There is so much to see and experience in Quito. From markets filled with fresh, locally grown produce, to ones filled with beautiful handcrafted items. You will also find many local shops with wonderful foods, treats and crafts all handmade in traditional ways by some of the last people to carry on the traditions of these crafts.
You must take some time to visit Cruz Verde snacks, where you will find a very pleasant gentleman, who is one of many generations of his family to carry on the tradition of making, *colaciones* … a sweet snack using sugar, essential herbs, peanuts and lemon….made in a 100 year old pan, passed on for generations. He is the only person to keep this tradition alive and I am telling you, it is a must see and you must taste one!
Also in Plaza Santa Clara, you may get the chance to meet, Enma Lagla….and if you are lucky enough, as I was, you will get to experience an herbal herbal curing of evil. She is a fourth generation *curandera*, A woman who has a talent for diagnosing people’s ills and helping to cure them of issues with different plants, herbs and flowers. It is a fantastic experience. If you don’t believe me, go try it! And if anything, you will leave smelling so sweet and fresh!
Plaza Santa Clara is also filled with wonderful produce and meats for sale. The variety is astounding! Some fruits that I have never seen, blackberries that were three times the size that I’m used to, fresh spices and herbs, flowers, plants and the most wonderful fresh meats!
Also take some time to browse the Iñaquito Market. Here, in among all of the stands you will find beautiful crafted goods, delicious foods and friendly people. It is the perfect place to pick up something to eat and grab a few souvenirs to take home for yourself and your loved ones. There is so much to see, and such variety, you may have trouble decided what to purchase! Haggle and buy a bit of everything. It is always wonderful to support the local economy while on vacation!
If you’d rather go off the beaten path to find some goods that are beautifully hand crafted, ask around and you may be lucky enough to be sent in the direction of some of the best artisans that Ecuador has to offer. I was thrilled to be shown the workshop of a gentleman who creates everything from alpaca wool, he hand looms and dyes the fabrics that he creates and the items he makes are stunning. A very friendly and kind soul too. He took time out of his work to show me how he makes the things he does. You will not regret taking the time to seek these artisans out….make a purchase, you will glad that you did! I know that if I get the chance to visit again soon, there is a poncho that I MUST purchase!