Information & Guidance for Coastal Living At It's Finest

Indigenous Market Items
Otavalo & Surround Villages

Posted 1-19-2012


Ecuador probably has more Indian markets than any other South American country. On any given day you can find shawls, ponchos, blankets, scarves, hats, woodcarvings, tagua nut jewelry & crafts, leather products, and wall hangings, along with jungle fruits, home grown vegetables to include homemade mountain brew.

One of the favorite places to see and buy any of the listed items to include much more is Otavalo which is a plane ride to Quito from Manta then a two-hour drive from Quito to Otavalo. Every morning the Otavalo Indians set up their wares in the public square from farm products, handcrafted pottery and a variety of hand-loomed woolens from ties to ponchos. The big days are Wednesday and Saturday.

The Otavalo’s are descendants of the Incas and they have kept alive the ancient Inca method of dyeing and weaving woolens. A sweater that might cost $100 in New York can be purchased in Otavalo for $20, while an imported rug with a $500 price tag in Miami goes for about $50.

The artisans make efficient use of such raw materials as nuts, beads, wood, precious metals & stones, leather and wool to craft their wares. Artifacts commonly found include traditional musical instruments like the panpipe (or rondador); a myriad of styles of jewelry made from beads, stones and precious metals; hats (including the Panama Jack and Fedora); wood carvings; dolls; paintings and clothing. After seeing a few items you will realize the woven is done mostly by hand. You will also see scarves, table cloths, bags, blankets, sweaters, and hammocks, all with bright colors.

However, to have an opportunity right here in Manta to purchase the same items displayed and sold in Otavalo.  When a cruise ship arrives into the Manta Port (check the "Events Calendar" for dates) Artisans from Otavalo bring their crafts to Manta to sell to the visitors arriving on the cruise ship.  So, you get to walk or Taxi to the Plaza de Civica, here in Manta to enjoy browsing through the many different vendors displaying their handmade crafts from Ecuador. This market is set up and located on the Malecon near town at the "Plaza de Cívica just pass the port on the right in a little square area.

The pictures taken are from a personal tour in Otavalo and surrounding villages to include visiting the homes of the many indigenous artisans who make and sell their crafts at the markets.


by Al Jr

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