According to the guidebook, Saturday in Otavalo is the largest artisan market in South America. It feels pretty big but not immense. Two main streets are closed to traffic and full of stalls selling mostly tourist goodies. Much of it is very repetitive. Every stall seems to sell the same bags, ponchos, sweaters and nick knacks. There are even more of the similar goods to be found at Otavalo's well-named Plaza de Ponchos and also many stores are open only on Saturdays selling more of the same. The amount of inventory available in Otavalo is incredible.
|Bags for sale|
|Hats for sale|
|Paintings for sale|
|Alpacas for sale|
If you are not into shopping does not mean that Otavalo needs to be avoided. Otavalo sits in the Andes mountains and is very rich in the Quechua indigenous culture. The men and boys have long braided ponytails majority of women and girls wear the traditional outfit of embroidered, white ruffled shirt with a blue or black skirt and colorful woven belt. Stores and stalls -- those not selling tourist schlock -- carry many of these items for the local consumer.
|A stall selling shirts and belts|
|A store specializing in traditional clothing for local ladies|
|Baby on Board|
|A shaman and a leg washing|
On Saturday, the big market day, there is also a very early morning animal market. For locals obviously. I have never heard of a tourist in the market for a sheep or piglet. I really wanted to go but still feeling ill could not muster myself out of bed at 6 AM. Mika makes it there.
|Pigs for sale|
|Guinea pigs for sale. |
They are famously eaten in the Ecuadorian Andes
|You can't see me, but I am under the tent waiting for check-in|