Otavalo has hosted a weekly market for perhaps hundreds of years. A colourful, open air market where vendors hawk anything from handmade crafts to carpets, woven scarves, shawls, clothing and all manner of trinkets. The animal market is not a sight for the squeamish …… screaming piglets, bags of chickens and guinea pigs, cows, goats, sheep, horses … all for the trading or purchase. Guinea pigs roasted on a spit are an Ecuadorian favourite! My favourite were the cute little puppies which I knew would not turn up in a soup or grilled as they are in Vietnam!!! I was tempted to bring one back to the ranch 🙂
The Indigena people of Otavalo wear traditional clothing, taking great pride in their appearance. Women wear white floral embroidered blouses, long wool skirts and head cloths, black canvas sandals and gold coloured beads …. the men, felt hats, blue ponchos, white pants and white sandals, with hair braided down their backs …. they are the Kichwa indigenous people of the region, and the most commercially successful of the twenty or so different indigenous peoples within Ecuador. The market was certainly evidence of that!
The ‘road’ to Otavalo was a different story …. More like a goat path on some stretches … and in parts, we had to wait ten minutes while logs were removed from the road so we could pass … yes, the back roads of far flung Ecuador 🙂