The Renowned Markets of Pujili
For many, no trip to any country in South America is quite complete until they have visited a traditional market where they can barter and trade to their heart’s content. Ecuador is home to a number of great indigenous markets where people from small satellite villages gather together on a regular basis to sell their crafts and trades and to purchase new supplies. Supporting such a market goes a long way to supporting the local economy and helping countless families to survive from year to year. While some markets are very popular with tourists, others are lesser known. Such is the case with the Pujili Market, which has a more authentic feel than certain other markets and has fewer tourists than normal.
The Pujili Market takes place at Pujili every Sunday. People from surrounding villages and towns gather at the indigenous market to sell a wonderful variety of traditional trades and crafts in order to make a meager living for their families. The variety of goods here is often more beautiful and carefully crafted than those found in more easy-to-reach places where stock goes quicker and the emphasis on quality and beauty is not as important. The town itself is not a terribly interesting place during the rest of the week but on Sundays it really comes alive as people flock here to enjoy the market. It is not as easy to find as other markets are, since you have to drive for about two hours from Quito just to reach Pujili. However it is usually worth the effort and many people plan to make a day trip to Pujili just to enjoy the market.
Most start their visit to the Pujili Market at the huge market square or plaza, which is roofed to provide vendors and shoppers with protection from the elements. Here you will find a wonderful variety of fresh produce that has been carefully cultivated by local farmers for sale at the market. After discovering what sort of fruit trees and vegetables grow in Ecuador, you may want to move on to the many streets that surround the plaza. These are filled with stalls selling all kinds of objects – from clothing to household goods and beautiful hand-crafted items. Almost everything on sale has some sort of practical application and will make a welcome addition to every household. There is also a spectacular view from the hill above the town if you have the time to climb the stairs that wind their way up it before heading back to Quito.