Snapshots from Ecuador: Tour of the Markets

[Photographs: David Kover]

Spend enough time in Ecuador and you will inevitably come across a bustling market scene. In some cities, especially the larger urban areas, a permanent building outfitted with stalls supports a brisk daily business. Elsewhere, a designated market day draws in what seems like the whole population from the surrounding countryside.

Take Latacunga, a smallish city located along the Panamerican Highway's route through the Andes, where the Saturday market brings in enough people to form a thick band of vendors around the city's sports stadium.

All of these markets provide prime people-watching, especially in the Andean villages, where members of Ecuador's many indigenous groups identify themselves by the type of hat they wear. And when it comes to the goods for sale, Ecuador's ridiculous diversity of landscape—coast, mountain, and jungle—results in plenty of new and interesting objects to ogle.

Possibly the most important detail, however, is that over the course of a month of traveling through Ecuador, it may have been at the markets where we found the best things to eat. There are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and good eats to be found at Mercado Central de Quito, the Saturday market in Latacunga, the Sunday market in Gualaceo and others.

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