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Otavalo Tours

Set in a valley in the northern Andes, Otavalo is right at the top of any Ecuador travelers must see list, famous throughout South America for its weekly market where one can find an overwhelming variety of Andean crafts. It is reportedly the biggest of its kind in Latin America. Every Saturday from about 8 am., the local craftsmen pour into the town and unfold their wares in the Plaza the Ponchos and surrounding streets, the whole area exploding into a kaleidoscope of colorful rugs, clothes, paintings and other crafts. There is also an animal market early on Saturday mornings which is worth a visit.

During the week, Otavalo is a sleepy little town. Architecturally, it is mainly modern, although there are a few colonial buildings left, mainly at the southern end of town around the Plaza Bolivar. There are also a couple of museums that are worth a peek including the instituto Otavaleno do Antropología.

The otavalenos have been logn renowned for their weaving skills, and over the last couple of decades have become the most successful indigenous group on the continent, thanks to the growing popularity of their weekly craft market. Although most still live up in the hills around the townm and wear traditional clothing, this doesn’t mean they are poor.

Otavalo Indigenous Market full day tour

:: 1 days ::
Just an hour and a half north of Quito lie the lush volcanic highlands. This land is rich in friendly and colorfully attired indigenous people, historic working haciendas, and towering volcanoes with verdant slopes. Our destination is the Otavalo Indian craft market. As we pass into the highlands, we’re treated to a sweeping view of Imbabura and Cotacachi Volcanoes rising above San Pablo Lake.

Our first stop is Calderon where they make bread dough figures as part of a big tradition of the country. Then its on to the Otavalo market, which dates back thousands of years and is famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries.

Lunch will be served at one of the local haciendas built between the 17th and 18th centuries with a typical Andean ambience. After lunch we’ll visit the village of Peguche where native weavers demonstrate their craft, as they have for centuries. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Price includes:

  • Full day tour
  • English speaking guide driver
  • Lunch at Colonial Hacienda
  • Snacks and water
  • Transfers in a private car with a certified Ecuadorian guide

Otavalo two days tour

:: DAY 1::
Take a two day tour to the towns andvolcanic valleys north of Quito. See Ecuador the way the Ecuadorians see it. 90 km north of Quito, you will discover the largest and most interesting of the Indian markets in all of South America –the Otavalo Indian market.

Start off with a tour to the archaeological site named Cochasqui, where this pre-inca culture had already discovered that this area was located at the equator - at the middle of the world. Then take the back roads for a drive through green beautiful valleys behind the imposing, Imbabura Volcano. Your drive ends at Zuleta where you will see the ornate embroidered costumes of the indigenous people from this area. You can then visit one of their workshops and see their work in progress! En route, you will be provided a delicious box lunch with the opportunity to sit down for a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery of this valley.

In the afternoon, visit the town of Peguche, an Indian village, to learn about native lifestyles and observe farmers working in their fields…and also weaving in their homes. First on the way is a visit to NANDA MANACHI, a musical workshop, to meet Jose Pichamba, Master of the Band, creating Andean instruments. First see the instruments being made, then experience a short performance in his home nearby. Following this, your tour takes you to the house of Jose Cotacachi. Jose is considered the very best weaver in the area and you will have the opportunity to see him working in his loom, and creating beautiful wall hangings with his unique designs.

Overnight: at Hacienda Cusin or Pinsaqui.

:: DAY 2::
This day takes you to Cotacachi – Cayapas National Park, to thrill at the beautiful paramos ( the ecosystem of the Andes ).

Follow on to the lake of Cuicocha. From here, you will be able to hike in this area where your guide will explain the flora and fauna of this location.

After your hike, take a brief visit to Cotacahi (the leather town ) and then continue on to Otavalo. At Otavalo, the Otavalo Indians have created a splendid open air market, where you have the rest of the morning to buy or barter for handicrafts with the locals.

Lunch is provided at a fine Ecuadorian restaurant located on the Shore of San Pablo Lake. In the afternoon return to your hotel in Quito.
Note: A visit of a rose plantation may be arranged along the way – time permitting.

Price includes

  • Two days - full day tours with hiking and shopping
  • English speaking guide driver – certified Ecuadorian guides
  • Lunch and diner on the first day
  • Breakfast and lunch on the second day
  • Accommodations in an Ecuadorian Hacienda for one night
  • Transfers hotel / Otavalo / hotel in a private car.
  • Entrance fee to Cotacachi Ecological Reserve.
  • Snacks and water.

Horse back riding available under request.

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