The canton of Guamote is the most traditional region in Ecuador. 95% of the population is Indigenous (while in the whole of Ecuador it is only 25%). Guamote itself has about 5,000 inhabitants, but in the mountains surrounding Guamote another 40,000 people live in small communities.
The greatest asset of Guamote is the weekly indigenous market, one of the biggest and most traditional markets in South America. Every Thursday the people from the communities come to Guamote to sell their fruit, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, cows, hats, clothing,…
Far away from all tourist traps, this is a market by and for indigenous people, one of the most authentic things you can see in Ecuador, and more than that, something you can really experience. This market is an adventure for all your senses, a chaos of smells, colors, sounds and impressions; and smiling and kind faces everywhere. This is the strength of Guamote: its people. The sincerity and friendliness of the people here is impressive. Despite of the big poverty that still exists here, people are very grateful and optimistic.
The market can easily be visited individually as it is on walking distance from the Inti Sisa Art Guesthouse. If you ask the staff, they will happily provide you with a map and some directions and info on where to go. Enjoy!
“The Thursday market was an amazing experience and will be towards the top of our Ecuador memories.” – traveler Lou from the United Kingdom