Otavalo, Ecuador

Otavalo Markets, Ecuador

This morning I had an early start, ready for my day trip to the Otavalo Markets a couple of hours drive from Quito. I had booked a driver, Guillermo, who was fantastic. First up we drove to the animal markets at Otavalo, after stopping a few places for photos of the gorgeous scenery. The animal markets only happen on a Saturday and very early in the morning. It was fascinating! People bring a cow, a pig, a sheep, lamb, rabbits, chickens, whatever they would like to sell, and obviously if you want to buy any of these this is the place to be.

Next up we headed to the markets themselves, which are open every day, however apparently Saturday is the best day to visit. Everything imaginable was for sale for purchase by locals and tourists alike. After driving to a place with a gorgeous viewpoint over a lake nestled amongst volcanic mountains, we had lunch at a restaurant with one of the best views I’ve ever come across. And the food was sensational too. You will be pleased to hear that one more Guinea Pig (Cuy) lives today, as although Cuy is one of the specialist national dishes of Ecuador, apparently it was going to take an hour to prepare. So I had a delicious grilled trout instead. Afterwards they brought out a little taster of Punta, which is also known as Aguardiente , or ‘fire-water’. Although I hadn’t had the Cuy, apparently after you’ve killed it (by eating it) you skull a shot of Punta. Fire Water it most definitely was.

From there we headed off to a small village just north of Otavalo called Cotapachi. This town is filled with shops selling leathergoods of every possible kind – shoes, boots, jackets, handbags, belts, wallets…..Some serious damage could be done in Leathertown! Luckily I had limited time available to me, not to mention a luggage limit, but I did manage to sneak in a replacement handbag purchase, replacing the stolen one in Buenos Aires. Well, I had to do my bit for the Ecuadorian economy.

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