8 Things To Know About South America’s Largest Outdoor Market


Otavalo Market, located in Ecuador, is one of the largest and most famous markets in South America. Settled in a stunning valley, Otavalo is surrounded by the giant Imbabura volcano, the Fuya Fuya mountain and the hills of Cotama and Rey Loma. Otavalo is famous around the world for its artisan market. Would you like to know more about it? In this article, you’ll take a tour to learn more about this colorful and unique market.

      1. Other Names of the Otavalo Market

This market is locally known by other names such as Plaza de los Ponchos and Centenario Market.

      2. Opening and Closing Hours

Otavalo artisan market is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

      3. Days to Visit

Even though it is open everyday, some days are better to visit it than others. Because Saturdays and Wednesdays are the busiest, they are called “market days”. This refers to the days that have the most activity due to more vendors and more customers. On the other hand during a “non-market day”, you’ll have less vendors and less options.

       4. Not so Artisan

There are a variety of things to buy, but not everything is made by an artist. In Otavalo Market, you’ll find handmade ceramic, wood, silver, leather, and metal products. You’ll also find imported and imprinted souvenir items.

       5. How to Get to Otavalo from Quito

The most common way of transportation used by tourists from Quito to Otavalo is by public bus. Otavalo is located 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Quito. Anahi Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of Quito. Using a mix of traditional and modern styles, we provide our guests with comfortable rooms and a central location. The trip from Quito to Otavalo takes about 2 hours. However, in Otavalo, it is very easy to take a cab for a very low price.

       6. Weather

Ecuador’s weather is quite stable. In Otavalo Market, the temperature is constant during the year, hovering around 15°C. The rains vary between 10 and 100 cm (from 0.5 inches to 4 inches). Because of the radiance of the sun, we recommend the use of sunscreen and sunglasses to help you enjoy the warm weather without worries.

       7. People of Otavalo

This Andean valley is home to the indigenous Kichwa ethnic group of the Otavalos. They are famous for their textile and commercial skills. The people of Otavalo are called “Otavalos” or “Otavaleños”. Although, in Ecuador , the term Otavaleños is used more often. During your trip, it is helpful for you to remember that “Otavaleño” refers to a man, “Otavaleña” is a woman, and “the Otavaleños” refers to a group of people from Otavalo.

        8. Currency

One of the things that worries tourists about traveling to another country is the currency. We have good news! In Ecuador, the official currency is the US dollar. However, it is recommended to not carry bills of more than $20, due to the frequency of counterfeit money.

If you are visiting Quito soon, don’t miss out on visiting the largest indigenous handicraft market in South America. It is a place where people from all over the world come to admire the diversity and craftsmanship of the Otavaleños. So please come and have a great day in the spectacular and colorful market of Otavalo.

For information about other fun things to do when visiting Ecuador, click here. For great accommodations, book your room at Anahi Boutique Hotel, one of the best hotels in Quito. For more information about our hotel or visiting Quito, contact us here.

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