Otavalo – A small town with a huge market

The town of Otavalo has supposedly one of the biggest and best markets in South America every Saturday so we arrived Friday afternoon in preparation for an early morning the next day. However after one too many rum and cokes the night before, Wout was in fact the only early riser and managed to make it to the animal market where they sell everything from guinea pigs hanging live from sticks, to herds of sheep and cows.

Later on, us girls ventured out to the main market which was full of clothes, jewellery and various nick nacks, as well as a huge food market too. Wout decided to stay back to recover from his hangover which had now set in, (and also to avoid the shopping!) and left us to an afternoon spent exploring, chatting and haggling with the townsfolk.

There are markets on every day in the aptly named Plaza de los Ponchos in Otavalo, but the one on Saturday is huge and covers about a third of the town. The region is most famous for it’s beautiful woven textiles but nearby towns also come to sell their locally made wares such as leather goods and wood carvings. Otavaleña women wear black woven skirts with intricately embroidered blouses. They also usually wear gold beaded necklaces and a coral bracelet. The men wear dark blue woven ponchos.

That night we had a nice dinner in town accompanied by traditional Andean music; tomorrow was going to be a busy day as we were going to cross the border into Colombia!

Bender is staying at our hostel too!

Where we stayed:

Hostal Chasqui – $10 each for a triple ensuite room

Where we ate:

Taco Bello (not the American chain) – $21 for 3 margaritas and 3 meals

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