traveling latin america
Travel and tourism throughout Latin America.

Otavalo, Ecuador

While most come to Otavalo for its famous market, there are a variety of activities here to keep visitors busy.
Check out the cultural articles in our Puerto Rico section!

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Otavalo Market
Otavalo Market
Photo by Eva Schuster
Otavalo Market
If you're in Otavalo you absolutely must see the Otavalo Market, the oldest of its kind in Ecuador. For 4000 years the local population has been hauling their wares to Otavalo and setting up shop. Whether you're looking for authentic Ecuadorian handicrafts or kitschy tourist trinkets, this is the place to find them.  Thick alpaca wool sweaters, handwoven blankets, vegetables, saddles, rope, fedoras, straw bags, shirts and more are all for sale at this lively and colorful market.  This is Ecuador's second most popular tourist destination, after the Galapagos Islands.  

Cuicocha Lake
About a half hour ride from Otavalo is beautiful Cuicocha Lake.  The lake was formed thousands of years ago when a volcano erupted and its top collapsed, forming  a crater.  A trail winds around the lake - hike part way and turn back, or spend around 4 hours traveling all the way around Cuicocha.  

This tiny village located about 10 minutes by car from Otavalo is where some of the top weavers in Ecuador can be found.  This is a great opportunity to see how wool is spun and woven and to purchase high quality goods.

A 15 minute drive from Otavalo will bring you to the town of Cotacachi, leather heaven.  You did come to Otavalo to shop, after all.  Head to Avenida 10 de Agosto to browse the leather shops.

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