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Otavalo, Ecuador - Market Starts Early On Saturday Morning At 5am

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2009   » View Photoset (66 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
From Latacunga I began a 2 or so hour bus journey up to Quito where I planned to immediately find another bus north to Otavalo for the Saturday markets. At the bus terminal in
Ecuador Photo - Dream catchers to hang above the bed to catch bad dreams, Otavalo.
Dream catchers to hang above the bed to catch bad dreams, Otavalo.
Quito it was easy to find a bus to Otavalo that was leaving soon. Especially because of the markets on the next day.

Bus from Quito

Heading north out of the Quito area took quite a while but eventually I started to see street signs that read 'Otavalo, Ibarra, Tulcan'. On this bus I met Nina from Austria, we both had the same idea about visiting the Otavalo markets and decided to be travel buddies for a few days!

Find a Hostel

After arriving in Otavalo on Friday afternoon and finding a hostel and having a meal, we walked around the street market in the main square where they sold clothing, warm woolen hats, hammocks, arts and crafts, jewelry, wristbands, beads, musical intruments, wall-hangings and much more. Otavalo is a tidy, nice and
Ecuador Photo - The earrings and jewelry in Otavalo is irresistible.
The earrings and jewelry in Otavalo is irresistible.
peaceful place with yummy food and a good vibe.

Animal Market at 5am

The Otavalo animal market starts early on Saturday morning at about 5am. We decided to get there by about 6:30am. When we arrived it was all in full swing with a lot of buying and selling of mainly chickens and guinea pigs. There were several places where locals sat and ate pork, chicken, rice, corn, empanadas and other interesting looking foods. Chicken and pork is the main meat (carne) eaten here. If you are extremely sensitive to the sight of chickens being held by their legs upside down, being put into sacks etc, it may not be a market for you. So basically all the locals buy live chickens, show them off to their family and friends and carry them home to become a meal.

The Indigenous Locals

The locals are very colorful people with the way they
Ecuador Photo - Fresh juices and cups of jelly in different flavors, Otavalo market.
Fresh juices and cups of jelly in different flavors, Otavalo market.
dress. The woman and men both wear traditional clothing and a lot of the children too.

Around the Town

We were here for about 2 hours before deciding to head back into the center of town for the main street markets to find things to spend our $$$ on. On the short walk back to the center we saw a dvd shop, a woman with a chicken, some herbs and spices, ready to eat watermelon and pineapple, pieces of chicken, shoes, yummy sugar donuts, warm clothing and dream-catchers, did I mention chicken?. For the rest of the day we wandered around the streets of Otavalo, stall after stall looking at all the wonderful things for sale. Seeing tablecloths, dolls, wristbands, beads, bags, jackets, figurines, wool, fruit and vegetables, hot corn and bananas, pork, meat, yes chicken, fresh fish, pastas, grains, jelly and juices! It was a fantastic day spent in a beautiful place and setting.

Local Musicians

That night we ate a great meal at the restaurant in the
Ecuador Photo - Rope for sale at the Otavalo markets.
Rope for sale at the Otavalo markets.
lower part of our hostel and listened to the live music of a great local band who come in every night to play. It's a family of 5 guys. They sing, play guitars and wooden pipes. I bought their CD.

Peguche Waterfall

The next morning we decided to catch a bus a few kms to Cascada de Peguche (waterfall) which is close to Laguna San Pablo (lagoon). It is a quick and peaceful walk to the waterfall, the spray came across the bridge we stood on as we viewed the fall. I took some photos and posed and we made the way back to Otavalo, the bus cost 18 cents each way.

Bus to Mitad del Mundo and Puerto Lopez

We decided at that point that after lunch we would hit the road and take a bus back to Quito so that we could get an overnight bus to Puerto Lopez out on the west coast for some sun, sand and surf. We stopped at Mitad del Mundo on the way south to Quito.

     

View all photos in the Otavalo Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Otavalo (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Otavalo, Ecuador. Famous for it's animal market on Saturdays, but also full of arts and crafts! Otavalo is located in a beautiful part of the country and there is lots to do in the area.
 A : Quito to Tulcan - Ecuador 18 kms 18 kms straight distance | 34mins 34mins by car (27 kms) | 40mins 40mins by bus (27 kms) (27 kms)
 B : Cayambe - Ecuador 25 kms 25 kms straight distance | 35mins 35mins by car (33 kms) | 42mins 42mins by bus (33 kms) (33 kms)
 C : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 34 kms 34 kms straight distance | 1hr 8mins 1hr 8mins by car (62 kms) | 1hr 21mins 1hr 21mins by bus (62 kms) (62 kms)
 D : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 32 kms 32 kms straight distance | 1hr 47mins 1hr 47mins by car (90 kms) | 2hrs 8mins 2hrs 8mins by bus (90 kms) (90 kms)
 E : Quito - Ecuador 44 kms 44 kms straight distance | 1hr 44mins 1hr 44mins by car (102 kms) | 2hrs 4mins 2hrs 4mins by bus (102 kms) (102 kms)
 F : Machachi - Ecuador 90 kms 90 kms straight distance | 2hrs 23mins 2hrs 23mins by car (142 kms) | 2hrs 51mins 2hrs 51mins by bus (142 kms) (142 kms)
 G : Tulcan - Ecuador 88 kms 88 kms straight distance | 2hrs 54mins 2hrs 54mins by car (158 kms) | 3hrs 28mins 3hrs 28mins by bus (158 kms) (158 kms)
 H : Ipiales from the Colombian Border - Colombia 96 kms 96 kms straight distance | 2hrs 51mins 2hrs 51mins by car (159 kms) | 3hrs 25mins 3hrs 25mins by bus (159 kms) (159 kms)
 I : Mindo - Ecuador 64 kms 64 kms straight distance | 3hrs 5mins 3hrs 5mins by car (161 kms) | 3hrs 42mins 3hrs 42mins by bus (161 kms) (161 kms)
 J : Saquisili - Ecuador 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 3hrs 5mins 3hrs 5mins by car (188 kms) | 3hrs 42mins 3hrs 42mins by bus (188 kms) (188 kms)
 K : Latacunga - Ecuador 134 kms 134 kms straight distance | 2hrs 59mins 2hrs 59mins by car (191 kms) | 3hrs 34mins 3hrs 34mins by bus (191 kms) (191 kms)
 L : Pujili - Ecuador 140 kms 140 kms straight distance | 3hrs 3hrs by car (199 kms) | 3hrs 36mins 3hrs 36mins by bus (199 kms) (199 kms)
 M : Tena - Ecuador 145 kms 145 kms straight distance | 4hrs 5mins 4hrs 5mins by car (250 kms) | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by bus (250 kms) (250 kms)
 N : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 142 kms 142 kms straight distance | 4hrs 11mins 4hrs 11mins by car (263 kms) | 5hrs 1min 5hrs 1min by bus (263 kms) (263 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Otavalo, Ecuador:

Hostal Mi Otavalito, Otavalo, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hostal Mi Otavalito, Otavalo, Ecuador (Jun 2009 - 2 nights) - Beautiful decor and atmosphere here, nice rooms, restaurant and music downstairs, run by some very nice people, it's central.

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Otavalo, Ecuador - Market Starts Early On Saturday Morning At 5am. Famous for it's animal market on Saturdays, but also full of arts and crafts! Otavalo is located in a beautiful part of the country and there is lots to do in the area.

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