Otavalo crafts market, Ecuador

Ecuador's colourful markets

Enjoy a slice of local life, visit one of Ecuador's colourful markets

Otavalo crafts market, Ecuador

© PCook

A slice of local life

Whatever your route in Ecuador, you’re bound to happen upon a market or two, they are an essential part of life. Dive in, navigate the stalls as you take in the sights – this is the true Ecuador for those who live here.

Andean markets are an authentic slice of local life showcasing an onslaught of colour, smells and sounds. These are places where people gather to sell their wares, buy supplies, meet up with friends and swap news.  Jump in with both feet and tread the paving stones with local shoppers and fellow tourists.

  • Discover traditional markets of Ecuador
  • Meet the locals, haggle for goods and crafts
  • Wander the stalls and admire artisan crafts
  • Purchase souvenirs to take home
  • Take in vibrant colours at every turn


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Otavalo fruit and veg market, Ecuador © PCook

Not just for tourists

The markets will give you a taste of what life is like for the locals. Barter for local fruits, textiles or perhaps jewellery.

Pujili Market

Pujili Market in Cotopaxi province hosts a market on Wednesdays and Sundays, though the Sunday market is considered to be better. Here the locals gather from the surrounding area and peddle their crafts and produce. Those with a love for ceramics will find this market of interest.

Saquisili Market

Another market with a non-touristy flair is Saquisili Market, about 1.5 hours south of Quito. This market has an authentic feel as the locals come down from the highlands to sell their wares and meet with family and friends, you’ll find fewer tourists here.

Zambahua Market

Situated 2.5 hours south of Quito, Zambahua market is one of Ecuador’s oldest markets and takes place on a Saturday. It really is a taster of life in the region, the focus being local produce and of course llamas and horses.

Guamote Market

Another insight into local life is Guamote Market, two hours to the south of Riobamba. It’s a bustling hive of activity with people dressed in their colourful local costume bartering for produce and livestock where ever you glance.

Santa Clara Market

Naturally Quito has its share of markets too.   A vibrant and particularly bustling one is Santa Clara Market. Have a wander round and feast your eyes on an array of fresh produce from meat and fish to vegetables, fruits and spices. Keep your city smarts about you though as you navigate the stalls, taking in the amazing sights, sounds and smells of a typical Andean market.