A couple of hours north of Quito, the small town of Otavalo, nestling in among 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 colorful and vibrant markets in Latin America, the stalls are spread over three main squares and spill over into the adjacent streets.
The 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.
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.
Suggested itinerary featuring Otavalo
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Otavalo, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Otavalo
Places & hotels on the map
Photos of 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.
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.
The market features a dazzling array of crafts, textiles and jewelry, all of which are of high quality and good value.View details