Free 200+ Page eBook

Top 57 Places to Live & Invest in the Tropics

Quickly find out which country is right for you.
No-hype updates & resource guides. No Spam. Ever.
Limited offer. Instant Download.

Join More than 58,187 people who are breaking free

we value your privacy

Have You Discovered Cotacachi’s Neighbor: Otavalo Ecuador?

otavalo ecuador

The quaint yet lively highland town of Otavalo Ecuador is a wonderful place to visit. It’s around half an hour away from Cotacachi, and is surrounded by the Cotacachi and Imbabura mountain ranges.

Otavalo is best known for its vibrant Inca market. Not only does the market give tourists and expats a brilliant opportunity to soak up some of the Andean culture, it also sells treasures like woven wall hangings, clothing, and ornaments. The market traditions date back to pre-Inca times. Jungle traders would journey to these Andean crossroads on foot thousands of years ago in order to meet, trade, and prosper.

Today, the town has a solid cultural identity all of its own. The indigenous Otavaleños people have strong Andean roots, and are extremely proud of them. They have successfully held onto the traditions of their ancestors, and are every bit as talented textile makers and business people.

The Market in Otavalo Ecuador

Otavalo Ecuador

In truth, Otavalo doesn’t have just one market, it has several. Just outside the town you’ll find a livestock market, where many hundreds of animals are bought and sold every week. This is where you’ll find local farmers doing what they do best: showing off their wares and bartering to make sure they get the best deal. To see this animal market in full swing, it’s best to visit first thing in the morning.

In the heart of Otavalo is the Artesania market, otherwise known as the textile and handicraft market. This is a large market that stretches the length of a network of streets, starting at the appropriately named ‘Poncho Plaza’. The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Artesania is the color of it. The textiles, clothing, and decorative items that are available are usually made of bright, inviting shades like turquoise, cerise, and gold.

Beyond the textile and handicraft market, visitors will discover the produce market. Much of this is housed within a covered market area. Along with fresh fruit and vegetables, there are also a wide range of meat stalls to choose from.

The Surrounding Countryside

Visitors to Otavalo should set aside some time to visit the city’s surrounding countryside. The Cotacachi and Imbabura volcanic mountain ranges give the area a majestic feel, and there are many beautiful sights to see.

One of these sights is the Lago de San Pablo. This clear blue lake is surrounded by eucalyptus trees and aloe vera plants. It takes about a day to hike around the lake, and there are a number of great accommodation options there. It’s also possible to enjoy water sports on the lake, along with taking in the view of the stunning Imbabura volcano.

Other natural places to visit include the Peguche Waterfall, the extinct Cerro Cayambe volcano, the Chachimbiro hot springs and the Cuichoca Lake, which is actually a deep volcanic crater.

What Else Does Otavalo Have to Offer?

The real beauty of Otavalo is that it provides visitors and residents with the very best of both worlds. The city, with its Spanish-inspired architecture and traditional culture, is only minutes away from the glorious countryside. The Andean farmland and mountainous valleys that surround the city make for a very relaxed and laid-back way of life.

As Otavalo is located near the equator, the weather in the city is close to consistent all year round. Whatever the season, you should expect to enjoy daytime temperatures of around 70ºF, with the weather dropping down to 40ºF at night.

Whether you plan to visit the town for a day or two to take in the famous market, or whether you plan to settle down and start a new life there, this is a city that will welcome you with open arms.

How Do You Get There?

Getting to Otavalo Ecuador is easy. Most people travel via Quito and Cotacachi. You can fly into Quito, and from there it’s a two hour bus ride to Cotacachi, then a further twenty minutes to Otavalo. Bus fares are very cheap in Ecuador. From Quito to Cotacachi you should only expect to pay around $6, with a couple more $s for the last leg of your journey to Otavalo.

If you’d rather take private transport, taxis are readily available. Most hotels will be happy to arrange a driver for you, and this will probably cost around $60 from Quito to Otavalo.

What are you waiting for?

Up Next

7 of the Top Places U.S. Expats Are Living in Latin America (and Why)

New data shows where U.S. expats are residing all across the globe. Many of the top destinations are in nearby Latin America. Find out why. (Read It)

Central America's Best Real Estate Buy

Don't miss this up and commer. It has the tropical lifestyle, stunning beauty, and smokin appreciation potential. (Read It)

The World’s Top 10 Best Places to Put Your Money

Offshore banking isn't just for the super rich. But how does the average Joe decide where to put his money? Here are the world's top banking jurisdictions. (Read It)
panama city panama real estate update

Panama City, Panama Real Estate Market Update

Today we have a guest post written by Kent Davis, owner of one of the most successful real estate brokerages in Panama City The Panama City real estate market may have finally taken a turn in …

(Read It)
costa rica websites

Top 133 Costa Rica Websites for Expats and Investors

Did you know there are dozens and dozens of great resources on Costa Rica for expats and investors? Sure, we have a ton of resources for Costa Rica on our site, and a whole bunch …

(Read It)

The Truth about Living in Costa Rica: The Good, the Bad, and the Muddy

It's easy to find tons of articles and information out there highlighting all the great benefits of living in Costa Rica. But it's also easy to read those blogs and marketing pieces and think, "Yeah, it …

(Read It)

Why Nosara, Costa Rica Is Not Your Average Surfing Town

A deeper look at Nosara and its history will quickly reveal that this long-time mecca for surfing enthusiasts offers so much more than just the sand and sea. The increasing interest in the area as a …

(Read It)

Expats Are Still Falling in Love with Nosara and Here’s Why

What was once the up-and-coming expat haven of Nosara, Costa Rica, has blossomed into one of Costa Rica's most established expat communities that continues to be ranked near the top of the list of most desirable destinations in the Latin …

(Read It)

How Nosara Strikes the Perfect Balance of Rustic vs. Connected

When you hear people applaud Nosara for its laid-back rustic vibe, what you may not realize is that despite it's off-the-beaten-path atmosphere, Nosara is also surprisingly well connected. As such, this Costa Rican hotspot continues to be one …

(Read It)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hot Real Estate Offer

Real Estate In The Area

Nothing is better for your health and well-being than inhaling clean, fresh, unpolluted air; there is nothing more invigorating than breathing in the freedom an...
12.0 beds
13.0 bath
Land Size:1 acres
Building Size:6,740 sq.ft.
Start planning your escape from the hustle and bustle, traffic, noise, and smog, and when you map out your getaway, be sure to check out Ecuador’s beautiful Pac...
5.0 beds
4.5 bath
Land Size:0 acres
Building Size:2,691 sq.ft.
Dos Mangas
3.0 beds
2.0 bath
Land Size:0 acres
Building Size:1,399 sq.ft.
See All Listings In The Area
Free Tropical Toolkit
Free 200+ Page Report: Top 57 Places to Live & Invest
  • The only book in the world that ranks investment and lifestyle in one place.
  • Over 200 information packed pages with hundreds of beautiful photos.
  • Download the book instantly (for free!) with this limited time offer.
*We value your privacy. No spam. Period.