South America Travel: Exploring the Street Markets of South America
Take in the culture and traditions of the locals by exploring the many street markets found throughout South America. Learn all about the best markets to explore during your South America travel with this article written by a Latin America travel expert.
If you want to get a feel for the culture and lifestyle of the typical South America city, there are a variety of destinations for your choosing. However, if you are looking to explore the streets, mingle with the locals and truly immerse yourself into a city’s culture be sure to stop at the many street markets found in almost any city throughout South America. You won’t be disappointed with the variety of people, traditions, and trinkets you will stumble upon in these top markets of South America.
Begin your South America travel in Otavalo Ecuador where you are sure to find one of the best markets in all of South America. Otavalo has been home to one of the largest markets in the world since pre-Inca times. The sheer size of the market is impressive, located in Plazas Ponchos and spilling over into the surrounding streets and areas, it consumes the city. Wander the streets finding a wide variety of goods from leather goods and alpaca scarves to spices and flowers and even handcrafted wooden goods such as musical instruments or mixing bowls. The list of masterfully crafted goods is truly endless. For a true sight head to the animal market, located outside of Plazas Ponchos, though you most likely won’t be purchasing a pig or cow it is a great way to get a feel for the culture of the community as well as an interesting sight. Haggle with the vendors, learn more about the craftsmanship of the goods, or just walk the streets and enjoy this bustling market.
Next journey to the wonderful markets found in the Cusco region including the famous Pisac market, famous for its wide variety of handcrafted goods. Tourists from all over the world make their way to the lively market which consumes the streets of Pisac each Sunday. Full of the colorful Andean textiles like ponchos and rugs and also a variety of amazing alpaca goods such as sweaters and scarves, there are plenty of great Peruvian souvenirs to be found in Pisac. Enjoy a beverage on the balcony of one of the many cafes, the perfect way to admire the activity throughout the market from afar.
End your street market exploration with the most interesting market in all of South America, the Witches’ Market in La Paz, Bolivia. Though the Witches’ Market is actually a street in the middle of the larger market, it is worth a visit during your South America travel. This unusual market is famous for its shops and booths full of oddities that are for used remedies to bring luck, love, and money, among many other things. Don’t be surprised when you see the variety of feathers, dried frogs, herbs, and trinkets that fill the shops. Perhaps the most interesting yet common commodity are the many llama fetuses that are visible in all the shops. The llama fetus is used for many things including protection to their houses as well as to bring good luck. Though it may seem odd, most things in the Witches’ Market are part of Bolivian culture, and any trip to Bolivia should include a stop here.
During your South America travel you will come across a variety of markets, whether it is in Bolivia or in Peru, in a tiny town or in a major city, street markets are common throughout South America. Exploring the markets of South America is a great way to experience the culture and make friends with the locals, providing for an unforgettable vacation.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article about the top markets to visit during your South America travel was written by a travel expert at Latin America For Less who specializes in helping you organize best value Peru tours and fully customizable Argentina vacation packages.