The Uniqueness of Ecuador’s Indigenous Markets

Ecuador is a small, vibrant country known for its beautiful lush rainforests and volcanic landscapes. Contained within these small borders are many different indigenous groups and cultures and their famous indigenous markets that contribute in making this country so unique.

There are many indigenous markets set up around the country but within the Sierra Region and in Otavalo are the better-known markets where many international visitors come browse for gifts and trinkets to take back home. As you enter into the local Ecuadorian markets you are immediately whisked away into another world filled with sights and smells you have never experienced before. It doesn’t stop, there you will also be immersed to the most amazing colors, which come in many different shapes and sizes.

The local markets of Ecuador normally take place during the weekend though there are markets that take place on weekdays. It is at these markets that thousands of indigenous people come together to sell their crafts or to display their artwork for people to buy. There are many unique products on display that you will only find in Ecuador but which are internationally recognized for their quality. Visitors and Travelers are sometimes advised to explore more than one shop before making any purchases as it is usually best to sample the variety of goods available and compare the different prices as they can vary quite a bit.

Some of the uniquely Ecuadorian products that you can expect to see at the indigenous markets include Panama Hats from Manabi and Azuay. The local name for the Panama Hats is Jipiiapa, which was so named because of the workers who wore them while building the Panama Canal. You will also see Otavalan weaving that originates from the Imbabura Province, and as the name suggests the wonderful products are designed and crafted by Otavalan Indians.

The most famous market in Ecuador is in Otavalo and is called the Plaza de Ponchos where you will find jewelry, embroidery, musical instruments and a large choice of artwork. The Plaza de Ponchos is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 6:00 am onwards. Latacunga Market is largely known for its artists and their artwork with market days on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Pujilí is a small town in Ecuador known for their handmade ceramics, which you can explore on Wednesdays only.

The Saquisilí Market is located approximately fifty miles out of the city of Quito where it is open every Thursday and famous for selling local hand made products as well as agricultural and domestic animal produce. Zumbahua Market is opened only on Saturdays and is one of the oldest Andean Indigenous markets in all of Ecuador.

Of course, there are many other markets that you could visit but the ones that have been mentioned here are the more famous of the Indigenous markets found in Ecuador.