Otavalo is a local city surrounded by volcanoes. Known as the multicultural Capital of Ecuador due to its diversity. Its primary site is the Peguche waterfall, situated within the preserved Forest of Peguche. Another local site is Otavalo Condor Park. If you have plans of visiting this beautiful South American city, this article is for you.
Here’s a list of ten cool things you can do in Otavalo:
10 Fun Things To Do In Otavalo
1. Otavalo Market
Is Otavalo market worth visiting? The answer is yes.
The Otavalo market is open every day, but Saturday is the primary market day, and on this day, the market spreads out from Plaza de Ponchos almost wholly covers the middle of the town. Stalls sell multi colored shawls, sweaters, and other handicrafts at fair prices. Since this is a market, bargaining is shared here, so prepare yourself with basic Spanish and sharpen your negotiating talents.
If you are not into buying anything, you can walk around the market and enjoy the view of local people coming in and out. Otavalo holds to their culture and tradition despite these contemporary times. Also, you will find locals wearing traditional clothing and men with long braided hair.
2. Lago San Pablo Lagoon
The San Pablo Lagoon, situated at the base of the magnificent Imbabura Volcano, provides different routes leading to natural attractions like the El Lechero and Mira Lago, the former of which is situated on one part of the Pan Americana.
According to myths, Lake San Pablo was formed out of love. Otavalo has an attractive lake that originated at the ridge of the Imbabura volcano. The story is told by a local couple whose family could not let their romance survive, so she changed into a lake, and he became El Lechero, an old tree whose branches duplicate his beloved’s eternal embrace. Today, it is a splendid site where you can take in the beauty of Andean culture.
3. The Cuicocha Crater Lake
One of the most famous things around Otavalo, Ecuador, is to visit the Cuicocha crater lake. Perfect for hiking. A complete tour around the beautiful lake takes between 4-5 hours. An authentic outdoor experience through unique vegetation and fauna, which you can also enjoy during a shorter lake tour. Permanently enjoy views of the lake, but also the surroundings. From the rim, you can spot several towns and many smaller villages. And also the highest mountains of Ecuador, like the Cotacachi, the Cayambe, and the Cotopaxi. Small boats can take you around the two islands between the lake during holidays and weekends.
4. Lagunas de Mojanda
One of the top things to do in Otavalo is to hike around Lagunas de Mojanda. It is located in a small remote area surrounded by mountains. The simplest way to get there is to hire a taxi. It is not advisable to hike the Fuya -fuya mountain when the clouds are low as it is easier to go off track in a hazy mountain. You will also enjoy the peaceful panoramic sights of the lake while having a picnic.
5. The Condor Park
Another “Thing to do” closer to Otavalo, Ecuador, is at Condor Park. You’ll find the Condor Park above Otavalo, on the eastern hill. The park is devoted to the of birds of prey rescue . The park is gorgeous for a visit, but there are also two daily flight shows. Additionally, from Condor Park, you can also enjoy the beautiful sights of the Awakening Valley of Otavalo and the Lake of San Pablo.
6. Cascada de Peguche
The path to Cascada de Peguche is narrow and small, although you will find another waterfall and a stunning cave. You can take a taxi if you don’t want to walk the path. There is a non-compulsory entrance fee, and narrow to the Peguche Waterfalls, it’s usually around one to two dollars. The way that leads to the majestic falls is appropriately preserved.
There are luscious eucalyptus trees along the way. You may also notice a small artisan museum next to the waterfalls. If you are up for more exploring, there is a path on the right side of the waterfall where you can climb and find a small cave.
7. Village tour around Otavalo, Ecuador
Around Otavalo, you’ll find many little villages like Peguche, Agato, La Companía, San Rafael and others, where you’ll find many workshops. These family workshops are the leading producers of handicrafts for sale in Otavalo’s famous marketplace, the Plaza de Ponchos. Foremost weavers, but also hat makers, instrument makers, and woodworkers. Besides handicrafts, the little village of Iluman is known for shamanism.
8. Thermal springs Chachimbiro
If you want to relax, we recommend a visit to the Thermal springs of Chachimbiro, only an an hour’s drive from Otavalo (by taxi). There are several options, but we recommend the Hacienda Chachimbiro. Mainly because it’s a spacious area with a beautiful garden, besides being friendly and clean, and they have a good restaurant on the site.
9. The Authentic Rural area around Zuleta
You can take a beautiful tour from Otavalo to the Beautiful and Authentic Rural Andean area around Zuleta, Imbabura. Ideal for hiking, biking, horse riding, touring, or a picnic.
10. The Archaeological Site of Cochasqui
You can officially visit the many archaeological remains that are spread over the country. One of them is the Pre-Inca site of Cochasqui – constructed and occupied from 850AD until the Spanish domination in the 1530s.