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Saquisili, Ecuador - Indigenous Market, 6am On Thursdays Near Latacunga

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - July 2015   » View Photoset (62 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
If you sleep Wednesday night in Saquisili at the one and only hotel beside the main plaza, you will be woken between 3:30-4am by the vehicles
Ecuador Photo - Fresh bread rolls for sale at Plaza Kennedy in Saquisili.
Fresh bread rolls for sale at Plaza Kennedy in Saquisili.
arriving to start setting up the Thursday markets. The Saquisili market is a serious business for locals and the indigenous folks from the surrounding towns and villages. Saquisili is a small town 20mins from Latacunga, 2 and a quarter hours south of Quito. You could choose to stay in Latacunga and come to Saquisili between 6-7am as an alternative to being woken up at 4am however. At least I knew I wouldn't be late! Saquisili has something like 12 plazas and the market takes up around 8 of them, each plaza specialising in something different.

An Early Start on Thursdays

By 6:30am I had walked
Ecuador Photo - Chicken soup in the morning at Saquisili market, the meat was not cooked!
Chicken soup in the morning at Saquisili market, the meat was not cooked!
from the hotel to Plaza Vicente Rocafuerte, this is mainly the live animal market. At this time of day trucks are unloading the fish (not live) brought overnight from Salinas on the coast and laying them all out on makeshift tables ready to be sold. Crates and crates of chickens are brought in, this is the worst part about this market in fact, because they are terribly mistreated, some are even dead on arrival. On a brighter note, fruit like oranges pour out from the back of trucks and pink and yellow bananas stand together in large bunches.

Soup for Breakfast

At just before 7am I sat down at one of the kitchen cookups to have some chicken soup for $1USD, unfortunately the chicken wing was uncooked and hard so I just
Ecuador Photo - Mountains of oranges and distant bananas at Saquisili market.
Mountains of oranges and distant bananas at Saquisili market.
drank the watery part of the dish - I guess it's best to wait until later to have chicken soup.

Animals, Fruit and Veges

A couple of sheep were brought in and a stubborn pig who didn't want to get off the truck. It's no wonder though, all his mates were down there being eaten for breakfast. Guinea pigs, cute 'n' cuddly but oh so fat, juicy and tasty! Well actually I don't know what they taste like, I have never tried it. But the locals love it and buy their guinea pigs alive to take home for later. Cute bunny rabbits with big floppy ears, I'm not sure of their fate. OK, so of all the animals mentioned above I think I would want to be a fish! Spring onions, they are brought in by the bunch-load! Apples! Red, green, yellow 'n' red and
Ecuador Photo - Woman sells guinea pigs to the public at Saquisili market.
Woman sells guinea pigs to the public at Saquisili market.
orangey red. Watermelons, green of course! Pears, grapes and peaches. Kiwifruit and mango. Boysenberries, strawberries and eggs.

Grains, Spices and Flavours

Next I moved on to Plaza Kennedy, just down the street. This was more about household products, grains, spices, flavors and oils plus mountains of vegetables. Onions, lemons, tamarillos, rockmelon (cantaloupe), carrots, lettuce, raddish, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, pineapples, peppers, beans, tomatoes and fresh bread.

Street Sewing Repairs

From here I walked along the street past some men sitting at machines doing sewing repairs as I looked for what turned out to be Plaza Gran Colombia. This plaza is actually right in the center of town, just one block from the main plaza and church. More cooking going on here, barbecued chicken feet and the yummy local meal of mashed potatoes with fried egg and meat. Sugarcane was being made into candy floss, drinks and
Ecuador Photo - Beans, green peppers and tomatoes for sale at Plaza Kennedy, Saquisili.
Beans, green peppers and tomatoes for sale at Plaza Kennedy, Saquisili.
sweets and many people were peeling peapods and beans.

Quite Authentic

The Saquisili market is also of course a great opportunity to mingle with the indigenous people of the highlands, most wear colorful traditional clothing, hats and shawls, the men and woman. It's definitely more authentic than Otavalo's market which I have also seen. Both are good though! If this is your cup of tea, markets that is, then take a visit to Saquisili early on a Thursday morning! Apart from the market and main plaza and church there is absolutely nothing else to see around town, no churches, no murals, no statues, no monuments, nothing!

40mins North to Machachi

I spent a 2nd night in Saquisili to have a break and took a taxi the next morning to the Pan-American highway and waved down a bus heading north to Machachi (50kms, 40mins).

