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Travel Guide South America Ecuador Otavalo



Otavalo Market 6

Otavalo Market 6

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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.



Sights and Activities

Laguna Quicocha

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.

Otavalo Market

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.

Animal Market in Otavalo

Animal Market in Otavalo

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The animal market starts around 5:30am every Saturday morning and is a must see. This animal market feels like a step back in time with cows, pigs, goats and lamas everywhere! It is a photographers dream come true.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Peguche Waterfall
  • Imbabura Mountain
  • San Pablo Lake
  • Museo del Pueblo Kichwa



Getting There

By Bus

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 ChasquiPiedrahita 141Guesthouse82
Hostal Doña EstherJuan Montalvo 444 y BolivarGuesthouse86
Jatun Pacha HostelAv 31 de Octubre n.19, PanamericanaHOSTEL-
Hosteria Rose CottageMojanditaHOSTEL75
Hostal La Lunakm 4 1/2 via MojandaGuesthouse-
Chalet Sol - OtavaloCascada de Peguche CantónGuesthouse-
Green House Araque InnCalle 24 de junio (comunidad Araque) San Pablo del Lago - Otavalo - ImbaburaGUESTHOUSE-
Refugio Terra EsperanzaParroquia La Esperanza. Between Otavalo and ImbabuHOSTEL-
Otavalo PrinceSucre 705 y Garcia MorenoHOTEL79



Keep Connected


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!


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 0.233333
  • Longitude: -78.266667

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This is version 18. Last edited at 1:54 on May 24, 13 by sleepBot. 1 article links to this page.

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