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Otavalo and the northern highlands: Fact file


When to go

The northern highlands have an all year round spring-like climate with temperatures averaging 21°C.  It can rain at any time in the year but most precipitation falls all year with Feb-Apr and Oct-Nov the wettest months. The main market day at Otavalo is Saturday when there are four different markets, including artisan and livestock. The towns and haciendas in the region can be busy at weekends and from Christmas to New Year.

Language

Spanish

Getting local currency

Ecuador uses the US dollar. There are banks in Otavalo but it’s best to take out money in advance in Quito where there are many ATMs.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Getting there

It’s a drive of a couple of hours on a winding upland road (58km) from Quito to Otavalo.

Combines with

The bird-filled cloud forest in the Mindo region, 37km; the Avenue of the Volcanoes, 136km.     

Key events

Fiesta del Yamor: Otavalo and other towns, first two weeks of September.  Music, dancing, fireworks, cockfights, bullfights, processions and boat races on Lago San Pablo. 
Inti Raymi and San Juan:  Around Otavalo, 24-29 Jun. Bullfights, regattas on the lake, costume parties.

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