It is a canton of the Province of Imbabura in Ecuador, one of the most important tourist destinations, visited by national and foreign tourists attracted by its cultural wealth in which Kichwa Otavalo and Blanco Mestizos peoples maintain their identity, the same that is strengthened with its myths, legends, customs and millenary traditions received by their ancestors.
The city and canton Otavalo, like the other Ecuadorian localities, is governed by a municipality as stipulated in the National Political Constitution. The Municipality of Otavalo is a sectional government entity that administers the canton autonomously to the central government. The municipality is organized by the separation of powers of executive character represented by the mayor, and another of legislative nature conformed by the members of the cantonal council. The Mayor is the highest administrative and political authority of the Canton Otavalo. He is the head of the cabildo and representative of the Municipality. The canton is divided into parishes that can be urban or rural and are represented by the Parish Councils before the Municipality of Otavalo.
The artisanal market located in a beautiful place, where thousands of artisans and merchants are concentrated, who leave every day of the week to exhibit their crafts. This cultural diversity is also combined with a variety of ecosystems that contain a very important and representative biological diversity of the region distributed among the mountains, lagoons, rivers, streams and springs that are generators of life and energy. Otavalo "Capital of Ecuadorian crafts", due to the variety and quality of products offered to visitors and the world famous indigenous market. It is the heart of the Province of Imbabura and the meeting point in the Andes above sea level. The city is located 110 kilometers north of Quito, capital of Ecuador; settled in a wide valley.
Relief in Otavalo
There are representative altitudinal differences that oscillate from 1,100m.s. in the area of Selva Alegre up to 4,700 m.s. in the Cerro Imbabura.
Weather in Otavalo
Average temperature 14º C., four seasons in the day, fresh mornings, sunny days, autumn evenings and cold nights.
It is watered by a number of rivers throughout the territory and lakes that adorn the beautiful Otavaleño landscape, highlighting the San Pablo Lake and the Mojanda Lagoons that constitute a fundamental factor that characterize the touristic potential of the region.
Cultures and traditions in Otavalo
Most important Festivals: Festival of the Lord of Sorrows on May 2 and 3; Fiestas del Yamor from 01 to September 10.
Activities of the Fiestas: The traditional Fiestas del Yamor or harvest of corn, are celebrated with popular dances, cockfights, parades and autochthonous events.
On May 2, the eve of the "Fiesta de Señor de las Angustias", a massive concentration takes place in the "May 24" market, where it is celebrated with pyrotechnic games and music from the city band. On May 3, the procession and mass is held in the sanctuary of San Luis.
Sanctuary of San Luis in Otavalo
It is known as the Matriz de Otavalo Church. Initially it was a small chapel. Between 1676 and 1679 it was transformed into a temple of ample proportions of simple architecture, of a single nave, built of lime and brick, that did not resist the scourges of the land of 1868. The new construction begins in 1880 in another location, which ended ten years later, Renaissance style, with a facade of a single basic floor of three naves and apse. The main altarpiece in the Baroque style of the master Gregorio Ortega, gilded in gold bread built in 1869. It holds the tender image of the Lord of Sorrows (1734) that belongs to the brotherhood of the same name.
El Jordán Church in Otavalo
The new temple of El Jordán that can now be admired with its wide and well lit nave, majestic dome and presbytery, was concluded between 1963 and 1964 to serve the faith of a people and their spiritual future. In 1964 the side door of Calderón Avenue was opened to give the public greater comfort but it remains closed. Currently this church is under the orders of the Franciscan Fathers; In the adjoining convent, new candidates for priests who have a large library, especially on theological topics, receive training. Relevant is the stone facade with characteristics of simplicity and sobriety.
Grotto and Cross of the Socavón in Otavalo
The Socavón is a grotto of irresistible spell, adorned with precious liquid necklaces that twinkle between cornices and moldings similar to the Greek Corinthian linking the stony band of songs with tile appearances of perfect architectural adjustment. Each stone in this grotto is a lantern from which limpid water emanates as an allegory of crystals. In the midst of this prodigious nature sits the Virgin of Montserrat considered as the patron saint of Otavalo, is honored with the celebration of the mass at the beginning of the festivities of Yamor.
Attractions Grotto and Cross of the Socavón in Otavalo
• The Socavón Cross: In the surroundings of the Socavón Cave, there is a cross of the same name, located in the viewpoint of the eastern sector of Otavalo, which is accessed through a staircase and from where you can see all the city of Otavalo.
• The Neptune Pools: It is located next to the Socavón Cave in the streets of Guayaquil and Juan de Dios Morales, in the Florida neighborhood. Here, the idea of crossing the lagoon of San Pablo emerged.
