great location for:

The Andean market town of Otavalo is the place to visit if you are looking for a set of pan pipes, a Panama hat, or an alpaca poncho. To the north of Quito, Otavalo comes alive every Saturday when the town is transformed into South America’s largest open air market. Fresh fruit and vegetables are traded alongside Indian art, hammocks, carvings and musical instruments. Artisans from across the country pack the streets, and the town has a carnival feel to it.

During the rest of the week things quieten down, however many shops do stay open and bargains can still be found. The surrounding countryside is beautiful and there are a number of nearby traditional and atmospheric haciendas in which to stay.