Adventures in Otavalo and Imbabura Province
Barely two hours from Quito, the town of Otavalo draws visitors every week who come to this native community to shop at the world-famous handicraft market. The market features a dazzling array of handicrafts including tapestries, hammocks, jewellery, paintings and colourful native clothing.
Otavalo itself lies in scenic northern Ecuador (Imbabura Province), surrounded by volcanoes, rivers and lakes. For lodging, there wonderful local haciendas: centuries-old estates now converted into elegant hotels.
The Otavaleños are a very prosperous community of skilled textile weavers, who gather to sell their products at the market in the city of Otavalo as they have done for centuries, as regional markets have played an important role in Indian life, providing regular gathering places for trade and socializing. Today, increasing numbers of Otavaleños have also been traveling overseas to sell their handcrafts in Europe and North America. The Otavaleños are proud of their cultural heritage, hard working people who have managed to overcome poverty without changing their way of life, their traditions or their dress, while at the same time taking advantage of technological advances.