Otavalo - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Otavalo


Ecuador is famous for its colourful, indigenous markets, and the best known of these is market day at Otavalo. It dates back to pre-Inca times, when jungle products were brought up from the lowlands to be traded for highland goods. Every Saturday is a wonderful sprawling mix of rich colour, smells and the sounds of energetic bargaining, an essential part of trade and an art in itself. Spread over three plazas and the surrounding streets, thousands of local otavaleñosin striking traditional dress sit among their wares, doing hard business with tourists and locals alike. The Plaza de los Ponchos is the main area for crafts like woollen blankets, bright ponchos and jerseys, colourful bags and woven tapestries. It is possible to buy almost anything from fresh fruit and rain sticks, to jewellery and dried lentils. First thing in the morning is the noisy animal market on the edge of town where llamas, pigs, horses and cows are bought and sold after furious haggling.

Information & Facts

Spanish is the official language, but Quechua is the main language spoken among the indigenous people.

The US Dollar (USD) is the official currency in Ecuador. In 2000 the sucre was replaced by the dollar as the legal currency, but despite dollarization, the sucre will likely persist in rural areas for a while longer. It is recommended that travellers bring both US dollar notes and travellers cheques as other foreign currencies are difficult to exchange outside of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. Small denominations in good condition are the easiest to exchange outside of the main cities. In the main centres most currencies can be exchanged at banks and exchange houses ( casas de cambio) at variable commission rates. ATMs are available in the cities, and major credit cards are accepted in tourist areas and large hotels although a commission of 6-8% is often charged.

Opening Times
Plaza de los Ponchos: 7am to 6pm. Animal Market: 5am to 10am. The Produce market on Plaza 24 de Mayo is open from 7am to 2pm
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