Otavalo’s Saturday Market

I was really looking forward to Otavalo’s saturday market. I had read somewhere that its South America’s largest outdoor market and boy, its huge. There are rows and rows of stalls spread out across the entire town on Saturdays, filled with tourists of all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Bargaining doesnt work well at all and I suspect this is due to most tourists paying whats asked for. Stalls sell really beautiful scarves, beaded jewelry, purses and bags of all shapes and sizes

Getting there:

We went to the Otavalo from Tulcan at the Colombia-Ecuador border. Cross the border at Ipiales and arrive on Ecuadorian side. Get a collective for 75 cents to Tulcan. From the Tulcan bus stop, a bus to Otavalo will cost approximately $3 for a 3 hour ride. Pay the fare after you see the bus and make sure it looks okay. As you approach the bus stop, you will be approached by bus company agents asking you if Otavalo is your destination.

Stay:

In Otavalo, we stayed at Hostal Valle Del Amanecer on Calle Roca y Quiroga. Its a nice little place with clean bathrooms, no kitchen, good breakfast and a shaded central courtyard to sit and relax. Saturday is the best day to experience the market and the animal market (which we did not get to see). Go prepared with plenty of change and will power – you’ll need it if you dont want to shop too much.

Otavalo is home to a successful indigenous community who still pride on their traditional ways. You’ll find otavalenos wearing traditional clothing, super cool bead jewelry and travelling in really modern cars. Multiple strings of golden beads are really common:

Stalls selling really beautiful and colorful art:
Not just home decor, but also incredibly fresh looking produce:

Irresistible pink cheeked babies:

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