The indigenous Otavaleños are famous for weaving textiles, usually made of wool, which are sold at the famous Saturday market. Although the largest market is on Saturday, there is a very wide range of wares available throughout the week in the Plaza de los Ponchos, and the many local shops. Otavalo was an area made up principally of farming communities, but with the growth of tourism, the town has begun to focus more on the making of handicrafts which have made the Saturday market a popular stop with visitors to Ecuador. Tourism has become the town's main industry and as a result there are many more hotels, hostels, and tour operators than other similarly sized Ecuadorian towns, such as nearby Cayambe.
As Otavalo is famous for its textiles, many of the nearby villages and towns are famous for their own particular crafts. Cotacachi, the center of Ecuador's leather industry, is known for its polished calf skins. In San Antonio, where the local specialty is wood carving, the main street prominently displays carved statues, picture frames, and furniture.