Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman -
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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
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
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
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.
That night we ate a great meal at the restaurant in the
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.
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.