Even though Otavalo is a nice town by itself, surrounded by beautiful mountains, most of the tourists (but also locals) come just to see a spectacular Saturday market. And it’s definitely worth the one day trip from Quito!
Although the largest market is on Saturday, you can still find many vendors selling mainly their weaving textiles (most of it made from wool) around Plaza de los Ponchos every day of the week. But Saturdays are just huge. The whole town center becomes one big market and stalls are lined up along every street (sometimes in 3 to 5 lines). Vendors sell pretty much everything, but the influence of tourism and orientation on tourists is very visible. So you can buy all kinds of woolen clothes, mainly ponchos, sweaters and scarfs, but also blankets, any all kinds of jewelry you wish for. Small part of the market is also dedicated to food. Yes, that’s the part we always enjoy the most. Before we left Otavalo and headed north to Colombia, we just had to have our last lunch in Ecuador – what else than Michal’s favourite chanchito (pork).
But from the beginning. We wanted to visit also an animal market, which takes place only on Saturdays. We met our friends Lori and Eric (oh yeah, again) already at 7 AM in our hostel lobby. It might seem very early, but when we got on the street we could already see people going from the market with their catch – mostly sacks of guinea pigs or chicken, but also one woman with a goat on her back.
The market is just outside the town center and you can see farmers selling their cows, pigs, but also smaller animals like chickens, guinea pigs and even dogs there (no, those are not for eating, hopefully).
On the way back to a hostel we just quickly checked the ingenious market, said goodbye to our American friends (for the third and unfortunately last time) and went to pack up our stuff. We managed everything with a little time to return to the market and eat our chanchito.
And that was the end of our ecuadorian adventure. Shortly after noon we caught a bus going further north to colombian border. But that’s another story…