Tour to Otavalo a colorful town for its crafts and friendly people. Visit Otavalo and discover the unique landscapes. Come to Otavalo. Otavalo-Ecuador.
Exploring the Area
Otavalo is a town in Northern Ecuador. It has about 95.000 inhabitants and is the capital of the district of the same name. Otavalo is world-famous for its indigenous population, the so-called Otavalos, many of which are travelling around the world to sell their famous handicrafts or play in Andean Folk music groups. A great percentage of the Otavalos, lives especially in the surrounding villages. Otavalos are easily recognized by their traditional dress: white pants and a dark poncho for men; a dark skirt and a white blouse with colourful embroidery and colourful waisteband for women. Both sexes wear their hair long.
What to See and Do
Otavalo Markets: There is a Mercado Artesanal at the so-called Plaza de Ponchos between Calle Sucre and Jaramillo, where indigenous and mestizo people from Otavalo and surrounding villages sell their handicrafts. You will find a wide range of weavings, jewelry, clothes, wood and stone carvings, paintings, Panama hats, and some products from neighbouring Peru and Colombia. Although Saturday is the main market day and the whole town is filled with little stalls, there are plenty of stalls open at Plaza de Ponchos on any day. If you want something more authentic or just want to stock up on your groceries, try the town´s largest food market Mercado 24 de Mayo (open all week). On Saturdays, there is also an animal market Mercado de Animales northwest of town, where local farmers buy and sell their livestock. This market is quite an experience, but not recommendable for people who care about animal rights.
Peguche Waterfall is a nice 21meter waterfall, situated in a small village some 3km north of Otavalo. This is a sacred place for the Indians as they have a close relationship with nature, especially mountains, water and certain trees. Solstice celebrations take place at the falls around the 21st of June.
Museo del Pueblo Kichwa (also known as Museo Viviente) is a delightful museum a 15-minute walk from town, on the other side of the Panamerican highway. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. A group of the indigenous people of Otavalo opened the museum in what was once a textile factory. The factory was the scene of years and years of horrific abuses against the indigenous peoples, but has now been reclaimed as a living museum and community space, where visitors can learn about the indigenous culture in history and the present, while seeing Kichwa craftspeople make woven goods and farm.
Imbabura Mountain is located 60km north of Quito, near Otavalo and San Pablo Lake. With its 4620mts it is one of the highest mountains in Northern Ecuador, and in local legend it is considered the father of the indigenous people and culture: the “Taita” (father), as they call him, is the protector of the Indians, symbol of hardness and virility; During droughts, the locals carry out rituals on the mountain or in other sacred places to ask for his help. Imbabura can be climbed, with the easist (but still challenging!) ascend route from the villages of La Esperanza and Cashaloma east of Ibarra.
San Pablo Lake lies 3.5 km southeast of the center of Otavalo at the feet of Imbabura Mountain. It is one of the most visited and largest lakes in Ecuador. Imbakucha and Chicapán are Kichua names for the lake. It is possible to rent Kayaks or go on boat trips at the Parque Aquático near the village of Araque.
Cuicocha Lake(guinea pig lake) is located 14 km northwest of Otavalo, at the base of Cotacachi Mountain. It is a deep volcanic crater that is 4km long and 3km wide. In the center of this lake are three domes of volcanic rock that form two islands covered with vegetation and separated by a water channel, called “channel of dreams”. Its name derives from a pre-inca language: “Tsui cocha” meaning “lagoon of the gods.” There is a well preserved path around the lagoon that takes about 5 hours to walk (12 kilometres). There is an information centre, restaurants, a hotel, and boat tours at the end of the access road to the lake.
Mojanda Lakes & Fuya Fuya Mountain is a beautiful area for hiking and camping, located 17 km south of Otavalo at an altitude of 3700m and above sea level. Starting at the Large Mojanda Lake(Karicocha), the climb up to Fuya Fuya mountain (4263m) takes about 2 hours and is quite steep in some parts and 1 hour return to the lake.
Mama Cotacachi Mountain with its height of 4.939mts occupies the position N° 11 on the list of Ecuador´s highest mountains. Located 18km northwest of Otavalo, it is part of the Ecological Reserve “Cotacachi-Cayapas”. For the indigenous people this mountain is a woman whose full name is: Maria Isabel Nieves Cotacachi. There are many legends regarding her love with the “Taita” Imbabura. It is an active volcano although there are no historical records of recent eruptions. At its western flanks it joins extensive moor areas, lagoons and cloud forest. It can be climbed within in one or two days.
Cayambe volcano is an extinct volcano, the third highest mountain of Ecuador and the highest point on the planet crossed by the equatorial line. It is located approximately 65 km northeast of Quito and 60 km southeast of Otavalo. On clear days, its snow-covered summit is perfectly visible from several points of the northern region.
Tren de la Libertad is a re-opened section of the old railway line between Quito and San Lorenzo. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you can travel by train between Ibarra and the afro-ecuadorian community of Salinas and visit several sites of interest along the way. As the train is only in use for tourist purposes, ticket fares are relatively high.
Cotacachi is a small town of 20.000 inhabitants some 10km north of Otavalo. The town is famous for its leather goods where also lives foreiners specially from USA. Cotacachi offer a good wheather and also is quiet city.
The Intag Valley is a river valley 1h30 hours from Otavalo by bus. It is known for its thermal hot springs, high quality coffee, and cloud forest reserves. Also is possible organize bike trips or visit project of coffee
Ibarra, also called the white city, is the capital of Imbabura province and th elargest city in the area. A culinary speciality of Ibarra is Helados de Paila, a type of sorbet icecream. Made of fresh fruit, it is a must for any visitor. Ibarra features a well-preserved colonial city centre.
Chachimbiro . Hot springs of volcanic origin, with temperatures of 45 to 55 degrees Celsius. There are several Spa hotels to stay for the night.
Ilumàn offers amazing walking, and a much quieter pace of life at just 15 minute bus ride from Otavalo. This indigenous village is truly charming and famous for the many natural healers, or shamans, using all kind of medicinal plants and traditional cleaning rituals.
Indigenous Villages: There is a large number of indigenous communities in the surroundings of Otavalo, Ibarra, and Cotacachi. Some of those villages specialize in the manufacture of one particular good, weavings, rugs, embroidery, wood carvings, handicrafts made of tortora reed, and others. There are offer tours that visit several villages and their handicraft workshop (www.quichuatours.com)
La Calera: Is a indigenous village where they organize families for offer acommodation relatively sustanaible community tourism where the indigenous peoples share their indigenous lifes for the visitor or tourist. If you are finding a complete different tourism you shoud be book in this website www.quichuacommunity.org