Feria Libre, Cuenca’s largest indigenous market, means free market and is where people from the local area shop. It is spread over acres of land and is very intimidating the first time you visit and if you don’t pay attention to your twists and turns as you explore, you can get lost! It is open every day of the week but I have been told Wednesdays and Saturdays are particularly busy as these are the days people from all over the surrounding area come to do their shopping.

One of the things we love about Cuenca is the ability to get fresh produce at a low price. Unless there is a sign posted with prices, don’t feel you have to pay the first price they give you. Unfortunately, as in other countries, “gringos” are thought to be rich so it is often you are charged more. You need to hone your negotiation skills (think haggle) like the locals do. It can be a challenge at first but vendors actually respect you if you try to bargain a bit.

And the funny word I first learned, yapa (means like a bonus), is given by vendors if you frequent them often or if you purchase a substantial amount from them. It is best to try and find a vendor you like, whose produce are of excellent quality and prices good, and establish a relationship with them.


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