Otavalo, vibrant open-air market in the Andes

Otavalo, vibrant open-air market in the Andes – Ecuador

A perfect day trip departing from Quito includes a visit to the charming town of Otavalo. It´s one of the nicest open-air markets in South America, where the friendly indigenous inhabitants called Otavalos offer diverse handicrafts.

For me, every trip to this city nestled in the heart of the Andes, 2 hours north of Quito, provides me with a myriad of opportunities to take some pictures of the stunning colorful landscapes of the people, traditions, and nature along the Andes Cordillera.

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Where to stay

Start your trip by booking a night´s stay at one of the lovely haciendas outside Otavalo, like the charming colonial manor house Hacienda Pinsaquí.  I love this charming quiet hideaway located 5km from town, offering history, spacious rooms, and excellent service.

Another option is to join Airbnb for free!  In addition to renting local, unique accommodation you can get $38 off your first adventure if you join here before November.

You can find some other great places to stay in Otavalo or o if you want to make this a day trip from Quito, here are some great places to stay in Quito.

Otavalo Carmen Cristina Carpio Tobartavalo Cris Carpio 01 08 (20)

Otavalo Carmen Cristina Carpio Tobar

Book a tour

A day tour to Otavalo is a wonderful way to get the most not only of Otavalo, but also of the area and avoid the hassle and stress of planning transportation and logisitcs. Here are some tour options for you.


About Otavalo

This town with approx. 90.000 inhabitants is located in the heart of the Andes and offers a great opportunity to learn about the traditions of this indigenous group.

The two-hour drive North from Quito, will allow you to admire the gorgeous landscapes of the Highlands.


Plaza de Ponchos

You can even find a small market offering fresh produce.


Traditional costumes

The Otavalos belong to one of the main groups of indigenous people in the highlands of Ecuador and one of their characteristics is that they have been careful about preserving their traditional costume consisting of blue ponchos and white trousers for men, and long dark skirts with a faja (woven belt), worn together with beautifully embroidered blouses.  Both men and women wear alpargatas (open sandals)

If you have more than a day in the city, then hire a registered cab to bring you to the amazing Peguche waterfall, a short walk through a fragrant Eucalyptus forest will bring you to this captivating waterfall.

Have you been to Otavalo? What kind of souvenirs did you get?
Otavalo, vibrant open-air market in the Andes

If you want more in-depth information and also a guide that you can bring along during your trip, I recommend the travel guide Lonely Planet Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands.

This is a great source of information and tips, maps and all you need if you plan on visiting Ecuador. I personally like the option of having a hard copy version where I can take notes and have at hand.

Don´t just dream it, make it happen. Plan your South American trip with a local!

Take a look at this list of travel resources to plan your trip and travel in South America.

Day dreaming about your trip to South America? Order here your Free Ebook, I share with you some useful tips & resources for a memorable trip!

I invite you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. In addition, you can subscribe on YouTube.

You can also send an email to get help planning your trip: info(at) visitecuadorandsouthamerica(dot)com









Otavalo, vibrant open-air market in the Andes

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