A holiday to Ecuador isn’t complete without a visit to Otavalo. This small town, located about two hours north of Quito, is one of the top Ecuador tourist attractions. The highlight of an Otavalo tour is a visit to its world-famous indigenous market. This market, offering indigenous crafts, textiles and clothing, ranks among the best in Latin America.
While achieving commercial success the Otavalan indigenas have also managed to maintain their cultural identity and traditions. Most visibly, they still wear their unique traditional dress. Otavalan men favour calf-length white trousers, grey or blue ponchos, rope sandals and dark felt hats, while women display embroidered white blouses, dark skirts and shawls, masses of golden glass beads around their necks, red bead bracelets and cloth headgear which is folded in various significant ways.
Most distinctively, both women and men wear their hair in a long single ponytail that is often tied back with a bright woven band. The traditional dress is worn daily at home and in the villages, not to impress tourists in the market.