The Otavalo markets are among the most famous in South America, with colorful stalls full of textiles, crafts, arts, local produce, and Panama hats. The town of Otavalo is reached by traveling north from the capital city of Quito, through the Andes Mountains, and many people come specifically for the market. The biggest market day is Saturday, meaning that many travelers arrive on the Friday and wake up early to see the market in full swing.
It’s possible to stay a few extra days in the area as well—while the town is best known as the largest handicraft market on the continent, many travelers aren’t aware of all the other activities on offer in or nearby Otavalo. Beyond the Otavalo Indian Market, days can spend horseback riding through the mountains, enjoying water sports on the nearby lake, or learning about local cuisine at an eco lodge in the mountains. More than just a day trip from Quito, Otavalo will offer an immersion into local indigenous culture.
Otavalo markets are more than just a place to sell handicrafts; they are also a social occasion for indigenous people. This market is the one time a week that many people gather from individual villages to trade and socialize. Besides being a fantastic introduction to produce, weaving, jewelry, and pottery, visitors will also be at the center of the social event of the week.
A few words of Spanish or the local language will help you to secure a discount on your purchases. Bargaining is the norm here, so before you attempt this art be sure to watch the locals around you. Learning from their tactics is a smart way to get the best possible price on your purchases. From woolen sweaters to ponchos to rugs, you will find a stunning range of textiles in every color of the rainbow at this Otavalo Indian Market.