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Andean Indian Markets

Latacunga Market full day tour

:: Only on Tuesdays and Saturdays ::
Capital of Cotopaxi Province a place where the abundance of light gray pumice has been artfully employed, offers this colorful market with local people trading fruits, vegetables, meat and a bit more. Visit the food market; it is interesting to see what the locals eat.

If the conditions are good we can see the 9 volcanic cones around Latacunga. The colonial character of the town has been well preserved. Note: Over night at Hacienda can be arranged and the next day we visit Cotopaxi National Park.

Pujili Market full day tour

:: Only on Sundays and Wednesdays ::
A small market twn located only a few miles away from Latacunga and the Quito-Ambato highway, Pujilí has a rich culture and history. Most of the inhabitants of Pujili are indigenous, and the best time to see native customs and clothing are the market days. Wednesday and Sundays. Unlike Otavalo, which is mainly for tourists, the market in Pujilí is atilla local affair.

Men and women from surrounding villages will pack up their llamas and burros early in the morning in order to come to the market and sell their extra produce for whatever mony they can make.

Professional vendors also come, bringing their wares, which are generally basic essentials like rope, knives, dishes, batteries, clocks, etc. Like the market in Saquisilí, it is more than simply a time to shop: it is also an important social activity, and locals will dress nicely and spend a good amount of time socializing. Tourists are discovering Pujili ( as well as Zumbahua and Saquisilí, the other market towns in the area), so there sill be some stalls dedicated to Otavalo-style weavings or other popular tourist goods. Pujilí itself is known for clay pottery and ceramics, which are also sold at the market. Of particular interest in Pujilí is the Corpus Christi festival in June, which features the El Danzante parades. It is a fascinating mix of Catholic and ancient native religious practices. Pujilí location makes it an ideal place to combine with other daytrips to the Cotopaxi area or on a travel day between Quito and Banos or Riobamba.

For a small town, it has an interesting history: the citizens of Pujilí fought bravely in the war of independence. One of Ecuador’s presidents, General Gullermo Rodriguez Lara, was a native of Pujilí. The town was devastated bye an earthquake in 1996, but has since been reconstructed.

Quilotoa Market full day tour

:: Only on Saturdays ::
Just off the loop road about 14 kilometers north of Zumbahua lies the wee village of Quilotoa and the mysterious emerald waters of its illustrious volcanic crater lake. Jagged rocky cliffs drop 400 meters down from a fully encircling rim trail to meet the massive reflective pool below.

The bizarre opaque-green of the lake , paired with the distant snowcapped peaks of Illiniza Sur and Cotopaxi, set a truly awe-inspiring scene.The activities in the area are mostly of an athletic nature. Hike to the spectacualar Quilotoa Volcanic Crater with its turquoise waters, passing a handful of farms and local families going about their daily business on the way. Bike the mostly downhill ride to the Sunday market at Sigchos. Rent horses for a morning ride to the local cheese factory or cloud forest with waterfalls and a variety of birds plants and wildlife.

In 30 minutes, you can climb down to the shores on a cut path just below the parking area- the steep return trip takes at least double that (or for a few bucks you can hop on a donkey and save weary legs). Kayaks are available for rent at the end of the trail, though the lake has no outlet and you mustn’t swim or drink from the stagnant alkaline waters. Relatively fit hikers can make the four to five-hour trek around the entire circumference of the crater, or walk a trird of the way around it and on to Chugchilan.

One stretch of dirt road and the scattering of houses and tiny businesses make up the small village of Quilotoa, which lies just before the crater lake and seems to only exist in response to tourism.
The magnificent Quilotoa Volcanic Crater lake is one of the most beautiful craters in Ecuador, with turquoise water and excellent hiking paths.

Guamote Market full day tour

:: Only on Thursdays ::

The Guamote market in the Ecuadorian Andes takes place only on Thursdays. When you look to the town from a mirador you will see the whole town dressed in red which comes from the red ponchos wore by the locals who especially come to the town this day for the market.
Most indigenous come to the town on this day with the purpose to sell their sheep, pigs, cattle, horses, llamas, potatoes, cereals, wool, handicrafts, clothing and tools. Others simply come out of custom and ancestral ritual to meet with friends and take advantage of this time to catch up on the fascinating cosmo-visions that they share.
The exchange of goods or bartering as a form of trade still exists in Guamote.

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