"Otavalo" Top 5 Page for this destination Otavalo by malianrob
Otavalo Travel Guide: 140 reviews and 407 photos
Otavalo is one of my favorite towns near Quito. It is a very indiginous town with alot of history and about two hours away from Quito. Most of the people here speak quechua and some spanish. I mostly enjoy coming here when the Otavalenos have their fiestas.
My aunt and uncle live here and whenever we come to Ecuador we always come here for a visit. I also try to pick up a few words in Quechua whenever i am here.
Statue of the Inca General Ruminahui at the entrance to Otavalo. He was the general in Atahualpa's army and defended the people against the Spanish conquistadors
Otavalo is two hours north of Quito on the Panamerican highway, is a small town of about 50,000 inhabitants and home to the famous Otavalo Indians. It lies at 2,530 meters in a spring-like valley, situated between the Imbabura volcano.
Some of the indian "wambras" walking down the street in their typical dress.
Most of the locals do not like their pictures taken. They believe that by taking their picture you steal their souls. Dont be surprised if they shy away from you if you try to photograph them or if they get mad. Some local Indians will let you take their picture for a price.
Many of the Otavalenos have become very very successful from selling their crafts to tourist or even from selling their crafts in the United States and in Europe. They travel far and there's alot of interest in their items. It often surprises me that local Ecuadorians (non indian) still see these people as inferior. I personally have always been fascinated by their culture.
History has it that Otavaleño Indians have been talented textile makers and businesspeople since ancient times, prior even to the Incan invasion. Under Incan rule in the 15th century, Otavalo became an important administrative center, as new crops and animals were introduced to the area. A year after the Spanish conquest, Ecuadorian land was parceled-out to the Spanish. In Otavalo, Rodrigo de Salazar set up a large weaving workshop ("obraje") on his land; by the mid-1500's it employed hundreds of workers and produced a large share of the textiles used in colonial South America. The Spanish introduced new tools and fibers to the weaving industry, and by the early 1600's, the Salazar workshop had become the most important in the country.
The textile boom in Otavalo really took off in the early 1960's, when Otavaleños working at Hacienda Zuleta began to use weaving techniques introduced from Scotland. And so was born the material known as Otavaleño cashmere, which with its low price and high quality soon found important customers in Ecuadorian cities. The weavers diversified their products and soon established themselves throughout the country. Now, with over 80% of the Otavaleños involved in textile industry, products from Otavalo are found in markets around the world, from neighboring countries such as Venezuela and Colombia to the United States, Europe, and even Asia.
- In a nutshell:One of my favorite towns
Traditional food from this region of Ecuador. My cousins that live in Otavalo brought me to this place and it was... more travel advice
Of course the game of choice here is soccer or futbol. I had a chance to watch a game and I blew it. I totally forgot... more travel advice
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