Otavalo, and of course, the Market

Five days in Otavalo and I am ready to move on. A splendid little Andean town, surrounded by volcanoes, greener than St. Patrick’s Day, filled with markets and old churches: A good way to spend my first week in Ecuador (by the time I leave on Tuesday). Then it will be on to the big city of Quito.

On Friday I went to the Condor bird sanctuary, which I’ll write about later, and hiked the 5 miles back. I’ve been to Cotacachi twice. It’s been written about a lot as a new retirement hot spot, so I had to check it out. I was so amazed at how quiet and small it was, I decided I needed to check it out a second time, on its market day, Sunday. I was right. There is really not much there. I would rather wait till I die to have nothing to do, so I think I’ll give Cotacachi a pass as a retirement option. I’ll write more about it on birdwithwings.com, my retirement blog.

Saturday was Market day, and, and the whole of downtown is one big street market and family get together for the Otavalo people. It really is one of the world’s great markets. I’m traveling light, so there was no shopping for me. Just photos and food.

The other thing about Otavalo is the weather. It sits at 8,441 feet (2,573 metres) and gets lots of rain and thunderstorms. It is cool enough to require a wrap in the evening. Last night it rained all night, and this morning I woke up and the volcano Imbabura was topped with snow.

The big white building to the lower right is my hostal. As wonderful as it looks.


Local architecture


A favorite snack at the market-tiny snails with lime, salt and onions


A gentleman in traditional Otavalan dress: Hat, blue wool pancho, white trousers and white espradrilles.
Women in traditional dress: Hats, scarves or sometimes a cloth wrap around the head, a shawl, white lace embroidered blouse, wrap wool skirt and black espadrilles.
Roast pigs-12 hours overnight in the oven. A real lunch counter favorite. A generous serving, with cracklings, little mashed potato pancakes, corn and salad.


There is the serving, with fresh salsa on the side.





This morning there was snow on the volcano and a nip in the air.























13 thoughts on “Otavalo, and of course, the Market

    1. Thank you so much. It’s a great little city. It has caused me to reconsider my expectations of travel. I tend to get to a place and feel required to visit the top spots, but then I don’t, and I feel guilty. I think Otavalo is a good place for a wander or two- hiking outside of town and hiking around in town. My three goals are: checking out places to live, learn Spanish and writing. Being a tourist is not on that list. It’s great to learn about places, in fact, essential, but tourist attractions are entertainment and distraction. Oh! I’, rambling! Yes, you should definitely come and get a sense of the northern part of Ecuador.

      Liked by 1 person

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