     

View all photos in the Saquisili Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Saquisili (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Saquisili, Ecuador. If you sleep Wednesday night in Saquisili at the one and only hotel beside the main plaza, you will be woken between 3:30-4am by the vehicles arriving to start setting up the markets! There are 8 plazas of bustling market activity every Thursday!
 A : Latacunga - Ecuador 15 kms 15 kms straight distance | 34mins 34mins by car (21 kms) | 40mins 40mins by bus (21 kms) (21 kms)
 B : Pujili - Ecuador 14 kms 14 kms straight distance | 34mins 34mins by car (28 kms) | 40mins 40mins by bus (28 kms) (28 kms)
 C : Machachi - Ecuador 37 kms 37 kms straight distance | 1hr 2mins 1hr 2mins by car (52 kms) | 1hr 14mins 1hr 14mins by bus (52 kms) (52 kms)
 D : Ambato - Ecuador 47 kms 47 kms straight distance | 1hr 21mins 1hr 21mins by car (67 kms) | 1hr 37mins 1hr 37mins by bus (67 kms) (67 kms)
 E : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 26 kms 26 kms straight distance | 1hr 45mins 1hr 45mins by car (92 kms) | 2hrs 6mins 2hrs 6mins by bus (92 kms) (92 kms)
 F : Banos - Ecuador 69 kms 69 kms straight distance | 1hr 50mins 1hr 50mins by car (102 kms) | 2hrs 12mins 2hrs 12mins by bus (102 kms) (102 kms)
 G : Quito - Ecuador 83 kms 83 kms straight distance | 1hr 57mins 1hr 57mins by car (114 kms) | 2hrs 20mins 2hrs 20mins by bus (114 kms) (114 kms)
 H : Riobamba & Colta Lagoon - Ecuador 93 kms 93 kms straight distance | 2hrs 5mins 2hrs 5mins by car (124 kms) | 2hrs 30mins 2hrs 30mins by bus (124 kms) (124 kms)
 I : Mitad del Mundo - Ecuador 95 kms 95 kms straight distance | 2hrs 14mins 2hrs 14mins by car (128 kms) | 2hrs 40mins 2hrs 40mins by bus (128 kms) (128 kms)
 J : Quito Zoo in Guayllabamba - Ecuador 92 kms 92 kms straight distance | 2hrs 9mins 2hrs 9mins by car (129 kms) | 2hrs 34mins 2hrs 34mins by bus (129 kms) (129 kms)
 K : Puyo - Ecuador 104 kms 104 kms straight distance | 3hrs 3hrs by car (160 kms) | 3hrs 36mins 3hrs 36mins by bus (160 kms) (160 kms)
 L : Guaranda - Ecuador 91 kms 91 kms straight distance | 2hrs 49mins 2hrs 49mins by car (164 kms) | 3hrs 22mins 3hrs 22mins by bus (164 kms) (164 kms)
 M : Cayambe - Ecuador 113 kms 113 kms straight distance | 2hrs 51mins 2hrs 51mins by car (165 kms) | 3hrs 25mins 3hrs 25mins by bus (165 kms) (165 kms)
 N : Mindo - Ecuador 87 kms 87 kms straight distance | 3hrs 31mins 3hrs 31mins by car (199 kms) | 4hrs 13mins 4hrs 13mins by bus (199 kms) (199 kms)
 O : Tena - Ecuador 98 kms 98 kms straight distance | 4hrs 22mins 4hrs 22mins by car (268 kms) | 5hrs 14mins 5hrs 14mins by bus (268 kms) (268 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Saquisili, Ecuador:

Hotel San Carlos, Saquisili, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hotel San Carlos, Saquisili, Ecuador (July 2015 - 2 nights) - Nice room on the top floor overlooking the central plaza with a view of the church. Private bathroom, tv, closet and a good bed. Well priced at $10USD. Wifi is very weak in the rooms but worked in mine after I changed to another room but it works well in the lounge area. The rooms are really cold and the water is warm as opposed to hot. It's the only choice in town, they need some competition. Close to the shops and eating places. You are not allowed to leave the hotel after 9pm!

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Saquisili, Ecuador - Indigenous Market, 6am On Thursdays Near Latacunga. If you sleep Wednesday night in Saquisili at the one and only hotel beside the main plaza, you will be woken between 3:30-4am by the vehicles arriving to start setting up the markets! There are 8 plazas of bustling market activity every Thursday!

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