Almost two hours north of Quito is the city of Otavalo, famous for its Market especially dedicated to trade fabrics, textile crafts, pottery, ornaments, antiques and tourist attractions. The Otavalo Market is the quintessential craft center where you can have everything you need, currently being the preferred place for tourists to buy their purchases.
The weekly show has become one of the most important tourist centers, but besides this recent transformation Otavalo has been able to preserve its old roots that go back to pre-Columbian or even pre-Inca times.
An amazing maze of fabrics and clothes in bright colors extends from there for a number of streets around the square every Saturday. The rest of the week, the market is restricted to the Plaza and direct surrounding. Almost anything can be found while wandering the crowded streets, from coats to paintings, handmade jewelry, crafts, wall carpets and even ceramic fried eggs. Do not worry to leave the main streets as the entire city of Otavalo is a big market where you can find everything you can imagine or couldn’t do far.
In Otavalo there is absolutely no shortage of lodging options. The vast majority are hostels or inns, clean, friendly and central located managed by families that offer rooms with shared bathrooms at very low costs. There are also plenty of options from cheap to hotels with higher standards.
To enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of the nearby sites, we recommend unpack your bags in one of the nearby farms. These huge ranches dating from the time of the conquest and have witnessed much of the history of Ecuador.
During the 90s many estates turned to tourism and converted into hotels that provide luxurious accommodation, fine dining and outdoor excursions to the beautiful Andean landscapes that surround them.
Just as Otavalo is famous for its textile productions, some nearby communities so are for their own productions. Such is the case of Cotacachi, the center of the leather industry in Ecuador, where the smell of polished leather permeates the air. The local specialty is San Antonio woodcarving. Its main street is lined with shops selling everything from wood, from statues, small carved figures, pictures, frames and home furnishings.
In addition to the walk to the waterfall of Peguche, there exists a large number of lakes in which you can spend a pleasant afternoon. These are: Laguna Mojanda, Lake San Pablo and the Lagoon of Cuicocha. This huge Imbabura region also offers great opportunities for horseback riding, water sports, hiking and mountaineering. Several of the farms and inns in the region offer these trips.