Ecuador Highlands & Peru TravelEcuador Ministry of Tourism Official Agent

Two or three hours north of Quito lays the small town of Otavalo, famous for its indigenous market held on Saturday, which dates back to pre-Incan times. A place where bargaining has traditionally been something of an art.

Otavalo handcrafts market
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Otavalo handcrafts market

One Day Tour: Otavalo Market (L).

Discover the beautiful and unique Otavalo indigenous market with us. Located north of Quito, this is one of the biggest indigenous markets in Latin America. Here, thousands of merchants gather to sell their products, including handmade fabrics, embroidered blouses and shirts, and the famous woven alpaca ponchos, mittens and hats. Bursting with a million colors, sounds, and memorable characters, the Otavalo market is without a doubt a must-visit place in Ecuador.

Our tour starts off early in the morning, when your guide and driver pick you up to start your tour heading north from Quito. On the way, you might be able to see Cayambe. This 4,690 m (15,387 ft) volcano towers over the Andes and is the highest point on the Equator in the world; it was also a sacred place for the locals. We will stop for a moment in the town of Cayambe to sample the traditional biscochos, a delectable local pastry traditional to the area that is served with cheese or dulce de leche (another local specialty).

Continuing our journey north, we will arrive at the local market of Otavalo. On Saturdays, this market extends throughout the entire city of Otavalo, while on the other days of the week, you will find the Plaza de los Ponchos filled with indigenous merchants that bring their products from all over the Andes to sell them here. Practice your bargaining skills with locals, and share a nice moment with them; find an authentic alpaca poncho to call your own; or appreciate the vibrant tapestries or the famous embroidered Zuleta blouses.

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Enjoy the delicate and delicious local cuisine at one of the traditional, local haciendas, and then continue your tour at Cotacachi and Cuicocha. First, we will visit the sacred lake of Cuicocha. A unique and marvelous site, this lake is set within the crater of an active volcano. In the center, two small islands breach the water's surface. Marvel at the tranquility and splendor of this magical place.

Finally, we will visit the town of Cotacachi, a picturesque town where most of its inhabitants are dedicated to the leather industry; shoes, boots, purses, jackets, and many other beautiful clothes can be found here, so take a stroll along the main street, and do some shopping. Afterwards, we will return to the city of Quito.

Prices 2017 per person:

Number of Passengers Price
1 person
USD 382
2 people
USD 214
3-5 people
USD 163
6-9 people
USD 110

Includes

  • Private transportation with an English speaking guide
  • Lunch at a traditional Hacienda
  • Visits to Cuicocha

Not included

  • Additional entrance fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Extra soft drinks or alcoholic drinks
  • Other expenses not specified

2 Day Tour: Otavalo

Day 1 (L, D)
Discover one of Ecuador's most beautiful places, and probably the most charming indigenous market in Latin America, the Otavalo market.

We will start our tour from the city of Quito, where one of our representatives will pick you up to start our tour to one of Ecuador's most important touristic destinations. We will drive north for approximately one hour, and we will have the chance to see the amazing Cayambe Volcano that reaches a height of 5,790 m (19,000 ft). An interesting fact is that Cayambe is the only snow-capped mountain in the world crossed by the equatorial line; if weather allows, we will take some incredible photos of this snow-covered volcano.

On the way, we will try the local delicacy of “bizcochos,” a pastry that is accompanied by cheese and a cozy cup of hot chocolate.

Our first stop on this amazing journey will be at a flower plantation; not just any flowers are harvested in this area – this is home to the renowned long-stem rose plantations. Ecuadorian roses are considered to be the best roses in the world. The mild weather and nutrient-rich soils in which they are harvested gives these flowers a delicate aroma and astounding colors. We will enjoy this visit while an expert tells us more about these beautiful flowers.

We will continue our trip north to the city of Otavalo, where we will have lunch. Later in the afternoon we will visit the a local loom, where ancient techniques are still used to naturally dye and fabricate these textiles. We will then visit one of the local Andean music instrument factories, where a local will show you the traditional techniques used to build pan flutes from reeds. (Note that these activities will depend on the visiting day and the schedule of the workshops and are subject to change.)

We will spend the night in Otavalo.

Day 2 (B, L)
In the morning of our second day, we will visit the fascinating Otavalo market. In this market, hundreds of indigenous people gather to sell their handicrafts. This is the perfect place to find delicate embroidered blouses and shirts, beautifully carved figures, paintings, colorful tapestries, and the warmest and brightest alpaca sweaters, ponchos, and much more. Take this opportunity to make some new friends and try your bartering skills with the locals. They will always have a smile for you.

We'll have lunch at a local hacienda and try the local flavor and then continue our trip to the spectacular Cuicocha Lagoon. Cuicocha has a unique and natural beauty – this lagoon is set in the crater of an active volcano, and in the middle of this lagoon you will see two small islets that were formed during the eruption process.

After this sensational visit, we will end our tour by visiting the town of Cotacachi, locally known as the leather market because of the amount of leather goods that you will find in the town. Cotacachi offers you a wide variety of clothes, purses, shoes and everything you can imagine, all made with the finest quality leather. After this visit we'll head back to the city of Quito.

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Prices 2017 per person:

Number of Passengers Luxury Standard Accommodation
1 person
USD 1092
USD 958
single room
2 people
USD 615
USD 545
double room
3-5 people
USD 494
USD 431
triple room
6-9 people
USD 370
USD 316
double room

Includes

  • Private transportation with an English speaking guide
  • Meals according to itinerary
  • Accommodation according to selected category

Not included

  • Additional entrance fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Extra soft drinks or alcoholic drinks
  • Other expenses not specified

Accommodation:

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