Otavalo Travel Guide

Browse 16 travel reviews, 28 travel blogs and 816 travel photos from real travelers to Otavalo.

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Otavalo Overview


Otavalo is a largely indigenous town in Imbabura Province, Ecuador, well known for its huge Saturday market. This market days is touted to be the largest inb South America. The town, which is in a valley, is surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura, Cotacachi, and Mojanda volcanoes.

The Indians of Otavalo are famous for the weaving of textiles, which has a 400 year history. The Saturday market draws both locals and tourist to a great event. The town has an expansive market and although main market day is Saturday, in the Plaza del Poncho there are wares available for tourists throughout the week. Early morning sees the trading of livestock.

Otavalo was traditionally an area made up principally of farming communities but with the growth of tourism has begun to focus more on the handycrafts. Tourism had become the town's main industry and as a result many hotels have been set up in colonial buildings and in the spectacular surroundings as well as a number of restaurants.

As Otavalo is famous for its textiles, many of the nearby villages and towns are famous for their own particular crafts. Cotacachi, the center of Ecuador's leather industry, is known for its polished calf skins and leather products.. In San Antonio, where the local specialty is wood carving, the main street prominently displays carved statues, picture frames, and furniture.

Also of note, Otavalo is also known for its Inca-influenced traditional music and musicians. There are many musical groups currently traveling around the world promoting Inca music (sometimes known as Andean New Age). This style of music has had notable commercial success worldwide

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