- Encounters with locals
- Off the beaten track
Although it's pretty quiet the rest of the time, on market day Guamote is really lively! People from all around go there to sell and buy all sorts of things: animals, vegetables, clothes, crafts, electronics...
I had been at Guamote for several days and I didn't recognise the place it was so crowded! Thursday is also the day when the train from Quito to Guayaquil comes through and people leave it to the last minute to get off the railway as the train comes into the station right in the middle of the village.
Like most Ecuadorian markets, every street and square specialises in something: here there are animals, there jewellery, and over there cleaning products...it's sometimes difficult to get down the small streets! Lots of activity, lots of negotiation and the noise of the animals. Unlike Otavalo there are very few tourists here, in brief, it's a good market for meeting the locals!
The Andes tourist train isn't the only thing Guamote has to offer. There is also a colourful market held here each Thursday.
When I visited Ecuador,, the market in Guamote was as much traditional and authentic as it was tourist-oriented. It's probably since become just as popular with gringos as the held on Saturday mornings in Otavalo, in the North. Despite all this, however, visiting a market in Ecuador is still a unique experience.
As in Otavalo, you don't just find local arts and craft products in Guamote. Indigenous Andeans come here to sell livestock, cereals, fruits and vegetables. The sight of the female heads of the families with their litters of piglets on leads is a wonderful spectacle. Guinea pigs, calves, cows: everything gets traded and sold amidst a sea of red ponchos.