Set within beautiful countryside, the city of Otavalo is famous for its talented weavers, crafts and especially for its colourful Saturday livestock market. This is the main market day, but there is a market daily. The Otavaleños are a strikingly proud race of people. These highland Indians speak Quichua as their primary tongue and Spanish as their secondary language.
Otavalo is famous for its textiles, nearby Cotacachi is the centre of Ecuador's leather industry and in San Antonio the specialty is wood carving- making this the perfect destination to stock up on those holiday souvenirs. Test your nerve with the locals as you barter over that must-have poncho or scarf.
Stay at one of the cosy colonial haciendas where roaring fires, metre thick walls and delicious food are the order of the day, and pedigree horses and mountain bikes are on hand to explore the charming surroundings.
The scenery here is simply stunning: think patchwork hills, lush pastures, volcanoes and emerald crater lakes. Make the most of the terrain and head off for a hike, or explore on horseback or mountain bike. Then relax at the end of the day by one of the fires in your traditional hacienda.