I can heartily give a big thumbs up for the local market in Otavalo, Ecuador. Some folks will try to tell you that you can find bargains just as good in the Mariscal district in Quito but they’re not telling you the entire truth. Bargains can be had in both places but Otavalo definitely has more variety of goods. Where you might find several vendors selling the exact same scarves or sweaters or hats in Quito, you’ll find those vendors and more selling unique versions that can’t be found anywhere else but Otavalo.

The trick with Otavolo is to show up on market day. There are vendors every single day in the Plaza de los Ponchos, but Saturday market day is special and folks come from outside of town to sell their wares. The streets are chock full of people selling everything from woven goods to musical instruments to oil paintings. At the Saturday market, we found the best spice vendor around. Just the scent of her freshly ground peppers and spices attracted us to her stall. Her prices encouraged me to buy generously. We found beautiful artwork and made purchases from a watercolor artist of world class caliber. We bought woven blankets and throws. Basically, we found the bargains we were looking for and enjoyed ourselves immensely.