After crossing the border from Colombia to Ecuador, we arrived in the town of Tulcan. From here we caught a bus from the main terminal to Otavalo, located a further 2 and half to 3 hours away. We were slightly worried as we would be arriving at around 8pm and were not too sure as to what to expect, however we had pre-booked a hostel so we figured the worse case scenario would be a needing a taxi from terminal to hostel.
The bus did not actually go into the centre of town, but instead stopped on the cross roads, this was not a problem as there were plenty of taxis on the main road. We hailed one and went straight to our hostel, Chasqui.
The hostel was lovely, we were given the “suite” room which had amazing views across the whole town and the hosts couldn’t have been friendlier if they tried. In the end we loved it so much that we extended our stay to 5 days.
The following day we explored the town and were delighted to find everything you need on your doorstep, from supermarkets to fresh food markets. We had timed our arrival to coincide with the famous Otavalo market that occurs every Saturday, and we were not disappointed by the size of the market! The only thing we noticed was that unfortunately the market seemed to have less variety than other markets we had been to, having said you could easily spend the afternoon walking through all the stalls as the size was impressive.
We found the town to be very peaceful and extremely safe, the roads were lit at night and the main plaza was a lovely place to relax in with a coffee whilst listening to ambient music from the hidden speakers.
During our time there we also visited the nearby waterfall of Paguche, a few kilometers walk from the town. To be honest I have to say we enjoyed the walk more than waterfall as it was not very big, and the park in which it is located is quite badly littered.
We also decided on the same day to see the nearby lagoon of San Pablo. The walk took you through little villages filled with friendly people stopping to talk to you, however, when we reached the lagoon itself there was not much there.
Overall I would say that Otavalo offers visitors a very safe and laid back place to amble through nearby villages or simply take in the local cultures. The town itself is modernising but it still manages to retain its original charm as a town amongst the mountains.