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A couple of hours north of Quito, the small town of Otavalo, nestling in amongst the surrounding hills and mountains, is famous for its bustling indigenous market, which dates back to pre-Inca times.

Known to be one of the most colourful and vibrant markets in Latin America, the stalls are spread over three main squares and spill over into the adjacent streets.

Traditional dress

Otavalen girlThe Otavalenos host the market in their distinctive traditional dress - the men sport calf-length white trousers, rope sandals and ponchos and wear their hair in ponytails; the women wear delicately embroidered blouses and dark skirts, long hair in swinging braids, and their wrists are adorned by red beads.

Barter for one of the many high-quality crafts and textiles on offer, or just soak up the atmosphere with a stroll around the market.

Visiting Otavalo

Getting a good feel for the town and market can be done in a day trip from Quito, but by far the best way to enjoy the market and the countryside around Otavalo is to stay in one of the charming haciendas nearby.

These colonial farming estates have been converted into secluded hotels with comfortable rooms, home-cooked food, and tranquil gardens full of grazing llama and exotic hummingbirds.

For those who love the great outdoors we can arrange walks by stunning crater lakes and through sleepy villages.

Speak to someone
who's been there

Audley Travel specialist Lauren

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Otavalo by contacting one of our Ecuador specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Otavalo

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Otavalo, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Otavalo

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Otavalo

    Accommodation choices for Otavalo

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Otavalo. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    • Junior Suite, Hacienda Zuleta

      Hacienda Zuleta

      Medium

      Zuleta is a beautiful working farm with plenty of outdoor activities. Although more remote than other haciendas in the Otavalo area the effort is worth it to see the Ecuadorian countryside in its full glory.

    • Hacienda Pinsaqui

      Hacienda Pinsaqui

      Medium

      This uniquely restored hacienda is full of charm. The rooms are comfortable and have a wonderfully rustic atmosphere.

    • Hacienda Cusin

      Hacienda Cusin

      Medium

      A welcoming retreat in a peaceful setting, looking over snow-capped mountains.

    • Standard room, Hacienda Piman

      Hacienda Piman

      Medium

      Dating back to 1680, Hacienda Piman is considered one of the oldest haciendas in Ecuador.

    Ideas for experiencing Otavalo

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Otavalo, and which use the best local guides.

    • Otavalen girl

      Otavalo Market

      Otavalo

      The market features a dazzling array of crafts, textiles and jewellery, all of which are of high quality and good value.