At the Otavalo Market Ecuador, every Saturday, at dawn. Men and woman arrive at this place. Men, with their white trousers and long braids and women, with embroidered blouses, skirt, blue shawl, gold necklaces and bracelets of red mullos (beads). Begin to set up in each position their products for sale. The fair also extends to the surrounding streets, but note this fair takes place all year round with the difference that other days Otavalo Market is smaller.
Visitors can walk in the middle of thousands of tapestries, ponchos, thick handwoven wool bags, hats, gloves, scarves, embroidered blouses, the famous belts used as belts by the natives, espadrilles, shigras, dresses and much more, all of them made with wool or cotton.
Due to the variety of it´s local and regional handicrafts, European and North American buyers compare it with the Artisan Market of Pisac, in the Sacred Valley of Cuzco-Peru.
According to artisans, foreigners buy their work because they are made 100 percent by hand. “The tapestries and the ponchos are sold very quickly for the quality of their elaboration and the artistic details that we print”, says Manuel, owner of one of the shops of the place.
This market is managed by indigenous Otavaleños. The clothing is made by independent artisans of the city and several surrounding communities, such as Taxopamba, La Joya, Quichinche, Selva Alegre or Apuela y Agato.
Otavalo Ecuador Market Prices
The prices are a plus of the Otavalo Market. The ponchos cost from 10 dollars to 35; the hammocks, between 25 and 35 dollars; the shigras, between 8 and 35 dollars. scarfs are the main products of the square.
“It’s beautiful, very beautiful. We like Otavalo, “said Linda Walston, an English tourist, after buying a $ 25 wallet.
In addition to wool and cotton products, the market offers other lines such as ceramics, jewelry, embroidery and other applications, among them the handcrafted chess boards, which have been elaborated based on pine, mahogany and cypress wood.
“The chess that calls most attention to tourists is the one that shows the rivalry between Indians and Spaniards, thus recalling the wars that took place during the conquest,” said Fabian Andrango, after selling a board to a French tourist for 35 dollars.
In the same way, it happens with paintings. Canvases of the “Taita” Imbabura”, the “Sun God” and the alpaca wool carpets, which are easily bought in the square, its approximate cost ranges between 150 and 200 dollars, depending on the size.
Otavalo Market Ecuador Visitors
Every weekend an average of eight to ten thousand visitors received at the Otavalo Market, not only in the “Plaza de Ponchos” but to all the attractions of the city. On holidays, Ecuadorians visit this market in large numbers.
Andrango says, that due to the large number of tourists and to benefit the producers on the intermediaries, the city’s mayor is doing feasibility studies for the ordering and readjustment of the Plaza de Ponchos, “as well as the design of the model of management of the second stage of the craft marketing center, “he said.
Otavalo Market Ecuador Facts
The current structure of the Plaza de Ponchos was designed in 1972, with funding from the Dutch government and with the support of the Institute of Anthropology. In this year, the Dutch architect Tony Swollo, created the new Plaza de Ponchos, more organized and with a better image, since then, many of the merchants no longer attended only on Saturdays, but it became a weekly fair.
However, its history is tens of years old. Its origin is located in 1870 when former President Gabriel García Moreno decreed that on Sundays the crafts of Otavalo could be sold in this place.
This place, in its beginnings, provided a space for sport, especially for the game of the handball, while many men and women from communities put on display their work in wool and products of the land.