The Otavalo Animal Market

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Day 129: Otavalo, Ecuador

I love markets. Some tire of seeing the same tropical fruits, vegetables and trinkets but I thrive on seeing them in each city.

So I was especially looking forward to Otavalo as its famous for its Saturday market and I had planned my family’s trip around it.

There are actually two markets on Saturday morning.

The first is an animal market or the Mercado de Animales, which begins at 5am, where locals buy livestock.

I heard it was a great market to visit but it ended at 9am and required being there no later than 6:30am.

So at 6am everyone dragged themselves out of bed to walk to the outskirts of town to see the market along with locals who were herding their pigs/sheep/cows along the road to be sold.

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While I heard the market was amazing, it was a bit underwhelming although I’m not sure what I expected.

All the animals were typical livestock you see in Ecuador and at home in Canada – cows, pigs, sheep, chickens.

I don’t like stealing photos so I asked a woman cooking breakfast in Spanish if I could take a photo of her pig on an open air spit, but she requested $1 so I politely declined and it left me feeling uneasy and wanting to move on.

As my sister hates anything that smells slightly foul she was happy to leave.

As we were leaving we saw an army of tourists descend on the market with cameras ablazing.

It was a good time to leave, eat breakfast and prepare for the main market.

Join the Conversation

  1. ann wellwood says:

    AWWWWHHH Angelina, I think you should have paid that poor woman $1 for a picture of her pig!!LOL

  2. Globetrottergirls says:

    I think the more markets you experience, the less amazing they seem to you, but compared to the U.S. / Canada / Europe we still find them fascinating and love to just experience the market live. It’s a shame that the Otavalo animal market seems to be crammed with tourists now, we were really looking forward to it. How did you enjoy the main market?

  3. Ayngelina Author says:


    Main market post coming soon but it was great shopping. My advice is just to get to the animal market early before 7am as we were the only tourists until we left.

    But the woman asking for $1 just made me feel weird, I hadn’t experienced that in Central America (although I have in South East Asia) and after I declined a tourist with a zoom took the photo without asking or paying.

  4. Getting that close to the animals was a bit unnerving as we are not use to that. We usually have a fence!

  5. Michael Hodson says:

    I soooo wish I would have hit this market. Heard about it, but didn’t go back and see it. Arrgggg.

  6. I LOVE markets! Great pics.

  7. Wow, great pics! I don’t think I would have ever woken up for an Animal Market…especially that early!

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