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You are here: Home > Explore Ecuador & Peru > Andes Tours > Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market, Peguche & Cotacachi

Otavalo Market Ecuador


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Just two hours north of Quito lie the lush volcanic highlands. Our destination is the Otavalo market. As we pass into the highlands, we are treated to a sweeping view of Imbabura and Cotacachi Volcanoes rising above San Pablo Lake.

This land is rich in friendly and colorfully attired indigenous people, historic working haciendas, and volcanoes with verdant slopes and lakes.  It is an excellent opportunity to visit various indigenous communities that distribute their daily life between farming and crafts, which are later on sold at the handcraft Otavalo market. 

The main attraction here is the Otavalo market, which dates back thousands of years and is famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries. We will also visit an open-air food market with a colorful array of produce, spices and world-renown flowers.


Peguche Weaving Village

The Village of Peguche in Ecuador

Peguche is a small community close to the Otavalo market. It is famous for the beautiful waterfalls not too far away from the village, as well as for its back-strap weaving. A trip to the waterfalls is a great way to enjoy the beautiful nature, without going to far off the beaten track. Many of the weavings being sold in the Otavalo market come from Peguche. Eventhough there aren't a lot of workshops open for visitors, we will take you to a few to see a spectacular back strap weaving demostrations in process from local indian weavers.

Cotacachi Leathercraft Village

Cotacachi Leathercraft Village in Ecuador

Cotacachi is a charming small village that is just 20 minutes away from the Otavalo market by car or bus. Unlike the Otavalo market, which is a highly busy, Cotacachi is less crowded. The village of Cotacachi provides a number of local handicraft products sold in numerous stalls set up in the village plaza. These include a variety of colourful textiles & fine leather products. Cotacachi’s narrow streets are filled with shops that offer all kinds of leather goods of incredible quality and at a great bargain. Here you can find the latest fashion styles in leather boots, bags and jackets.

Cuicocha Crater Lake

Cuicocha Crater Lake in Ecuador

Just 20 minutes from the Otavalo Market is Cuicocha, a 3 km (2 mile) wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the western range of the Ecuadorian Andes. The name of the lake comes from the Quichua Indigenous language meaning: "Lago del Cuy" or "Guinea Pig Lake" due to the shape of the largest Island found in the center of the lake that resembles a guinea pig. The caldera was created by a massive eruption about 3100 years ago , but the volcano has been dormant since that time.

At Cuicocha we can enjoy a wonderful partial hike around the crater lake or a ride in a motorized canoe to get a closer look at the islets and the fumarole bubbles that rise up from the bottom of the lake. We will also have the opportunity to see highland hummingbirds and orchids besides the spectacular Andean scenery.

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