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South America Travel: 3 Must See Markets

Updated on April 5, 2012

When traveling in any country the first thing people do is shop, so they will head for the nearest market and see what types of goods are available. There is more to markets than just hopping though a lot of the little markets that you are encountering are a tribute to the innovation of the people and culture in the area. You can tell a lot about the people in these markets from the type of work they do, how they live, and what their passions are. When you travel in South America, these markets are numerous from the big city open markets, rural markets and even road side stands. Here, are three market locations that if you have the opportunity you must experience in South America.


By far the best market that I have ever experienced is in the city of Mercado de las Brujas, Bolivia. This market is also known as the Witches Market in the local language. Do not let the name scare you, but it does offer visitors some unique and one of a kind items that can only come from Bolivia. There is a large majority of different religions in Bolivia. Witchcraft happens to be one of them, so the demand for goods for this craft is in high demand. So, here in the witches market you will come for all your brewing, potions, and spell materials. Some of the items included that are selling here are love potions, dried frogs, dried insects, and even feathers from every type of avian species it seems. So, if you are searching for that authentic recipe, or raw materials for your next love spell, I’m sure you will find it here in this market.

Another market that is a must is if you are ever near the city of Cusco, Peru. Like most markets here, there is a sense of pride and accomplishments that these people take pride in. Most of the crafts, foods, trinkets and other things you find here are all hand made by the locals. One of the best things I Love about Peru is the food, so it was no wonder I gravitated to the food section in this market to see what I could find and taste. I happen to come across a booth that specializes in serving authentic Inca food. I say that lightly but basically there is a dead something hanging in the window and a delicious smell coming from inside. Inside was a small family cooking up Charo as they use to make back in the ancient Inca villages of the region. I had never tried it, so I had them make me up a plate. It was absolutely delicious. I was instantly addicted, But I must warn if you are not used to the Peruvian delicacies it may not be the best thing for you. But, it will certainly clean out your colon if you dare.

The next market on our tour was one in the central valley region of Santiago, Chile. The reason this market sticks out so much is because of history that surrounds it. This is the original market started when the Incas started populating this city a thousand years ago. People from all over the country side would eat, trade, and drink every day in this booming market. So, it is a historical market from that perspective. You can still see the architecture in some of the old stone walls left from the Incan civilization. There is not much of left of their presence, but you can also see the towering architectural designs of the first Spanish settlers here. The massive cathedral churches, the cobbles tone pathways, and the smell of authentic food will battle all your senses.

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