Ecuador is a country of many cultures coexisting together. In Quito, this can be observed in the streets where culture is evident in handmade crafts and artwork. The following are some of the best markets to purchase handicrafts in Quito:
La Mariscal Artisanal Market
The capital’s biggest Quito based handicraft market is located in the Mariscal neighborhood. Tourists and locals can find anything from Panama Hats and wood pieces to hand knitted quilts. Yes, Panama Hats are actually from Ecuador and not where the name implies. One can also find pan flutes, Ecuadorian chocolate, bright paintings, woven bracelets, tapestries, leather bags, and more. Being that it’s a street market, feel free to haggle! Vendors expect some sort of bargaining so don’t be afraid to shoot for the lowest price!
Located two hours away from Quito, the Otavalo market is the largest indigenous handicraft market in South America. It attracts visitors for both its outstanding shopping and its cultural significance. Visiting this colorful market is a fascinating way to experience traditional Ecuadorian culture. The handcrafted products such as textiles, jewelry, and leather products are made locally by indigenous people. You can also find small coffee shops and restaurants inside the market, so don’t be surprised if you spend all day there! Learn more about the Otavalo market here.
Mitad del Mundo Shops
Located approximately 15 kilometers from Quito, these shops surround the famous Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) monument. The Mitad del Mundo monument is said to be located exactly on the equator. Click here to learn more about La Mitad del Mundo. The brightly colored shops offer equator-related trinkets but also handicrafts from all over Ecuador including alpaca sweaters, hammocks, and handwoven textiles. Don’t forget to stop by and visit the chocolate museum where you can learn about the history of chocolate in Ecuador and can purchase everything from hot cocoa to bitter and milk chocolate.
This bustling market is located in Quito and is a preferred spot for chefs of local restaurants. Iñaquito Market is full of fresh produce and spices that come in all colors and shapes. Some regional foods to try are the famous hot Aji peppers, Starfruit, and Guanabana (Soursop). There are several stalls selling imported products from all over the world such as vegetables, fruits, liquors, and tools from Peru or Venezuela and all the way to Japan
Looking to visit these markets? Come to Ecuador! It is just one of the many activities available throughout the country. We recommend you stay in Quito due to its proximity to all of these markets. Check out Anahi Hotel, where their themed suites will provide you with an initial glimpse into Ecuadorian culture. Its central location is a perfect starting point for your Quito adventures.