Arts and Crafts of Gualaceo and Chordeleg
Gualaceo and Chordeleg are situated near the UNESCO heritage site town of Cuenca in Ecuador. Each Sunday these two towns, which are within walking distance of each other, host an arts and crafts market that is different from any other market that tourists may encounter while traveling through this fascinating country.
The Sunday market in the colonial town of Gualaceo is an upbeat social gathering at which an array of colorful locally made items can be bought. Good-humored bartering generally forms part of the sale process, often resulting in a satisfied customer leaving with a skillfully made item and an equally satisfied artisan pleased to have made a sale. The town has become well-known for its high quality arts and crafts such as panama hats, guitars and other musical instruments, ceramics and jewelry, all made by skilled locals from surrounding villages. Visitors travel from far and wide to explore the market, sample the tasty traditional foods and generally enjoy the festive atmosphere. Goods for sale include fruit and vegetables in all shapes, sizes and colors, roasted pork – a traditional favorite for many – as well as medicinal herbs and natural remedies.
The town of Chordeleg, just southeast of Gualaceo, offers a treasure trove of fine jewelry. Everything from traditional intricate filigree to contemporary designs in gold and silver can be found at the many jewelry shops lining the main road and plaza of Chordeleg. The Sunday market in Chordeleg, although smaller than the one in Gualaceo, is certainly worth visiting. Arts and crafts for sale include beautifully crafted woodcarvings, ceramics, fabrics and more expertly made panama hats.
If tourists miss the Sunday market, they can arrange for a guided tour of the area and meet the local crafters at their homes. A tour of this nature has the added benefit of giving visitors the opportunity to watch these talented people at work.
The deep-rooted culture of Ecuador is well represented in the arts and crafts of Gualaceo and Chordeleg. Visiting these interesting towns and surrounding areas will certainly give tourists a deeper understanding of the people that call Ecuador home.