Nestled in a valley at the foot of a volcano, Otavalo is a highland community of indigenous locals famed for their weaving skills and colorful textiles. The local people (Otavaleños) who sell their wares at the daily market, wear traditional clothing and have maintained their culture, costume and identity.
Saturday is the main market day in Otavalo but a weekday visit will be less hectic and provide more opportunity for some serious browsing. Within the market you’ll find traditional crafts, brightly-colored textiles and traditional weaving designs plus some musical instruments and carvings.
Even if souvenir shopping isn't your thing, Otavalo market is a popular day trip from Quito, and a visit to Otavalo and the surrounding area is a window into the world of some of the more traditional indigenous peoples of Ecuador.
The trip was very varied and interesting. The guide (Javier) and driver (Patricio) were both excellent. The trip goes to a variety of sites all with something different to see.
I found it a little difficult to get an answer about the pick up time but that worked out fine in the end. The lunch venue was fine and we didn't choose the pre paid lunch option and were able to choose our own lunch.
This was really a sight to see! I have been to many flea markets in the U.S., but this one was the largest. Quality of the merchandise was really good, too. Afterwards, we went to a nice place for lunch at very reasonable prices with entertainment included.
Esteban was a great tour guide. I like the explanation of the Otavalo dress. The restaurant in Cocatahatchi was very good.
Some visitors opt for an overnight stay in Otavalo as there are plenty of natural attractions nearby and opportunities to visit traditional craft villages. If you are traveling independently and planning an overnight stay, you will need to book in advance on the weekend when the market is at its busiest.
Otavalo market is about 2 hours by bus from the Terminal Terrestre Carcelen in Quito’s north. Alternatively tours are easily arranged in Quito.