The small town of Otavalo is famous for its Indian market that can be visited on Saturday, and whose origin dates back to pre-Inca times. It is a unique and festive event, where locals dressed in traditional garb, but in no case to please the visitors. The men wear white pants to the calf, rope sandals, reversible blue and grey ponchos and long hair in ponytails.
The women wear colorful embroidered blouses, shirts, long black scarves, and necklaces and bracelets of blown glass. Although only a third part of the inhabitants are white or mestizo (mix race), most indigenous people live in surrounding villages and they only go to Otavalo on market day.
The Otavalans have got traditional backstrap looms to make their clothes and tapestries. Nowadays their work is so sought that they have opened stores across the country, where they sell their products directly to stores in the U.S. and Europe. The market takes place in three Squares.
The main square is the Poncho square where you have access to a wide variety of blankets, scarves, ponchos and rugs. Haggling is an art almost mandatory. Otavalo is located north of Quito, about two and half hours by bus from Quito. Another alternative is to get there by taxi.