Witness the Weaving Masters at Work
For unique handwoven attire at reasonable prices (depending on your bartering skills) few places come close to Otavalo. This small indigenous town, sunken between the volcanic peaks of Imbabura, Mojanda and Cotacachi hosts a market renowned throughout the Andes. Every Saturday, the town explodes into vivacious colours as vendors peddle their wares such as ponchos, sombreros, sweaters, blankets and scarves. If you fancy less shoulder jousting with other shoppers then go midweek and test your bargaining skills at Plaza de los Ponchos (insider tip: always offer 1/3 of the price). To see the weavers at work, join a tour with local experts Tropic (www.destinationecuador.com) or drive five minutes down the road to Agato. Walk the streets listening to each house for a murmur from traditional looms. Most weavers welcome tourists with open arms and are glad to demonstrate the intricate process. You might just pick up a cheeky bargain too.
By Simon Willis, AFAR Local Expert
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