• The Barrio Monserrat, the veneration of the Blessed Mother of Jesus with the invocation of the Virgin of Monserrat is a devotion that has been taking place in Otavalo for many years and which, with some variations, is now known as the festival of yamor, festivity that in the religious aspect it has an undoubtedly mestizo root. The oldest reference indicates April 28, 1865.
Plaza de Ponchos In Otavalo
Centennial Market or "Plaza de Ponchos" here are concentrated thousands of artisans and merchants who leave every day of the week to exhibit their crafts especially on Saturdays when the fair extends to nearby streets due to its size and importance.
Lagunas de Mojanda in Otavalo
This is perhaps one of the most beautiful scenarios of Otavalo, the lagoons of Mojanda are surrounded by pajonales and remnants of native forests that maintain a representative biodiversity of the northern Andean páramos, here are three lagoons of volcanic origin. These are: Karicocha, Warmicocha and Yanacocha (male lagoon, female lagoon and black lagoon, respectively). In the large lagoon, for its ecological wealth, it is advisable to go canoeing in rowing, you can also practice sport fishing for trout.
Laguna de San Pablo or Imbakucha in Otavalo
It is a beautiful eye of water of approximately 583 hectares, with a depth of 35 meters in its central part, which houses a great variety of fauna and flora. It is guarded by the Imbabura volcano and is only 5 minutes southeast of the city of Otavalo. It is the largest lake in the province of Imbabura, here the Indians go out to fish early in the morning in their totora canoes and also take a bath and wash their clothes on the shores of the lake during the day. In addition, it is an ideal space for the practice of water sports and recreation.
Peguche waterfall in Otavalo
It is a water fall of 15 meters high by 3 wide, located two kilometers from the Peguche community and 10 minutes from the city of Otavalo. It is surrounded by an immense eucalyptus forest, inside which there is a great variety of flora, fauna and trails for the visitors to travel. It is a ceremonial site, considered sacred by the indigenous people.
Condor Park in Otavalo
It is located on the hill of Pucará, five kilometers east of the city of Otavalo. The site can be accessed through the eastern neighborhoods of the city or by Eugenio Espejo parish. The park is dedicated to the care of birds of prey, such as vultures, eagles, hawks, royal buzzards, chilies and the condor, the symbolic bird of Ecuador. None of the birds that arrive at the park have been taken directly from nature, are rescued from inadequate environments, donated or arrive through the Ministry of the Environment. Its climate is temperate and its average temperature is between 10 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Imbabura Hill in Otavalo
It is an extinct volcano. It has a height of 4,621 meters; It is located 8 kilometers east of the city of Otavalo. From its top you can see the volcanoes of the Sierra Norte. It has native forests with a great variety of flora and fauna. Within the indigenous worldview, it is considered as the "taita" or father and has given rise to several legends and beliefs.
Pucara of Rey Loma in Otavalo
It is a hill located five kilometers east of the city of Otavalo. According to historical data, it was one of the main sites of resistance of ancient populations against the Inca domain. From its top you can see an incomparable panoramic view of Lake San Pablo, the Imbabura volcano and the Otavalo valley
Cerro Fuya Fuya in Otavalo
The Fuya Fuya is preferred by tourists who like mountaineering in its different specialties. In the sector there are three trails that lead to the summit of the hill from where you can see the summit of the volcanoes Imbabura, Cotacachi and Cayambe. It is located near the Lagunas de Mojanda, passing the town of Pedro Moncayo at 17 km. south of Otavalo. It has a height of 4,275 meters. It has a temperate climate, its temperature is variable between 7 and 9 degrees Celsius. In regard to fauna we can observe several species among them we have the hare of páramo, birds like the condor, wild rabbits, curiquingues, eagles. Among the species that characterizes the flora we can find the forest of polilepis considered as a forest species, the straw, the sunfo that is considered as an aromatic plant, among others, you can also observe species that corresponds to a primary forest of the high Andean area.
Attractions Cerro Fuya Fuya in Otavalo
• Taxopamba Waterfall: Another place to visit is 4 km away via the lagoons of mojanda. There is a diversion to visit this beautiful waterfall with a walk of 25 min.
Typical Food in Otavalo
Yamor: It is a fermented chicha with low alcoholic power that is obtained from the ferment of the seven grains of corn, this drink is accompanied with a succulent dish of fried with mote, tortillas and empanadas.
Shampoos: In finados it is common to serve a dish of shampoos that is cast corn flour with mote and pineapple accompanied by guaguas of bread.
Masamorra with cuy: A traditional dish that is offered at indigenous parties is the masamorra with cuy. In finados it is customary to prepare this masamorra but with churos.
There are also other local foods, such as humitas, hornado, fritada, yahuarlocro, among others. They are found in the food and restaurant markets of the canton.