The Craft Villages of Cotopaxi


Cotopaxi’s provincial capital is the market town of Latacunga, located fifteen miles southwest of the Cotopaxi volcano. The largest of Latacunga’s markets is held on Saturday at the Chile Plaza, and another on Tuesday, offering a wide array of items appealing to visitors on Ecuador tours as well as local residents.

Seventeen miles northwest of Latacunga, visitors on Ecuador tours will find the village of Saquisili that boasts a huge Thursday market. Consisting of five separate sales areas named for the products sold there, many will be of more interest to the locals, though visitors will appreciate the multitude of baskets that are sold in Latacunga. Traveling south of Saquisili, visitors on Ecuador tours come to Pujili, a few miles west of Latacunga. The town holds a market in the Plaza Sucre on Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday’s market is the largest, known for its pottery and ceramics.

Between Saquisili and Pujili, lies the small village of La Victoria. Its strong suit is large hand-painted ceramic pots. A few miles west of Pujili is Tigua, best known for its scenes of village life painted on sheep skin and for its carved wood crafts. If your travel to Ecuador takes you still further west, some forty miles from Latacunga, the out-of-the-way village of Zumbahua holds a bustling, photogenic market on Saturdays that sells crafts from woodcarving to textiles as well as fresh produce. A few miles north of Zumbahua is the tiny village of Chugchilan where visitors on Ecuador tours will find garments crafted by the local women’s knitting cooperative. Many visitors who travel to these two towns have as their destination beautiful Quilotoa crater lake. Sigchos, north of Chugchilan, holds its market on Sunday.

Among the Ecuador tours we offer, our two-day Cotopaxi National Park tour extension visits one of the nearby crafts markets (Latacunga, Saquisili or Pugili), selected according to the town’s market day.