Take a visit to Otavalo, an Andean city brimming with life and culture! Part of the excitement of traveling to Ecuador is exploring the handiwork crafted by local artisans. There is no better place to see and purchase local arts, crafts, and clothing than at the markets in the small town of Otavalo. The markets here are known worldwide for the handiwork of their indigenous people.
The Otavalos indigenous population are economically one of the most successful indigenous group of Latin America. They travel the world selling their handicrafts and playing in Andean Folk music groups. You can easily recognize them by their traditional dress that involves white pants and a dark poncho for men. Women will wear a dark skirt, white blouse with colorful embroidery, and a colorful waistband.
Otavalo is less than 2 hours from Quito, and the drive includes beautiful landscapes and lakes. You can also stop at the Quitsato Mitad del Mundo Monument, the world’s most accurate sundials that marks the exact equatorial line. The monument also has a Solar Culture Museum with audio-visual exhibitions of the area’s geography, astronomy, and history.
While in Otavalo, spend a Saturday in the city’s Plaza de Ponchos, a weekly market offering a broad array of jewelry, wood and stone carvings, as well as woven clothing. Experience the home of the famous Otavalos and purchase a souvenir to take the culture home with you!