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“Not great” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market
Ave. Amazonas N23-23 y Veintimilla, Otavalo, Ecuador
+593 2-250-1418
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Visit Otavalo Market like an insider
Top Rated
$59*
and up
Otavalo Marketplace with Optional Lunch
Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Otavalo
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Shopping
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Attraction details
Owner description: This colorful Indian market takes place each Saturday and features some of the finest woven products in the region including ponchos, sweaters, wall hangings and shawls.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Not great”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

This is an outdoor market where you can buy touristy trinkets, weavings, etc. I don't think this is anything special - you can buy virtually everything in the market in all parts of Ecuador. This is a big stop of the tourist trail but I'm not sure why. On the positive side, the main plaza in Otavalo is wonderful.

Visited October 2013
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English first
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“It's overwhelming, haggle for sure, look for knock offs! Try to get there the day before”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

The market is huge!!! You can definitely get some good deals.. but do NOT pay the first price they say. I wouldn't say that it's amazing- I've seen the same stuff just about everywhere else... it's the sheer magnitude of how many vendors there are that makes this a nice stop.

I got there the night before the market, which is a good thing... I hear that there can be a 2 kilometer wait in line just for buses going to the market from Quito... so if you want to get up early, get some shopping done, enjoy the experience and do so at a leisurely pace, I recommend not attempting to get there the day of. You might be fine... but why chance it.

For instance- in the beginning they were asking $3 for a cheap scarf... but toward the end of the day I was getting 3 for $5.

A LOT Of this stuff is cheap knock offs made in other countries, and I've seen a lot of it in Peru also. We walked around quite a bit and on the outskirts of the city you end up finding the street with all the supply shops- so you see the coin purses, the little alpacas, the sweaters, all the little kids stuff... all in stores that supply the vendors.

You have to really have an eye for what is real and what is not- and do not ever pay the full price.

Ask around- and if you can take notes. At first you think you'll remember the prices and where you saw things- but you get really turned around because the market is so huge. I wrote down street names at the corners and what I was looking for and the price so that I could compare and find out what was a fair price and what was the gringo price.

A LOT of this stuff is just tourist fodder... but here and there you find a true artisan selling their craft, and those are the things that you want to buy. Also- beware of the jewelry- I was able to buy the pache mama necklaces for exponentially cheaper in Peru. They are REALLY overcharging on this stuff in the market- and it's exactly the same. Exactly.

If you are an animal lover I would highly suggest NOT going to the animal market. I didn't go- but I was warned by someone else on what goes on there... and it's not anything you probably want to see if you don't like animal cruelty... they are just going to kill the animals and eat them... but still.

I stayed at Hostel Cotopaxi and it was a quick and easy walk to the market and he supplied a map.

Have fun and remember to leave space for all the things you buy!

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anderson, South Carolina
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 68 cities Reviews in 68 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
“Wionderfully colorful and unique market”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

This market which runs on Saturdays year round in Otavalo, is one the most colorful and affordable markets I have had the pleasure to attend. I have had the opportunity to visit Otavalo 2x and will go back again if not only to see this market. There are handicrafts, weavings, embroideries, farm goods, and other things too numerous to mention for sale. This is one of the most colorful places in the world that I have had the privilege to visit. It is must see on the weekend when anywhere near Ecuador. The drive form Quito is approx. 2.5 hours and if you are lucky you might get to see inside some of the colorful greenhouse along the way.

Visited December 2012
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Alberta, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Both Otavalo markets worth the visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

Saturday is by far the best day to visit the market. We knew this so we took the bus from Quito on Friday and got a hotel for 3 nights. In the morning go to the animal market where the locals from all the surrounding towns attend on Saturday morning to buy and sell livestock. There are a few selling household goods and other trappings a farmer may like. Generally this is a sale for the locals but it puts on a very good showing if you just walk around for a couple of hours. Don't eat there as the smell and the worry about the cleanliness of your hands will give your stomach the cramps.
By noon you are done with the animals so then you head back into town for the handcrafted goods and foods market. You can walk for hours and not see everything. Of course you will want to purchase things to take home like cloth goods, musical instruments and clothing. If you like it buy it. Don't get too worried whether the price is not much different from buying in some of the shops in Quito. Some things are much better and others are not.
Fireworks in the daytime is not an accident. It just means there is something going to happen later that evening. Kind of like sending a smoke signal message to everyone.
There are lots of fresh fruits and veggies to buy and snack on. I would recommend you do not. Unless you can wash them with some bacterial killer, from meeting people who have eaten there are many whose stomach complained bitterly soon after. Nuff said.
My experience here may be unique but I did not have any problems with theft or safety. But then I don't set my belongings down and it was always me and my brother together.
Ecuador and Otavalo and not places that make mobility easy for disabled people. There are many locals who have disabilities but society does not provide things like ramps, elevators and special access.
Hotels are close if not stepping right out onto the market streets. So leave almost everything in the hotel and carry nothing but what you need. Stay overnight as the nightlife extends well after dark (6:30), and a one day tourbus is going to cramp your style severely by arriving just before noon and leaving well before dark.
Stroller parking! Ha. Just buy a large tablecloth and strap your kid to your back like the locals.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quito, Ecuador
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Very Costly items”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

good place to buy the local handicrafts and other souvenir items. Very crowded on Wednesday and Saturday. Items are very costly and we can get the same items for a lesser price from some of the shops in Quito city.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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