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Otavalo Indian Market Private Day Tour {Review}

Otavalo Indian Market
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Otavalo Indian Market
Post Last Modified – August 06, 2023 ¦

Otavalo Ecuador – Indian Market

Known as perhaps the largest Indigenous market in all of South America, taking the …

🌺 Otavalo Indian Market Tour, 🌺

is a unique experience not to be missed when visiting the City of Quito.

A bustling indigenous handicraft marketplace filled with a variety of Ecuadorian unique wares.

Otavalo – Location

Otavalo is a town in the Andean highlands in the Imbabura province of northern Ecuador. It has a population of around 50,000 with the majority that of an indigenous heritage.

The city is surrounded by volcanoes including the remarkable; 🌋 Imbabura Volcano.

From the City of Quito, Otavalo is about 2 hours north of the city. If you choose a guided tour as we did, there are additional stops along the way.

The Otavalo Market is located in the {Central Plaza de Ponchos} part of the city.

About Otavalo Indian Market

Central Plaza de Ponchos

Otavalo is well known for their very popular indigenous handicraft Marketplace. It’s also a very popular tourist attraction and gathering place for locals as well.

Otavalo Central Plaza de Ponchos

There are numerous vendor stalls offering a huge variety of items for sale. Some of which include; woolen goods such as ponchos, blankets, scarves and sweaters.

Otavalo Indian Market Vendors

At the market, you’ll find an abundant amount of assorted jewelry, along with some beautifully embroidered blouses and shirts. There’s numerous vendor outlets for tasting some unique Ecuadorian dishes and more.

Otavalo Indian Market Private Day Tour

Wyndham Garden Quito Hotel

Our driver {Julio} arrived at our hotel, the …

🏨 Wyndham Garden Quito, 🏨

in the city at approximately 8 am. This is a private guided day tour and we were picked up in a very clean and comfortable newer 🚙 sports utility vehicle.

The drive ahead will have us heading to the northern side of the ⛰ Andes, crossing the; Valley of Guayllabamba.

Cayambe Biscuits Factory

Our first stop of the day is just outside the town of Cayambe, at the very popular {Cayambe biscuits factory} for a stretch, restroom break and cookie tasting.


This is where we tasted freshly baked {Bizcochos}, a delicious and favorite Ecuadorian snack. They are mouth watering, warm and delicious. Great with a ☕ hot beverage!

Quitsato Solar Clock

Our next stop and just across the street is at the Equator Monument and the Quitsato Solar Clock and exhibits.

Equator Monument

This is the exact location of where the {Equatorial Line} passes, where the southern and northern hemispheres meet.

Quitsato Solar Clock

Exactly at latitude N 00° 00.000′, the Quitsato Sundial was the first monument constructed on the Equator in the history of the Republic of Ecuador.

Quitsato Solar Clock Exhibits

The Quitsato solar clock is also referred to as the; 🌎 “Middle of the World.” 🌎

The Andes Museum

There’s a newly constructed information center. This is where you check in and a staff member will take you around the property on a fully guided tour.

The Andes Museum Presentation Room

Cayambe is an agricultural region along with farmland which includes; cattle and dairy farming.

Cayambe Ecuador Cattle Farm

Lake San Pablo & Imbabura Volcano Viewpoint

After a nice visit and tour, it was then on to another brief stop at a nice gift shop, cafe and restrooms.

Mira Lago Viewpoint

From the shop, there’s a nice lookout deck of Lake San Pablo and the Imbabura Volcano. This region is also known as ´The Lakes Province.´

Otavalo Ecuador

It was then time to push on to the City of Otavalo for lunch and visit to the Indigenous Market.

Ecuadorian Residential Lunch

Otavalo Local

Prior to visiting the Marketplace, we opted to have lunch first. Our guide {Julio} took us to a residential tourism homesight , for a true Ecuadorian meal.

Otavalo Residence Owner

Complete with a short tour from the owner, showing us an original part of their homesite that they are preserving to this day.

Otavalo Historic Kitchen

A part of their cultural history in which to show visitors how they lived and cooked their meals years ago and for younger generations to remember their heritage.

Otavalo Musicians

Our lunch was complete with live music entertainment performed by locals.

Otavalo Potato SoupOtavalo Lunch EntreeOtavalo Dessert

A perfect touch to our full day Otavalo Market tour.

Otavalo Local Elder

Stopping for lunch in this community, allows for a unique opportunity to witness first hand the everyday life of a local in this part of Ecuador.

Otavalo Farm Pig

Otavalo Indian Market

It was then on to the Market, where {Julio} allowed for as much time as we wished to browse the many vendors.

Otavalo Indigenous Market


Otavalo Town Square Art

Cotacachi – Leather Town

Just a few minutes drive from Otavalo, is the town of Cotacachi, or more popularly known as Ecuador’s famous “leather” town.

Cotacachi Town Sign

In the town’s modern main street, you will find numerous leather goods shops lining both sides of the street.

Otavalo City Flags

If you’re looking to purchase leather goods of all sorts, from clothing, purses, saddles and much more, this is definitely where you want to head.

Traditional Music Shop

We finished our day with a brief stop at a small residential traditional music shop.

Music Shop Sign Ecuador

A display of how a small musical instrument is created from bamboo, along with a tune played after it was made by our host.

Ecuador Music Shop

Those who wish to purchase any of her creations, are most welcome to do so in support.

Ecuador Musician

We bought some nice hand made beaded wristbands from her in gratitude.

Time to head back to Quito after a full day!

Final Thoughts Banner

We had a very enjoyable full day with our private Galatrails guide {Julio}.

On personal note, we were expecting something much different at the Otavalo market. We found for the most part, the majority of the vendors were selling commercially made items. We were actually expecting to seem more {true artisans}, displaying and selling their handcrafted goods.

Other than our personal views on the marketplace, the rest of the day and tour was most enjoyable. Your complete day tour with Galatrails includes:

Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off;
Comfortable Private SUV Transportation;
Bilingual Driver-Guide – Fluent In Spanish/English;
Entrance fee to Quitsato;
Lunch {Menu Selections};
Quitsato Solar clock;
Cayambe biscuits factory;
Visit to Mira Lago Viewpoint;
Ponchos Square;
Visit to Cotacachi town (Leather Town);
Looming workshop;
Andean instruments workshop;
Return to Quito Approximately 8 hours.

Galatrails is a well respected, professionally operated online booking agency in Ecuador. The owner {Juan Elaje} was a pleasure to work with when making our tour bookings.

He responded to all my email requests prior to and after booking, quickly and efficiently. I would not hesitate to recommend {Galatrails} for land-based tours, cruises and much more in Ecuador.

Below, I’ve included a link to their official website for your convenience. You can access much more detailed information on all their tours offered, contact resources including online live chat and much more.

Galatrails Logo

🍃 Galatrails 🍃

I’ve also included the Official Quito Turismo {Tourism} website link for your convenience. It’s filled with everything you need, for planning your stay in and around the City of Quito.

Quito Turismo Logo

🌹 Quito Turismo 🌹

😎 Safe and Healthy Travels!

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at


Although our Otavalo Day Tour was in collaboration with Galatrails, rest assured all content and opinions are that of the author and reflect my personal views only.

All personal 📸 photographs on this post are the property of and are copyright protected. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. 🚫

✨  Did You Know …

“Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas.”

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© 2023, All Rights Reserved ¦

A Blogger Since 2012, Robert has a {Passion for Travel}, having worked in the industry for over 35 years. He enjoys sharing special moments & tips on; Travel, Health & Wellness, Book Reviews and much more!

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