Otavalo deserves more than just a day trip from Quito.
Ali Shungu Hotel
Ali Shungu Hotel is located a short walk away from the crafts market. The clean well furnished rooms are not heated but are well insulated and there is lots of hot water and plenty of blankets to keep guests cozy.
The hotel changed ownership shortly after our visit and we do not know if there has been a name change. The former owner retains the Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge (approximately 5km from Otavalo).
Hotel: Made reservations directly with Ali Shungu Hotel through email.
Tours: We did a self guided walking tour around central Otavalo and a taxi tour of sites around Otavalo.
FOOD & DRINK IN OTAVALO
BREAKFAST buffet at the hotel was ample with juice, bread, eggs, bacon, tea and coffee.
Corn kernels are commonly served prior to lunch or dinner, much like North Americans are served bread before a meal.
Hotel El Indio Restaurante – right next to Plaza de Ponchos (craft market). Here you eat with the locals; the food is simple and inexpensive.
The Pie Shop “Shanandoa” – faces Plaza de Ponchos and serves yummy fresh made pies at inexpensive prices. Owner Aide Garzon and her staff have been making pies here for over twenty-five years. “The best in the Sierra’s” say those who drive two and a half hours from Quito just to buy some. They are good and just to make sure we went there twice! We are told their sandwiches are terrific as well, but we were too full.
PLACES TO GO IN OTAVALO
Plaza de Ponchos – in the center of Otavalo. Great shopping everyday and especially after the tourist buses have left to return to Quito. On Saturday artisans from farther out bring their crafts. Pssst – be aware of pickpockets.
Animal & Livestock Market – on Saturday only 1.5 km west of town. Arrive early to see the activity.
Jose Cotacachi – master weaver with two galleries just off the main square in Peguche.
Cascada de Peguche (Peguche Waterfall) – not spectacularly beautiful as waterfalls go, but taking a stroll through an eighty year old forest and feeling fall’s refreshing mist is a pleasant break from town. Walk back to centre of town takes about an hour.
Town of Cotacachi Known for its leather goods (clothing, luggage, purses, shoes and accessories), picturesque “Leather Street” is increasingly becoming more elegant as prosperous shopkeepers vie for the attention of affluent tourists.
Parque Condor (Condor Park) is operated by a Dutch foundation which is devoted to the protection, rescue, rehabilitation and possible reintroduction to the wild of birds of prey, vultures (Andean condor) and owls. They are quick to point out that “no bird in Parque Condor was taken directly out of its natural habitat”. While we were there staff were educating classes of school children about the birds and their work.
TO & FROM OTAVALO
From Quito to Otavalo via public bus.
From Otavalo to Quito via van taxi.