We had the loveliest day on earth for our visit to Otavalo. Both of us were seasoned market visitors in several parts of the world; so it's hard to impress us, but we loved it! There's tons of genuinely handmade stuff alongside machine-made stuff and on top of that a bunch of stuff obviously from outside Ecuador. Only a champion shopper who needs no sustenance or water could possibly canvass the whole thing in one day, but there are plenty of food options along the way and even a few benches to sit on and re-group. I bought coca cream for arthritis and a light alpaca sweater ($15); my friend got lucky when we found a true artist and she bought a piece that should be in a gallery somewhere. The colors of all the goods against the azure sky and beautiful buildings and people were so intoxicating that we plan to return, even though we cured ourselves of shopping long ago (we thought so, anyway). You can't not go if you're in the Andes. If you're looking for leather, though, go to Cotacachi--those folks apparently don't sell in Otavalo.
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