Ecuador Indigenous Markets

Ecuador is famous for its colorful indigenous markets. The most famous of them, Otavalo, explodes into a sprawling smorgasborg of exotic colors, sounds, and smells every Saturday, as thousands of local artists and crafts people bargain with an international mix of travelers. Ecuador, especially the Sierra region, is filled with other markets in addition to Otavalo; below is a schedule of some of the more well known ones.

Market schedule:

Sunday: Santa Domigo de los Colorados, Otavalo, and Park Ejido in Quito
Tuesday: Latacunga, Otavalo
Wednesday: Pujili, Otavalo
Thursday: Saquisili, Otavalo
Saturday: Otavalo, Latacunga, Zumbahua, and Park Ejido in Quito

Otavaleña woman
preparing a tortilla.

Larger cities, such as Quito and Cuenca, also have a large selection of shops that sell traditional folkloric pieces to fine paintings. Furthermore, with the advent of the Internet, it is also possible to get great Ecuadorian handcrafts from the comfort of your home.

If you can’t wait until you get to Ecuador to buy these fine handmade goods or if you forgot to pick something up while you were here, visit these on-line shops:

Chasqui Ñan Travel – a modern day messenger, preserving and spreading knowledge of the millennia-old Andean cultures of Ecuador and Peru. The founder of Chasqui Ñan Travel is an archaeologist and university professor with over twenty years of experience organizing trips within Ecuador. Chasqui Ñan specializes in Ecuadorian and Peruvian archaeological sites and also offers tours of various Ecuadorian indigenous towns, artisan markets, and national parks. Chasqui Ñan itineraries are perfect for anyone that wants to understand Latin America and its past.

Ecuador enjoys a proud tradition of quality hat making, in no small part because of the fierce sun.

WhataHat! – did you know that Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador? Ecuador has been known for making the world’s

finest straw hats for centuries, and this tradition of quality is still going strong to this day. WhataHat! has been working directly with the weavers of these legendary hats for over twenty years. WhataHat! brings you the world’s finest straw hats and accessories direct from the weavers themselves.

The Sinchi Sacha Foundation – has a collection of indigenous made goods from small community-based programs throughout Ecuador.