The Cuenca markets will make foodies wish they had brushed up on their Spanish skills from the moment they enter. These colorful markets, filled with an extraordinary range of exotic vegetables, will make you want to check out of your hostel and into a vacation rental with a big kitchen where you can test the produce out one by one.
Cuenca Ecuador shopping is more than an opportunity to learn about exotic fruits and vegetables—it is also a living, breathing example of culture. Take your time browsing the market and observe how people interact, what the bargaining traditions are, and how the market has become the center of socializing in the city. If you take the time to talk to owners of the stalls, you stand to discover a great deal about local farming, family, and culture as well as details about the fruits and vegetables on the tables. Every color and shape imaginable will fill this market, so arrive early and plan a picnic lunch on all of the fresh produce.
Your senses are sure to be on overload when you visit Cuenca markets. The exotic fruits and vegetables will have no English translations labeling them, so your best bet is to be adventurous and try new things. The main market days for Cuenca Ecuador shopping are Thursdays and Saturdays, but many stalls are open for the rest of the week as well. If you have the opportunity to spend a Thursday or Saturday browsing the market, you will be rewarded with the most authentic experience that Cuenca can offer.
This city of cobbled streets and colonial architecture is known for more than its markets as well, so be sure to take a look at the historic buildings that earned the city its UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction, including the churches. Beyond exotic fruits and vegetables, the markets also offer unique items to bring home to friends and family, including Panama Hats. By purchasing these items, you will be supporting a historic art form.