
The Animal Market
Things to Do
Family Owned Pizzeria with Live Music
Restaurants
Beads for Sale at Otavalo Saturday Market
Shopping
Otavalo
Favorites
Saturday Market
Favorites
Map of Otavalo

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