Study Spanish in Otavalo
Learn Spanish in Otavalo, a small and prosperous indigenous town located in the Andes, two hours north of Quito. Otavalo has a growing population of about 30,000 people. In a valley between the inactive stratovolcano Imbabura Volcano in the south and the dormant Cotacachi Volcano in the north, the town is situated at 2,550 meters above sea level. Otavalo is considered an exemplary story of an indigenous population that turned their textile products into a global success, all while respecting and maintaining their cultural habits. Study Spanish in Otavalo and discover the unique history of the city.
The long way to success
Although not always beneficial for the inhabitants, the city’s trading and textile weaving history dates back to pre-Incan times, more than 10,000 years ago! The valley has always been a crossroad where traders from the rainforest zones would meet up with traders from Andean villages.
In the 16th century, the Spaniards colonized the region, and set up a cruel forced labor system, obligating the Otovalos to work in weaving sweatshops. While working, they would earn the right to live on the hacienda of the landowner. In 1829, Otavalo was declared independent, and since then business has went upwards.
In the 20th century, traditionally woven tapestries and sweaters from Otavalo became successful export products. In 1964, the Ecuadorian government, pressured by activists, passed an agrarian law that redistributed land ownership and allowed the indigenous population to increase their incomes. Villages in the region started to produce other handicrafts as well, such as baskets and leather products.Otavalo Photo Gallery
Nowadays, Otovalos in Ecuador and abroad continue trading their famous artesanías to every corner of the world. Plaza de Ponchos is located in the heart of Otavalo, the colorful center of the local economy. It is here where the inhabitants proudly sell their traditional woven costumes and numerous other handicrafts.
Studying Spanish in Otavalo allows you to explore the crafts markets and learn more about the reasons for the indigenous success of one of the main tourist destinations of the country. The beautiful environment offers many options for excursions and trekking in the region. The climate is spring-like all year round, with temperatures between 10° C (50° F) and 20° C (68° F). The driest months are June, July and August.