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Cuicocha Caldera and Lake, Nr Otavalo, Ecuador


Otavalo and the surrounding villages are famous for their dazzling textiles and intricate handicrafts, which are on proud display at the famous indigenous market held on an enormous scale each Saturday in the central ‘Poncho Plaza’.

Observe proud Otavalenos dressed in traditional attire bartering with tourists over stalls piled high with a vast array of goods, while children play happily at their feet and artisans exchange their earnings for food staples and livestock. It is a sight to behold and a photographer’s delight. Irresistible souvenirs include quality woollen blankets, scarves, sweaters, tapestries, ponchos, jewellery and embroidered clothing. Leatherwork comes from the nearby village of Cotacachi and beautiful woodcarvings from San Antonio de Ibarra.

Otavalo Market, Ecuador
Otavalo Market, Ecuador

A little more about Otavalo

The Imbabura province offers a host of scenic trekking or horse riding possibilities from the majestic torrents of Peguche Waterfall to the picturesque crater lake of Cuicocha, and the excellent bird watching opportunities at Mojanda Lakes. Make your Ecuador tour more memorable by staying in a local hacienda, a colonial farming estate turned into a beautiful, secluded hotel with period decor and local home grown produce.


Horse Ride to Cuicocha Lake

Saddle up and ride over the Andes towards a crater lake that lies at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano.

Hike to Peguche Waterfall

Discover the 18-metre-tall Peguche Waterfall. It is of great religious significance to the locals and is a wonderful spot for cooling off after a hike.

Peruse the Otavalo Craft Market

Shop for artisan carvings, colourful llama wool blankets, ponchos, jewellery and freshly baked breads at the largest craft market in South America.

Birding at Mojanda Lake

Journey to Mojanda Lake in the summit caldera of the inactive stratovolcano. Look out for Andean condors and chestnut-winged cinclodes.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Bird

From quaint Andean villages and colourful markets to staggering volcanic landscapes and the Amazon Rainforest, Paul has explored the length and breadth of Ecuador.
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James Armitage

This small country encapsulates the continent of South America, and James has been privileged to visit the Amazon, the Andes, the coastal regions and the enchanting Galapagos Islands.
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John Faithfull

John rode the railways of Ecuador on the carriage roof before it was outlawed, but still recommends a jaunt along the Devil’s Nose – an engineering marvel that can still be enjoyed from inside a carriage.
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Roxy Dukes

I love to squeeze as much out of my day as possible. An outdoors fanatic, I love to delve into harsh environments having summited numerous mountains and trail running into the unknown whenever I get the chance – whether at home or overseas. Funnily enough, it didn’t start like that. It took a few years for the burning fire of adventure to truly take light with my eyes opened by the adventures travel could afford.
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As usual all aspects of this trip went like clockwork, even thought we were in South America where timings can be different to other parts of the world! This we put down to the work done by Paul and his knowledge of the country.

Destination: Ecuador
Travel Expert: Paul

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