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Otavalo

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About Otavalo

A small and charming Andean city, buzzing with life and culture. Otavalo is famous for its Mercado Artesanal - an enormous Saturday market ran by indigenous families of the Otavalo community, selling everything from Panama hats and ponchos to jewellery and paintings. Otavalo is also the perfect stepping stone to great horizons - like the stark and breath-arresting peak of Imbabura, a tall mountain that, as legend has it, is the All-Father and protector of the Native American tribes. With streets that buzz with life, and sidewalks stamped with the colours of the Ecuadorian flag, (red, blue and yellow), it boasts the most successful local indigenous group in all of Latin America, known by their white trousers, long braided hair and dark ponchos. From visiting the fascinating local museums, hiking in the mountains, taking a traditional cooking class with an indigenous family to learning the art of flute-making in a local workshop, there's plenty to see and do here. The best places to stay in Otavalo blend modern comforts and tradition seamlessly.

What not to miss

  • Head out of the city and hike through Peguche and see the sacred waterfall.
  • Browse the overflowing indigenous market of Mercado Artesanal.
  • Immerse yourself in indigenous history and culture at the Museo del Pueblo Kichwa.
  • Take a guided tour of Imbabura, the sacred mountain.
  • Check out Wayra Nan, an instrument-making workshop, and make your own flute in a day.
  • Learn how to cook indigenous cuisine at Kawsaymi, a family-run farm 15 minutes out of the city.

Full of life, light, colour and culture, Otavalo is a great travellers destination, particularly for those wanting to hike in the Andes. Find out more by browsing through our list of the best places to stay in Otavalo.

The Best Places to Stay in Otavalo

Hacienda chic

  • The Hacienda Zuleta is a luxuriously converted, 14 rooms ranch with floor to ceiling windows and beautiful decor. Spend your days riding horses or exploring the land on foot, before returning to a superb home-cooked Ecuadorian dishes. A truly authentic rural experience.

Hacienda rustica

  • Hacienda Cusin is a beautifully converted estate in the Ecuadorian Sierra, offering charming rooms adorned with a blend of antiques, local textiles and fireplaces. Enjoy the sumptuous regional cuisine in this truly authentic experience. An utter delight! Great value for money too.

For an apartment or hacienda

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of haciendas and apartments in the nearby area.

Travel information

  • The best time to go is during the dry season (winter) between June and September when the temperature averages at around 22 degrees.
  • Otavalo is approximately two hours north of Quito, so fly to Quito and get a bus or taxi to Otavalo.
  • If you want to rent a car we recommend contacting our partner Rentalcars.

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Best Hotels in Otavalo

  • Hacienda Cusin Otavalo 44 rooms from £94

    Country Escape  -  A restored estate in the stunning Ecuadorian sierra. The ideal space to get outdoors and unwind.
    Sights nearby  -  Discover the Cochasqui earth pyramids dating back to 800 A.D.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    Full of character
    RestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

    A lovingly converted estate boasting an enviable location amongst the Ecuadorian Sierra. Charming rooms are traditional in style with antique furniture, warm hues, local textiles and fireplaces. Feast on regional cuisine and spend days in the great outdoors. A truly authentic experience. See More

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  • Hacienda Pinsaqui Otavalo 20 rooms from £119

    Romantic Break  -  Couples love the romantic rooms at this traditional hotel; book a luxury suite for beautifully preserved heritage features
    Country Escape  -  Situated in a beautiful natural setting, this hacienda makes for a tranquil escape to the country
    Local exploring  -  Nestled in the heart of the Imbabura Province, there is lots to explore local to this hotel
    Cooking classes  -  Learn to cook Ecuadorian dishes with the hotel's chef; cooking classes are a great activity for couples or a family
    RestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    This traditional hacienda is located in the heart of the Imbabura Province of Ecuador. The hotel's classically dressed rooms feature wooden floors, antique furniture and local textiles; book a honeymoon suite for beautiful heritage features. Enjoy fine dining at the hotel restaurant; a chic getaway. See More

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  • Hacienda Zuleta Otavalo (Comuna Zuleta) 14 rooms from £487

    Country Escape  -  Have a quintessential rural Ecuadorian experience (albeit a luxurious one).
    Active Holiday  -  Enjoy the great outdoors over long walks or horse treks.
    Birdwatching  -  The unique biodiversity in the area makes this an excellent spot for bird watchers.
    Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A luxury converted ranch packed full of charm. Gloriously light rooms feature domed floor to ceiling windows, parquet flooring and antique furniture. Spend days riding horses or exploring the land on foot before returning to superb homemade Ecuadorian dishes. A truly authentic rural experience. See More

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