Altitude: 2,930 meters (9,610 ft) Phone Code: 03
A small market town located only a few miles away from Latacunga and the Quito-Ambato highway, Pujili has a rich culture and history. Most of the inhabitants of Pujili are indigenous, and the best time to see native customs and clothing are the market days: Wednesdays and Sundays. Unlike Otavalo, which is aimed mainly at tourists, the market in Pujili is still a local affair. Men and women from surrounding villages will pack up their llamas and burros early in the morning and head to the market to sell their extra produce for whatever money they can make. Professional vendors also bring their wares, which are generally basic essentials such as rope, knives, dishes, batteries, clocks, and so on.
Like the market in Saquisili, this is more than simply a place to shop: going to the market is an important social activity, and locals will dress up and take time to mingle. Tourists are discovering Pujili, meaning more stalls dedicated to Otavalo-style weavings and other popular crafts are popping up. The town itself is known for clay pottery and ceramics, which are also sold at the market.
Of particular interest in Pujili is the Corpus Christi festival in June, which features the El Danzante parades. This fiesta is a fascinating mix of Catholic and ancient native religious practices. Pujiliâ€™s location makes it an ideal place to combine with other daytrips to the Cotopaxi area, and is easily reached from Latacunga or Quito.
For a small town, this place has an interesting history: the citizens of Pujili fought bravely in the war of independence. One of Ecuadorâ€™s presidents, General Guillermo RodrĂguez Lara, was a native of Pujili. The town was devastated by an earthquake in 1996, but has since been reconstructed.
Pujili is undeveloped in terms of tourism, but there are a few very simple hospedajes and restaurants dotted around town. The market is also a great option for sampling local dishes.