Yamor Music Festival festival in

Yamor Festival

Mother Earth and Heavy Metal

Always Leave Them Wanting Yamor...

The Yamor Festival is Ecuador in miniature: take one part Pagan fertility ritual, one part Catholic Spring Festival, and add in a dash of naked lake swimming and heavy metal for good measure!

The Festival takes place in Otavalo, to the north of Quito. It's mainly famous as Ecuador's largest market town, and the weekly Saturday market attracts people from all over the world, but in September it gets even busier as Otavalo welcomes the world to the Yamor Festival.

The tradition arises from indigenous Quechua celebrations thanking Mother Earth for last year's harvest and asking her for this year's crop to be bountiful - the celebration only takes place once the first crop of the year has been sown - but as with most festivals in Ecuador, this has been suborned by the Church, who style it as a celebration of Nina Maria, the patron Virgin of Otavalo...

As well as traditional music and dancing, the festival also features Ecuador's biggest contemporary music festival, which leans towards the hard rock end of the spectrum. If that isn't your thing then don't worry as this part of the Yamor Festival takes place in a stadium on the edge of town.

Yamor festival swimming in Lake San Pablo

The other unique element of the Yamor Festival is the tradition of young men trying to swim across the San Pablo Lake. The waters are icy cold and the swimmers have to grease the bodies with fat to try and insulate themselves against the cold for the 4km swim. Of course, anyone's welcome to have a go...

Yamor Festival Holiday Packages

We offer special holiday packages including the Yamor Festival, starting from just £995pp, but for a detailed programme please contact us for more details. All our Ecuador holidays are completely tailor-made, so we're sure we can come up with a package to suit.

Ask us about this Festival in Otavalo
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