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Saquisili Market near Quito, Ecuador

Saquisili Market in EcuadorSaquisilí is a city in the Andean Highlands near Quito, Ecuador. Saquisilí is most famous for its market, which takes place every Thursday.

The market is in a few different areas of the city, and starts early in the morning when mostly indigenous people from surrounding villages offer animals, clothes and food.

Every local and indigenous market has it’s local flare.

I think the market at Saquisili, Ecuador is best marked by the separated nature of the four major markets there.

  • Large Animals (pigs, cows, llamas)
  • Small Animals (chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits)
  • Produce  (including fruits, vegetables, and raw sugar which comes direct from molds which women spend hours making, is better than the purest brown sugar in the US, and is UNBELIEVEABLY cheap)
  • Flea Market (A.K.A. where you might find someone’s stolen stuff being re-sold)

There are also stands with art, clothing, blankets, and other textiles.

It’s a smaller (relatively speaking) market than others we’ve been in, and we’ve heard it’s smaller than Otavalo, which we have yet to visit (but will soon, now that I’m eating and back to normal again).

The trip to Saquisilí was organized by our Spanish School, Simon Bolivar.

My favorite experience of the day?  Being whacked with a metal tool that is used to carve meat.

Back story:

These women sit for 5-8 hours, sawing teeth into these rounded blades with hacksaws.

The blades are then sold to butchers and ranchers.

They sell the blades for JUST $1, after spending at least 30 minutes sawing the teeth into the blade by hand.

I found it fascinating and amazing that these women work so hard and earn so little.

I also was astounded that each of the little teeth in the blades were sawed into the blade, by hand, with a hack-saw!

So I was taking a video of the process, as well as some pictures.

As I got closer, the woman said something.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador“Repita, por favor?” (please repeat?)

“Dar me un dolar.” (Give me a dollar.)

“Porque?” I asked.  (Why?)

She didn’t respond.

But as I walked past, she WHACKED the back of my leg with the flat of the blade.

And I mean really hard.

(I’m glad she used the flat of the blade.)

I later learned that she wanted a dollar because I had taken a photo of her.

Giving a dollar, or asking if I could take the photo before taking it, would have been the polite thing for me to do.

I (could be mistaken but I) think there’s a bit of an expectation in the Quechua culture that I would have at least paid something.

Even just as a tourist taking a picture, I should always ask.

Had I known or understood really what was going on in the moment, I probably would have gone back and bought one of her blades for $2.00.

But she wasn’t there when we walked back by, so I didn’t get the chance.

In any case, it was a good reminder of something I already know:
Especially with local cultures, or in places where cameras and pictures are a bit of a novelty, ask before taking a picture.

Here are some photos and a simple video (selections from videos and pictures I took) at Saquisilí which I hope you’ll find interesting.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
There were some serious squeals coming from these pigs as they were dragged off to trucks.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
Want an alpaca?  If you negotiate, you can get one for about $150.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
A sheep costs a bit more than an alpaca.  Maybe $200.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador

Saquisili Market in Ecuador

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
Chickens destined for…
Saquisili Market in Ecuador
One tourist to another tourist: “Hey, I think I found your camera!”

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
Need a copy of your keys?  Only $0.50/key.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
Animal feed bowls made out of recycled rubber tires
Saquisili Market in Ecuador
Life is not necessarily easy here, but the people working in the market generally seemed happy.

Getting more bars in Saquisili
This should definitely go towards an advertising campaign for “more bars” (as in, cell phone service).  On the right is our teacher Maribel (and Carrie).  Maribel’s arm is around an indigenous woman who was begging for money.  Maribel gave her some money and asked if we could take a picture with her.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador

Saquisili Market in Ecuador

Ecuador has some AMAZING fruit.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador
I’m sorry to inform you that this guinea pig does not have a future as a pet.

Saquisili Market in Ecuador

9 thoughts on “Saquisili Market near Quito, Ecuador

  1. Adam

    Carrie looks like a giant in some of these pictures. You should get some pictures of Jon next to some more local people… 🙂

    1. strive4impact Post author

      Carrie is significantly taller than those around a lot of times in Central and South America!

      I’ll give her the camera next time and have her take some pictures of me with more of the locals.


  2. Marty Fields

    I think that in almost any place in the world, one should ask
    before taking a picture, and in MOST COUNTRIES (except probably more prosperous Europe), it is expected that you give the person at least
    50 cents to $1 for taking a picture of a person, & it is RUDE
    if you don’t. In many parts of the world, this is their only means
    for making any money. In rare cases, I’ve had people turn down
    accepting any money, but at least I asked. In England, I was shocked
    that they even turn down “typical” American kind of “tips,” but you
    will not find this in poor countries. So EVERYONE–offer that $1
    for your treasured picture.

  3. Brian

    Really cool video! Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and travels! It’s almost like we are there (except I can actually understand what they are saying because of your translations) — thank you!

    1. strive4impact Post author

      Thank-you for making the time to come around, watch, and comment! It helps me to continue spending the time to write and post about what we’re doing knowing that people are reading and enjoying what we’re posting.


  4. Pingback: Otavalo Market, Otavalo, Ecuador | Travel with Carrie and Jonathan. Want to travel the world? Visit us in Mexico, Buenos Aires, or European locations like Germany and Italy!

  5. Pingback: A Great Video About Ecuador | Travel the world with Carrie and Jonathan!

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