Tarabuco market in Bolivia with Oasis Tours
I still remember clearly that after visiting absolutely stunning Uyuni salt flat, my sinusitis got the best of me and completely destroyed me. I realised planning in Bolivia was not a good thing to do. My days in Sucre I spent sick, sipping on my hot green tea and not seeing much.
When I thought I was getting better, I got an offer from Oasis Tours travel agency I went to Uyuni salt flat with. They invited me to Tarabuco market on Sunday. I didn’t hear of the market ever until after my few days in Bolivia, but it was a pretty famous thing to do once I got to Sucre. And each time I have a chance to see something very traditional, I grab the opportunity. And the same happened with Tarabuco open-air market.
The bus from Sucre leaves on Sundays at 8.30 am from Sucre from outside the Cathedral at Plaza 25 de Mayo. The best thing is to get your ticket before in the travel agency as sometimes the bus/buses are full if you only get to the Plaza on Sunday morning.
Tarabuco is located 2 hours by bus and I was more than happy to spend them sleeping on the bus to get more energy as the sinusitis was still killing me.
Once we got to Tarabuco local village, I was so amazed! The houses reminded me a bit of those in San Pedro de Atacama, all in earth grey colours. We walked to the main square where I had a look at the imposant white Iglesia de San Pedro – St. Peter’s Church. There were some local restaurants at the square with surrounding stalls selling everything from silver jewelry to local clothes.
Many streets of Tarabuco were full of locals recognized by wearing the traditional Yampara costumes. Yes, believe it or not, different Bolivian provinces or even towns have their own local costumes that preserves their identity. I never paid enough attention to learn the differences, or maybe I just needed more time. But no wonder that if you wanted to get a glimpse of the Yampara culture, the easiest way to do so would be spending your Sunday at Tarabuco market.
It was a very cold day when I visited so hand-made gloves, hats, woolen socks and jumpers, were what the tourists were interested in the most. Remember that the wool Alpaca ones are the warmest and that you should and most of the time you can bargain the price.
Different weavings, other textiles, medicinal herbs, souvenirs, shoes, coca leaves, fresh vegetables and fruit are available all around Tarabuco market. I bought Alpaca socks to fight the cold weather, coca leaves to beat the altitude and a pair of silver earrings of llama shape.
It even started pouring down so I aimlessly walked around the most colourful streets of Tarabuco market one more time before making my way to Samay Wasi. Samay Wasi is probably the most famous Tarabuco restaurant with organic food.
Our Oasis tours group met there for lunch. I won’t lie if I say that we all enjoyed hot drinks, warm soup and second meal warming up our bodies and trying to defrost our fingers. We also fed the hunger for cultural experience when Yampara Bolivians, including a 10-year-old Diego and other children showed us a traditional dance.
I was pretty tired after all the shopping and tasty meals. I could not imagine how exhausted must be the Yampara locals after waking up at 4 am, spending a few hours walking to cross the hills to get to Tarabuco and then spending the whole day sitting in the cold and trying to sell as much as possible. On the way back to Sucre, through my sleepy eyes I observed the beautiful mountains I could never get enough of.
My trip to Tarabuco was a press trip organized by the great travel agency Oasis Tours. For more information about Uyuni Salt Flat trips, please visit Oasis Tours website or send them an email to [email protected] All the opinions in this post are mine as usual and I was not asked to write a favorable review.