A city is said to be well on its way to full development when its economy is healthily thriving as years pass. The economy is one of the most solid foundations where a civilization can lean on, and this has been proven effective at a small area in Ecuador’s Northern Highlands called Otavalo.
Hailing to be known as one of the most productive and prolific markets in Old Ecuador, Otavalo continues to flourish with local products, crafts and arts, scrumptious spices, imports and exports and the sheer industrious lot that make the town bursting with energy.
As Otavalo progressed through the decades, it has seen the best of its days as it transformed to become one of the country’s most visited spots for quality goods and souvenirs. It also morphed into a dream destination for those who seek local color, modernized pavements and the towering mountains surrounding the town.
Truthfully, Otavalo never thought of stopping, and it is quite expected for it to improve more if it continues to boast its tourism.
Surrounded by several peaks such as Imbabura, Cotachi and the Mojanda volcanic range, Otavalo is specifically perched within a low-rise landmass amid its towering borders.
On the map, the city can be found in the Imbabura Province which currently shelters 90,000 natives.
According to the Koppen Climate Classification, Otavalo is under the warm and temperate climate type with very wet winters and mild summers.
In an annual scale, the city’s average temperature is at 14.7 degrees Celsius with March, April and May regarded as the hottest months. Generally, it pours all year round, with November as the wettest month recording almost 110 millimeters of accumulated rainfall which equates to 891 millimeters of precipitation in a year.
If coming in via air, Otavalo is said to be a good two-hour bus ride from the country’s main air terminal situated in Quito. From here, tourists can avail of bus services to transport them to Otavalo with usual stops on the Panamerican Highway, which is an estimated 10-minute walk from the city center.
Once inside the city, you’ll be able to roam around by simply hailing taxis and even public buses that circulate the whole of Otavalo almost 24/7.
What to See
Instituto Otavaleno de Antropologia
An edifice easily spotted just outside the University of Otavalo, the Instituto Otavaleno de Antropologia will definitely blow you away with the wide array of collections and pieces gathered over time originally from the town itself.
This knowledge spot is home to ancient artifacts and crafts that are locally made in Otavalo and the glass-encased treasures of the town make up one of the most visited places of interest in the whole country.
Otavalo has a strong connection to animals and the Parque Condor is a clear embodiment of this trait. Originally owned by the Dutch, this rehabilitation center takes care of different types of rare and wild birds that can be enjoyed for free at scheduled times.
For you to get here, you must trek a trail stretching 2 kilometers and once you do, all of your effort will definitely pay-off once inside the complex.
Open all year long, the Crafts Market can simply be described as how it is named. Known to be very crowded and busy with vendors, locals and tourists, this area displays economics, loud haggling and the smell of quality goods.
You can shop for wooden items, rugs, tapestries, blankets, scarves, ponchos, gloves and hats made by the prolific craftsmen who live in Otavalo.
Otavalo – Lonely Planet
Otavalo Ecuador | Ecuador Explorer