Quito has its own artisan market, which is just a bit south of the Plaza Foch. It is super close to my house, so I go quite often. The market featured all of the goods that make the Otavalo market famous (textiles, jewelry, leather goods), but in a smaller, easier-to-navigate space. In addition, many of us feel we can get better bargains in Quito.
Hopefully all the text I wrote is legible. Some of the goods you'll see a lot at the market are carved statues or jewlery made of a white stone. That is tagua, a very popular material, which is a "nut" with the appearance of ivory. It can be dyed, and often is for earrings and bracelets. Anyways, there is a huge array of goods at the market, and you can get some great deals – under $20 for a hammock, under $15 for an alpaca blanket, under $5 for earrings made with real stones, and so on. Ecuador uses the American dollar so it easy to negotiate. I filled up an entire duffel bag with gifts for family and friends, as well as keepsakes for myself.
I think I bought some of the best Christmas gifts ever in this market, and spent less than I have in years. I got myself a really nice blanket that I hope can keep me warm when I’m back in my frigid Iowa dorm room!
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<p>I'm Oonagh (ooh-nah), a junior at Grinnell College, and a Political Science major who fancies herself an occasional artist and a lifelong doodler. I'm very excited and mildly terrified to start my stay in Quito, but I'm very much looking forward to immersing myself in the language and culture.</p>