Many visitors to Ecuador make the trip up to the market town of Otavalo as a day trip. Otavalo is home to the famous, and largest, indigenous market in South America. We were told that many tourists opt to take the “day excursion,” paying $50 to catch the bus in Quito in the early morning and returning again that night. We have a suggestion to make: take your time, save some money, and enjoy what Otavalo has to offer.
From Quito, we took a taxi up to the Terminal Carcelen (northern) bus station and bought tickets for the bus to Otavalo for less than US $3 each. Even though many buses depart each hour, we were surprised to be guided to a bus that took off within 5 minutes. We sat on the right side for good views, sat back, and relaxed. Between watching the scenery and a Robert deNiro movie, “The Intern” in Spanish, we were totally entertained.
We traveled with old friends, Jo and Louise, and the four of us had decided to stay in Otavalo for 3 days, going against the common advice of limiting the trip to just one day.
Our second day we headed up to a nearby village of Agato to visit Miguel Andrango, one of the best weavers in Ecuador. A scenic country road took us to the Peguche waterfall, where we had lunch at a simple cafe before heading down to Otavalo.
We enjoyed our 3-day excursion to Otavalo but for a different reason than most people who make the trip. While we enjoyed the indigenous market and making deals for gifts to take home, it paled in comparison to the other delights of the trip that were totally unexpected. And that’s what we always hope for in our travels.
(For more about Otavalo, see our previous posts: “The highpoint of our trip to Otavalo” and “A Sunday stroll from Agato to Otavalo”)