Sucre’s biggest and most bustling market is worth the short trip from the city center. Spanning around 10 blocks near the stadium, sprawling Mercado Campesino has almost anything imaginable up for sale somewhere within its perimeter. While seemingly disorganized at first, the market is actually fairly logically structured, with each type of product only being sold in certain sections. Ask the vendors where to find stuff to avoid walking around endlessly in circles. There is plenty of great street food on offer including tasty snacks and hearty set lunches.
As the name suggests, this is Sucre’s most centrally located market, it can be found just a few blocks from the main plaza. Mercado Central is all about food, with an abundance of basic ingredients such as wheat, flour, cheese, fruit and veggies, meat and poultry as well as herbs and spices on offer at bargain basement prices. Those who don’t fancy cooking for themselves should head upstairs to the comedor which sells some of the city’s cheapest breakfast, lunch and dinner. Freshly squeezed juices and succulent fruit salads are sold on the bottom floor for only BOB7 (US$1).
Those looking to upgrade their wardrobe should check out the city’s most extensive fashion shopping district. Mercado Negro is a maze of narrow alleyways covered by haphazard corrugated iron roofing that is home to countless clothing and shoe stalls. Most of the products are western designs which have been shipped in on-mass from China, so don’t expect high quality or legit brand name apparel. There are also some traditional Bolivian designs scattered around the place.
A two hour bus ride from Sucre, Tarabuco is a small rural town that is known for its colorful weekly market. Indigenous villagers descend on the normally sleepy town every Sunday morning in the hopes of offloading some of their intricate handicrafts to one of the many foreign visitors. It’s just as popular for ethno-tourism as it is for shopping because many of the locals don their best traditional outfits for the occasion. A myriad vibrant textiles, extravagant woodwork and quirky souvenirs make Tarabuco the quintessential Andean shopping experience.