I heard a noise of iron bars and bustle of talkative people since early morning. Drowsly I looked at my watch and painly with sleep deficit I realized that it was only six-thirty in the morning. Slowly as injured bear I peeked out the hostel window located on the main square of Otavalo and outdoor there was a huge group of Ecuatorians similiar to hardworking ants building stalls for traditional Saturday market widely known even beyond the borders of Ecuador.
Despite tiring more than 20 hour journey by bus I got out of the bed and decided to see as much as I can here in Otavalo because there are many things going on on Saturdays. By the way Otavalo city is said to be largely indigenous town about 100km north of Quito.
I was told that animal market takes place only on Saturdays and it starts extremely early, about 4am and last til noon. The market is situated near the Panamericana road which is the world’s longest “motorable road” according to Guinness World Records. It is easy to get there, you just have to follow a crowd, there are many people going to or from the market with hens holding them upside down :).
I got there around 9am and still I could smell the bussiness issues in the air and see plenty of animals like cows, bulls, chickens and hens, dogs, cats, hamsters, pigs, ducks… I also saw some foreigners with huge and expensive camera lenses.
Handcrafts market :
Otavalo is famous for its handcrafts market at Poncho Square (in Spanish Plaza de los Ponchos) where you can buy wide range of items- textiles, clothes, music instruments, seeds jewellry, paintings or even food. The largest market takes place on Saturday when other artists and craftsmen from nearby areas come to Otavala to expose and sell their products. Those whose life is not just black and white will surely fall in love with the market because of its absorbing wild mixture of colors. And those who like to liste to the Andean music can buy traditional instruments like quena (flute made of bamboo or wood) and zampoña (panpipe made of bamboo).
Saturdays are the most busiest but even though you get to Otavalo during week, do not worry! For sure you will find Poncho Square market open!