Otavalo From Above

Otavalo, Ecuador, January 2012
Otavalo, Ecuador, January 2012

Otavalo is home to the largest artisanal craft market in South America. The Otavaleños (people from Otavalo), especially the indigenous Kichwa community, are known for their textile work and the market is made up of stall after stall of clothing, bags, blankets, hats, belts, jewelry, and artwork of all kinds. This central plaza is always packed with vendors, but on Saturdays the market spills over into the nearby streets taking up as much as a third of the town. The crafts mostly appeal to tourists while the nearby animal market caters to locals. When I visited, there were still plenty of tourists (such as myself) around taking photos of the animals and people, but not many gringos are in Otavalo to buy live cuy, chickens, or pigs.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.

Leave a Reply