Take a South America tour of the most famous indigenous markets in South America. In South America’s indigenous markets, you can find medicinal herbs that will promise to improve your health, fortunes, or fate. There are aphrodisiacs, llama foetuses, and meat cuts lying out on tarps in the sun. There are hand-made ponchos and chuspas, small bags used for carrying change and coca leaves. These colorful and lively marketplaces may seem strange to foreigners, but it’s a way of life for the indigenous farmers, peasants, and locals who follow in a long line of ancestors who have been hawking their wares for centuries. Check out these 3 great indigenous markets in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Know of others? Mention them in the comments section!
Tarabuco Sunday Market, Sucre, Bolivia
The Tarabuco Sunday Market is located several miles outside of Sucre, Bolivia. The indigenous market is one of the largest in the region. The Yampara locals come from miles away to buy and sell at this weekly market where everything from intricate weavings, fresh fruits and vegetables, and medicinal plants are sold. The Yampara are also well-known for their colorful clothing, hand-woven ponchos, and chuspas, small bags used for carrying change and coca leaves. At the Tarabuco Sunday Market, you can charm the locals by learning a few words in Quechua, their native language, and perhaps barter down the high prices used on foreigners.
Check out this great blog post by 2Backpackers.com on the Tarabuco Sunday Market.
Read our Landscapes of Bolivia Tour, which includes a visit to Sucre and the Tarabuco Sunday Market.
Pisac Market, Sacred Valley, Peru
The Pisac Market is located in the town of Pisac, nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, just outside of Cusco, Peru. For those on a trip to Machu Picchu, a stopover in Pisac is a must. This market attracts the best artisans, weavers, farmers, peasants, and other locals wanting to buy and sell their wares among each other and to foreigners. The market has become increasingly more popular for foreigners looking to purchase trinkets, weavings, woodworking, and other artisan crafts. Arguably, the Pisac market holds the most variety and best prices than the smaller markets in Cusco. Plus, the market is located at the foot of the Pisac ruins, impressive Inca terraces that are worth the visit alone.
Check out this awesome article about the Pisac Market from The Adventures of Rob and Lauren.
Read our Essence of Peru Tour, which includes a full day Sacred Valley tour.
Otavalo Market, Otavalo, Ecuador
The Otavalo Market takes places every Saturday in Otavalo, outside of Quito, Ecuador. The marketplace involves hundreds of stalls where locals set up, dust off, and hawk their goods to passerby. Otavaleños, the residents of Otavalo, are well-known for their mastery of weaving. Otavalo was once primarily a farming community, but as tourism picked up, many residents turned to making handicrafts and textiles for souvenirs. Scarves, hats, sweaters, and other textiles, as well as jewelry and other handicrafts are for sale at nearly each stall. Plus, there are several food stands where fresh juice, fish, sandwiches, and other local dishes are sold.
Check out this informative article on the Otavalo Market by Bacon is Magic.
Read our Heart of the Andes Tour, which includes an Otavalo Market tour.
Contact us if you’re interested in traveling to South America and visiting any of these indigenous markets. One of our expert travel consultants will be happy to help plan your vacation to South America.