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Otavalo is a highland village in Ecuador, famous for its textile market and the beautiful traditional clothing worn by local women. It is also home to one of the largest traditional crafts markets in the world every saturday.
The Laguna Quicocha is 3-kilometre-wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of the Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes. At the main entrance of the park one can access the hike around the lagoon. It offers great views of the lagoon but as well of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. A complete walk takes about 4 hours or a bit more and is not very crowded, so a perfect place to enjoy nature.
Getting there is easy. Catch a bus at the terminal in Otavalo to Quiroga - not Cotacachi as the way from there is way longer and more expensive by taxi - and take a taxi or a camioneta from there to the park. It is recommended to arrange a pickup with your driver as normally no taxis or buses are at the place to just hop on. Especially when going with a bunch of people a camioneta (US1$ per person) is recommended.
The market, which operates to a limited extent all week, offering textile products mostly aimed at tourists, but really comes into its own on Saturdays. The Saturday market is actually 4 different markets that slowly melt together. The 4 markets are the crafts market, food market, consumer goods market and animal market. The crafts market is by far the most popular with tourists. You can barter for colourful textiles such as cushion covers, bags and weavings, and there are also all sorts of other souvenirs available, such as jewelry.
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Otavalo is approximately 2 hours north of Quito on the Panamerican Highway. Buses to Otavalo leave from the "Terminal Carcelen" in the North of Quito and disembark at a small bus terminal in Otavalo along Calle Atahualpa & Jacinto Collahuazo. The busride is US$2. If you come from Tulcan near the Colombian border, buses will probably drop you off at the Pan American highway. From there, it's only a 10-minute walk to the center. The "Otavalo" and "Las Lagos" bus companies running between Quito and Ibarra in the North of Otavalo will drop you off at the bus terminal in Otavalo. Outbound buses for Quito and Ibarra leave from the same terminal about every 15 minutes.
|Hostal Chasqui||Piedrahita 141||Guesthouse||82|
|Hostal Doña Esther||Juan Montalvo 444 y Bolivar||Guesthouse||86|
|Jatun Pacha Hostel||Av 31 de Octubre n.19, Panamericana||HOSTEL||-|
|Hosteria Rose Cottage||Mojandita||HOSTEL||76|
|Hostal La Luna||km 4 1/2 via Mojanda||Guesthouse||-|
|Chalet Sol - Otavalo||Cascada de Peguche Cantón||Guesthouse||-|
|Green House Araque Inn||Calle 24 de junio (comunidad Araque) San Pablo del Lago - Otavalo - Imbabura||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Refugio Terra Esperanza||Parroquia La Esperanza. Between Otavalo and Imbabu||HOSTEL||-|
|Otavalo Prince||Sucre 705 y Garcia Moreno||HOTEL||80|
See also International Telephone Calls
The centre of most towns, cities and villages have telephone 'shops', advertised in the street as 'cabinas'. Go in, ask for a free phone booth and call. There is usually a digital display giving the cost (per second) of your call, whether local, national or international. Some mobile phone SIM cards of various networks have problems working in Ecuador - you can purchase a local network SIM (for an unlocked phone) for a few dollars in local mobile phone shops.
Correos del Ecuador is the national postal service of Ecuador. It's fairly reliable to send postcards and letters to other countries, though count on at least 5 days up to weeks for it to arrive. In general, postal services to North America are much faster than to other western countries. Prices start at around $1 (up to 20 grams), but rise steeply after that. You can get stamps at post offices or small shops/kiosks. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays, although there are slight variations throughout the country. If you are going to send heavier post or post which has more value, it might be better to contact private courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, which are generally about the same price and much faster!
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