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The Most Amazing Markets in Latin America

sunday-marketChichicastenango in Guatemala

Chichicastenango is located around one hundred and forty kilometers northwest of Guatemala city. It is home to one of the most famous native markets in, perhaps, all the Americas.

The Market convenes on Thursdays and Sundays drawing the K'iche' Maya of the nearby areas as well as vendors from all over the country. These vendors sell their products in a variety of ways, languages and dialects. The Chichi market used to be within the central plaza but it has now expanded into all the adjacent streets as well. The preparations are made a night before by setting up booths in the plaza and surrounding streets of Chichi.

The markets start with sounds of firecrackers and homemade rockets. The crashing sounds continue all through the day. Although it is not immediately obvious to the tourist newcomer, the market is highly organized, with vendors of specific goods occupying traditional sites in the market area. Each item has its own area where vendors can put their products on display.

You can also see various native costumes from all over Guatemala. Other sights include processions, street musicians and traditional dances, antique shops, a Mayan artifact museum and the city cemetery.

Pisac in Peru

Most visitors, on their tour to Peru, try to see the Sunday market, however there are similar markets on Tuesday and Thursday as well. Pisac is a beautiful Andean village well known for its Sunday market.

Despite its fame, the market maintains its local charm. Villagers come from miles in order to sell their products in this market. The tourist section offers quite a few varieties of handicrafts. Pisac is a great place for buying the local ceramics especially hand-painted beads in various colors.

Otavalo en Ecuador

For anyone visiting Ecuador, one of the destinations is Otavalo because of the famed market or the Fiesta del Yamor, which is celebrated in September. Otavalo is situated north of Quito within a two hour drive. It takes a few days to see the market in Otavalo and to visit the villages that supply most of the textiles sold in Otavalo. Otavalo markets are open every day but the busiest day is on Saturday. If you go out early, you can have an all day experience of the market.

You can stroll through the food and produce section, wander the artisan market from where you can purchase arts, crafts, and textiles. The history of the textiles can be traced back to the colonial days when the land around Quito was awarded to several people, including Rodrigo de Salazar. Salazar established a weaving workshop and imported new tools and techniques from Spain. Some of the techniques used in those times can be seen in demonstrations at the Obraje Weaving Museum.

San Telmo in Argentina

The small Plaza Dorrego is the center of the San Telmo Antiques Fair of Buenos Aires.

Each Sunday, the plaza is transformed into a flea market, which contains hundreds of booths that sell everything from outright junk to costly antiques. The market is a great place for browsing and watching.

There are numerous sidewalk cafes surrounding the San Telmo market making the atmosphere festive. San Telmo is also the center of Buenos Aires' tango district and, occasionally, you can see a couple dancing in one of the market's open spaces. There is an artisans' market in the park surrounding the Recoleta Cemetery. If you like hand-made jewelry, then you will be quite interested in Recoleta artisans' market.

The Ipanema hippie fair in Brazil

 Since 1960s, Feira Hipe or the Ipanema Hippie Fair is held in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on every Sunday.

It began as a small affair which was initially organized by the Hippies in order to sell their crafts. Since then, the Hippie Fair has evolved into an important arts and crafts market, which shows the works of some of the best artisans of the city.

The Ipanema Hippie Fair is held every Sunday from 9 in the morning till 5 in the evening. It takes up a whole city block located in the northern part of Ipanema, close to the southern flank of Copacabana Beach. It is a highly organized market where stalls are set up around the perimeter of the park. Painters exhibit and sell their paintings in the center of the park.

Locals and tourists crowd the place all day long. Though, credit cards are accepted by some vendors, still it is better to use cash. Some vendors will accept US dollars as well as Euros but their preferred currency is Reais. The Ipanema Hippie Fair is essentially not a flea market and it is very difficult to come about used items or bargain. However, you can find all qualities of arts and crafts sold at quite reasonable prices. You can pick some cool souvenirs in this market.

Author: Lorena Petsios, Director of Absolute Latin America

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