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Otavalo: The vibrant soul of Ecuador

 
Crédit : Municipalité de Otavalo)

(Credit: Municipality of Otavalo)

Located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes, the city of Otavalo is a window on Ecuador’s rich culture and diversity. Known for its colourful market and ancestral traditions, this city is a must for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the authenticity of Ecuador.

 

A market of a thousand colours

(Crédit : Ecuador Travel)

(Credit: Ecuador Travel)

The Otavalo market is one of the biggest and most famous in South America. Every week, the Plaza de los Ponchos comes alive with colourful stalls where artisans and traders display their creations. Textiles, ceramics, jewellery, musical instruments… each object tells a story, that of the indigenous peoples of the region. The geometric patterns of the fabrics, a legacy of pre-Columbian cultures, stand alongside the melodious sounds of Andean flutes. On Fridays and Saturdays, the market is enriched by an area dedicated to animals, where you can see cattle, horses, dogs and guinea pigs.

 

Peguche: The cradle of Andean music

(Crédit : Ecuador Travel)

(Credit: Ecuador Travel)

A few kilometres from Otavalo, the village of Peguche is a hot spot for Andean music. Segundo Lema, one of Ecuador’s greatest luthiers, lives here. In his workshop, he passionately crafts charangos, guitars and other traditional instruments, and visitors can even make their own panpipes! The melodies that emerge sound like a tribute to the cultural richness of the region. Further on, the Peguche waterfall invites you to take a refreshing break amid lush vegetation, including a forest of eucalyptus trees, and is a sacred place for the indigenous communities of Otavalo.

 

Breathtaking landscapes

Lagune Mojanda (Crédit : Ecuador Travel)

Mojanda Lagoon (Credit: Ecuador Travel)

Otavalo is not just a city of culture, it’s also a jewel of nature. Surrounded by majestic volcanoes such as Imbabura and Cotacachi, the city offers a wealth of hiking opportunities for both novices and more experienced hikers. The crystal-clear waters of the Mojanda and Cuicocha lagoons, located in the craters of volcanoes rising to over 3,700 and 3,200 metres respectively, are a haven of peace for nature lovers. For total immersion, it is possible to stay with a family from the Calera community to discover their daily life and culture.

 

Traditions and modernity

D.R.

D.R.

Otavalo is a city where tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously. Ancestral rites are still celebrated with fervour, but the city is also looking to the future. Numerous workshops offer training in craft techniques, ensuring that skills are passed on. Festivities such as the Yamor and the Inti Raymi provide an opportunity for wild celebrations where music, dance and gastronomy come together in a joyous effervescence.

 

Otavalo is a city of great diversity. With its colourful market, musical traditions, breathtaking scenery and delicious cuisine, it offers a unique, rich and varied experience, an invitation to discover Ecuador in all its splendour.

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