Are you looking for excellent South American handicraft? Look no further. The indigenous people of Otavalo are famous for the weaving of textiles, which has a 4000 year history.
The city is a largely indigenous town in Imbabura Province, Ecuador. Although the market runs every day it's on the Saturday market that you must be. The Plaza del Poncho is then filled with stands showing the finest handicraft South America has to offer.
Otavalo lies in a valley and is surrounded by the peaks of Imbabura, Cotacachi, and Mojanda volcanoes. But it's not the surroundings that will steal your attention. It's the textiles, the amazing carpets, ponchos and pullovers of sublime quality.
Times are gone that excellent bargains could be made. The Otavalo indigenous people are well aware of what is charged in Western countries for their goods. But you never know when the bargain god is on your side... so do try to negotiate.
Check out some of these wonderful Otavalo budget hotels
and splendid hotels in Otavalo!
As Otavalo is famous for its textiles, many of the nearby villages and towns are famous for their own particular crafts.
Cotacachi, the center of Ecuador's leather industry, is known for its polished calf skins. In San Antonio, where the local specialty is wood carving, the main street prominently displays carved statues, picture frames, and furniture.
The indigenous community of Otavalo wear unique traditional clothing. You don't see this anywhere else in South America.
Learn more about Otavalo here
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© All photographs by Mark Van Overmeire