The Otavalo Market is a bargain hunter's (or a tightwad's) paradise! The market is in the Plaza Centenario or "Plaza de los Ponchos". The market is open every day, but on Saturdays the market extends to many nearby streets. They sell handicrafts of leather, wood, tagua, jewelry, and handmade textiles made by local natives. My first Saturday in Ecuador, I did Christmas shopping for most of my family and friends there and spent a grand total of about $50. This should be a shopping tip, but it is really more of a cultural experience everybody who visits the Quito area must try. At these markets, you really get a chance to get up close and personal with the local culture. Most of the vendors only speak Spanish and many are pre-European natives. Also, you must haggle with these vendors to get a good price. I did well at this by pretending to give up on them and start to walk off. At the very worst, they will meet you halfway between their price and what you have in mind if you play the game right. Everything from clothes and jewelry to produce is made (or grown) locally. So, you know you are getting a good product for a fraction of what you would pay in Quito some 90 km. (56 miles) away.
Abdon Calderon and Sucre (CORNER), Otavalo, Ecuador
Good for: Couples
Cotacachi Imbabura, Cotacachi, EC
Good for: Business
The Hacienda Cusin is just outside Otavalo, at the foot of the Imbabura Volcano. It was built in...more