Nestled in a region of fertile soil — the perfect ground for sacred maize fields — and Andean ancestral historic site is Otavalo, whose people live under the watch of the Imbabura and Cotacachi volcanoes. The volcanoes, as legend would have it, had an affair that left everlasting scars in the mountains, which only people from this region seem to recognize.

Arriving in Otavalo’s picture perfect valley, with a beautiful lake situated below a perfectly cone-shaped volcano, is like stepping into a postcard. At the market in town, proud artisans exhibit multicolored weavings and handicrafts. It is this array of intense colors that has led to Otavalo’s reputation as the “rainbow market”. Textiles, rugs, carpets with typical Andean designs, hats, and scarfs, as well as jewelry and ceramic handicrafts are all part of the display. Before heading to a beautiful colonial hacienda for lunch, enjoy the market at your own pace for some great souvenir shopping.

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