The tour starts with a trip north from Quito in the early morning towards the Otavalo indigenous market. En route, we’ll stop briefly at a stunning panoramic lookout of the Imbabura Volcano and San Pablo Lake. The small town of Otavalo bustles with activity and makes the perfect first stop to immerse you in a world of artisan goods, from colorful textiles, alpaca coats, paintings, jewelry, leather, and so much more.
Wander the stalls to meet local artists, and find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Try to arrive early for the best bargains (it starts at dawn), and try your hand at haggling – it’s expected for every purchase. A good negotiator could get at least 20 per cent off the starting price.
One of the most obvious signs of the Otavaleños’ cultural integrity is their traditional dress. This is not just worn for the tourists at the Saturday market, but is worn throughout their daily life. Otavalo is famous both for its friendly people and its Saturday animal market. The market dates back to pre-Inca times when jungle products were transported from the eastern lowlands and traded for highland goods. Today’s market has two different functions: the local market for buying and selling animals, food, and other essentials, and the crafts market for the tourists and other interested people.
Tonight we stay at a historic highlands hacienda.
Accommodations: Hotel Pinsaqui