Friday morning I grabbed a bus from Baños back to Quito, and then transferred to another bus that would take me north on the Panamericana, to the city of Otavalo. I would visit the famous Saturday markets that have been held here since ancient times.
I arrived in the early evening and checked into the Hotel Otavalo, which is in a very nice refurbished colonial-style building. After checking in, I headed to the city center for some fun. For dinner I went to a Sicilian pizza place, where an excellent indigenous band was playing some folk music. I also tried a local dish called Cuy, which is literally guinea pig. I thought it tasted good, sort of like frog legs, but there wasn't a lot of meat on it.
Saturday morning I got up early to check out the animal market just outside of town. Otavaleños were bringing in cows and pigs on rope leashes, and there appeared to be an auction taking place in the center of the market. I watched the action from up above on a nearby hill with other curious gringos.
The artesan market is where countless weavings, jewlery, and pottery can be purchased. I was impressed by the size of the market, which fills the Poncho Plaza and spills into all of the surrounding streets. Unlike the animal market, this one definitely caters to tourists hungry for souveniers. I picked up a poster, some jewelry, and a carving while I was there.