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An update from Evaneos

Otavalo and its most wonderful markets

The country is renowned for its typical, authentic markets. During your holiday in Ecuador you'll find, in the small town of Otavalo, the most incredible of all. Definitely not to be missed.

Getting to Otavalo

It only takes an hour and a half by bus to get from the capital, Quito, to the little town of ’Otavalo , at 2850 metres, about 9300 feet, in altitude. What makes Otalavo famous, along with the rest of the country, are its fabulous markets. To experience the most beautiful, most typical, most authentic, biggest and most incredible markets ever, you must come to Otavalo. The market is held every day but you must come on a Saturday. This is the most amazing day, when the livestock market attracts more visitors. So that you don't miss this fantastic spectacle, it's best to arrive on Friday evening, stay the night and get up early on Saturday morning.

On the livestock market

The livestock market

You need to get up at 6am if you don't want to miss even the tiniest bit of the market. Off to see the most amazing market in Latin America, or even the world! There, that says it all. You'll find yourself face to face with the whole kaleidoscope of Ecuador, all concentrated into one place. The Indians are just superb in their traditional costumes. The women wear navy blue flared skirts with lace bodices. The men aren't left out on the costume front either. It's a really handsome parade. A photographers' paradise. Here at the livestock market the show just goes on and on. A man leads a pig on a lead. It squeals as hard as it can. They haggle over cows, bullocks, chickens, horses, all sorts... everything on the farm is for sale. In a box, adorable puppies await their new masters. A lady plunges her hand into a big jute sack and pulls out a guinea-pig by the scruff of its neck. It's called a "cuy" and it's considered a delicacy here. A man parades about with pride, holding his champion in his arms. It's a fighting cock that he pampers like a newborn baby. Incredible! A pig so tall that it's up to shoulder height on its owner. You can wander around the market for hours admiring all the wonderful sights and sounds. It's a treat just to be here.

La Plaza de los Ponchos

You can leave behind all the shouting, squealing and mooing and go to the Poncho market in the famous Plaza de los Ponchos. Here you can equip yourself ready for even the coldest days that the Andean climate has in store for you. Or simply keep up with the local fashion. You can try on some ponchos, jumpers, hats, gloves and scarves. You're sure to fall for whichever suits you best but don't forget to negotiate the price as firmly as you can. So in one morning you'll have experienced the very best market in the country. Judge for yourself whether it's also the best in the world.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 9 October 2015