Taking a break from the life of luxury at our lodge, Kelsi and I spent our Saturday in Ecuador at the outdoor market in Otavalo. As one of South America's largest markets, we had heard a lot of stories prior to our visit and we were excited for some great shopping and sights. Every Saturday people from Otavalo (Otavaleños) and the surrounding villages converge on the center of town for an animal market, food market and artisan craft market .
We started our day at the animal market, on the outskirts of town, where we took in the sights of cows, goats, chickens, pigs and pretty much any animal you can think of being sold. The crowds and the smells overwhelmed us, so we didn't stay long, just enough to snap a few pictures of the organized chaos.
Animal market - care for a cow?
The proper way to carry a live chicken.
Next we headed over to the food market. Based on the delicious fruit we were eating at the lodge, I knew this would be a sight to see! The fruits, vegetables, and grains were all so brightly colored and looking absolutely stunning. Also, seeing all the fruit that people bring to town every week was impressive. I cannot imagine bringing all that fruit and arranging it just so!
Finally, we ended at the Plaza de Ponchos for the artisan market. Mostly female vendors set up shop to sell blankets, pajamas, purses, jewelry, paintings, mugs, artwork, alpaca ponchos nad more. They are all pretty friendly and seemed happy to talk to us about their work as well as to bargain for prices. We ran into some friends at the market, shopped around, found a cute cafe for lunch and enjoyed the commotion of the plaza.
Jewelry for sale! Ecuadorian women wear a lot of red necklaces and bracelets to represent the red of the earth.
A variety of paintings and art. I bought something similar to these with a scene from a traditional town square set in brown, pink and green tones!
Art made from eucalyptus leaves.
For more information and more photos about the market check out this blog.