Learn Spanish in Otavaleno Community - © Mariusz Prusaczyk

Learn Spanish in Otavaeño Community

Want to immerse yourself in indigenous culture in Ecuador? At Ailola Quito we work with over 25 indigenous host families on the outskirts of Otavalo, offering students the chance to live and learn Spanish alongside a traditional Otavaeño community. Read on to find out more!

Otavalo Idegenious People

First class facilities

Aside from their proud history of entrepreneurialism, the Otavaeños of Ecuador are also renowned for their community-orientated approach to living and their emphasis on the importance of family. For those wanting an insight into the Otavaeño lifestyle, good news is that you can be part of it, with:

  • Homestay accommodation within various Otavaeño communities, with 25 different host families
  • Bedroom and adjoining bathroom with hot water
  • 3 meals per day
  • Separate study area where your Spanish teacher will meet you each afternoon for classes
  • Quaint, natural locations 25-40 minutes from the center of Otavalo
  • No need to take materials with you, just bring a pocketsize dictionary, and our teacher will take everything else you need to study Spanish in the Otavaeño community


Just two hours from Quito, in the heart of Ecuador, Otavalo is hard to miss! We’ll be heading a little farther afield than the town itself, where you’ll find a whole other side to Otavalo. Our arrival plan is as follows:

  • From Quito, we’ll arrange a private taxi to take you 2 hours to Otavalo, free of charge
  • Once we’ve arrived to Otavalo, we’ll head 25-40 minutes out of the town to reach your homestay family
  • Meet your family, settle in, and remember your just a short bus ride from Otavalo if you want to visit the town

School fact sheet

  • Founded in: 2004, the year we began working with indigenous communities near Otavalo
  • Distance to Quito: 2-2.5 hours approximately
  • Telephone signal: Yes!
  • Maximum class size: 4 students*
  • Low season: December and May
  • Volunteering opportunities: Yes, click here to learn more!
  • Conversation sessions: Yes, and they're free!

*Each Otavaeño community has two rooms. This allows for: 1 student for private lessons; 2 students for a group course; or up to 2 couples, to total 4 students.

Top-5 things to see and do

  • Learn about traditional Otavaeño life – Whether its organic gardening, cooking, local history or spiritual customs, the chance to study Spanish alongside an Otavaeño family is all about learning! Your host family will teach you the ins-and-outs of their daily life, including trips to the markets, ecology and history lessons, and participation in traditional practices.
  • Visit the craft and food markets with your family – Many see Otavalo’s success in the town’s indigenous craft market. On day trips to Otavalo you and your family will shop ‘til you drop. While you might be keen to buy traditional outfits or handcrafts, don’t forget to test your haggling skills at the food market alongside your adoptive Otavaeño family members.
  • Visit the lechero tree – On the outskirts of Otavalo, the mystical lechero tree awaits you! Locals around here consider the tree to hold magical healing powers, which pass through you when you rub its bark. If for nothing else, the hike there is incredibly enjoyable, as you’ll pass through quiet, pristine examples of local fauna and an aromatic Eucalyptus forest.
  • Merge nature with tradition – An absolute must when you visit the Otavalo region, is the hike to the 60-foot high Peguche falls. Aside from their natural beauty and welcoming pools below, the falls are also an opportunity for you to experience active indigenous traditions, as each year in late June, people from the region flock to Peguche to bathe in its waters in preparation for ancient Incan Inti Raymi festivities.
  • Venture farther afield – Otavalo is one of the premiere tourist and adventure hotspots in the Sierra region of Ecuador. While you’re here, make the most of the world around you! Beautiful Lake Cuicocha is not far away and don't forget to check out the quaint towns of Cotacachi and Machachi, plus captivating Cotapaxi National Park!