Explore the beauty of Otavalo
The small mountain town of Otavalo is perhaps most renowned because of the famous market that has been established here. People from all over the world come to see the striking array of hand crafted goods that are available in this local market every year. What makes the market so special? Well, none of the hand crafted goods available here are commercialized versions of true original Ecuadorian crafts. Instead, they are diverse originals that hold their own and this can be seen in their elegance and timeless appeal. The inhabitants of Otavalo pride themselves on their clever business skills and their ability to continue to make a living from their crafting skills.
The town of Otavalo is, in itself, not terribly entertaining. One thing that is nice to see is the Indians dressed in their traditional garb. Now and then, you might see a mother carrying her child on her back – or perhaps a chicken – as she makes her way around the village. The sleepy houses take a sort of scattered appearance and there is a very dominant traditional feel to things. Perhaps it is the high elevation and resulting isolation that has helped to keep the traditional culture here so strong. Then again, perhaps it is the reliance on this culture to make a living that has kept tradition firmly in its place. Whatever the case, Otavalo has a truly unique feel that is quite unlike most other Ecuadorian towns.
On arrival here, you will likely check into your Otavalo hotel and head straight for the market. You might not be looking to purchase livestock or vegetables here, but these goods are readily available since the market does not only cater to tourists. Most visitors are more drawn to the colorful displays of woven yarns – a delightful array of jerseys, rugs, blankets and other goods. Ponchos and Panama hats are also popular, as are hammocks, jewelry and woven tapestries depicting local scenes. The market was only really developed in the 1960s and proved to be such a great success that people from all over the country now come here to sell their goods.
So even if you have just come to Ecuador for sightseeing or a short holiday, be sure to include this little village in your plans. No trip would be complete without a little shopping in Otavalo. It's the best place for souvenirs and original hand made crafts in the country.