Three hours by car from Quito, Otavalo (pop. 28,000) is the most famous of all Ecuadorian highland towns for its centuries-old, traditional market which dates to pre-Inca times when it served as a major trading point between jungle tribes and highlanders. Otavalo today has become one of the most famous indigenous markets in the Americas, featuring multicolored hand woven textiles, woodcarvings, embroidery, ceramics, jewelry, leather work, unique bread dough figures, ponchos, hammocks, wool sweaters, and native paintings. Overnight stays in historic haciendas also offer leisurely visits to nearby traditional villages.
One to two nights
When to go
The Ecuadorian Highlands are blessed with a balmy climate year-round characterized by warm days, cool nights and steady temperatures averaging 65F. Best time to visit is during dry season (June-October) although rainy season normally offers sunny mornings and afternoons with potential evening showers.
• Traditional Market: One of the most famous in the Americas.
• Historic Haciendas.
• Horseback Riding