Every Saturday morning, Villa de Leyva has a Plaza de Mercado. It is a couple blocks behind the Plaza Mayor. If you are visiting Villa de Leyva, and you happen to be there on a Saturday, I recommend you stop by to experience the market and all it has to offer.
What a is a Plaza de Mercado?
A plaza de Mercado is more or less something equivalent to a Farmer’s Market here in the United States. There are various stalls ranging from crafts, clothing, fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods. Every town tends to have its own Plaza de Mercado. Big cities have them too. The Plaza de Mercado may vary from town to town and city to city. Still, it is a place to experience the culture, try new foods, and spend a day in the town/city.
What can you buy at a Plaza de Mercado?
You can buy fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, arts and crafts, clothing, household items, and more. The locals visit the Plaza de Mercado to purchase fresh produce directly from the campesinos. Visitors and tourists go to the Plaza de Mercado to taste a variety of fruits that may not be available in their homeland. In addition, visitors and tourists may buy souvenirs, crafts, and household items.
What is a campesino(a)?
A campesino(a), in the most literal sense of the word, is a peasant or a farmer, a farm worker or a farm tenant. Having said that, the word campesino(a) encompasses much more than just a person who works in the fields. A campesino(a) takes care of the land so we can have food. Campesinos are fundamental in the food chain. They live off the fields, and that is where their name comes from, Campo = fields. Campesinos are kind, humble, and generous.
To learn more about a special campesina we met during our trip, read this blog post about Doña Dionisia 100% campesina.
Plaza de Mercado de Villa de Leyva
The Plaza de Mercado of Villa de Leyva is not only a place to buy food and items. It is also a place that means a lot to the locals and where there is a lot of history and family traditions. For example, you may find that the family that sells fruits and vegetables has been doing it for the past 50 years. If you talk to them, they will share that family history, and you will begin to understand how important the Plaza de Mercado is to them.
The Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva is set on an open space where farmers and sellers begin to set up their tents at about 2:00 am. It is an adventure to arrive and see trucks being unloaded and stalls full of beautiful products.
Although I was born in Colombia, I can spend hours walking through Plaza de Mercado, tasting the delicious food and talking and getting to know the people of the market. One of my favorite things is to buy different fruits or sample fruits from vendors.
What kind of fruits can I find in a Plaza de Mercado in Colombia?
When you visit a Plaza de Mercado in Colombia, you will see fruits you are used to consuming, but you will also find a variety of fruits that are entirely new to you like, for example, mangostino, uchuva, lulo, granadilla, zapote, gulupa, pitaya, nispero, curuba, guanábana, and more.
Did you know Colombia has hundreds of different varieties of fruits? Colombia is one of the largest fruit producers in Latin America. With that in mind, try some delicious fruits sure to surprise you.
Can you haggle at the Plaza de Mercado?
Yes! You can certainly haggle to negotiate the price of items at a Plaza de Mercado. For example, when my husband and son fell in love with a seller with genuine Colombian leather hats, they negotiated the price much lower than initially quoted because they were buying more than 2.
Can I use my credit card in a Plaza de Mercado?
No, you will most likely not be able to use a credit card in a Plaza de Mercado. If you are visiting a Plaza de Mercado, I recommend bringing cash in smaller denominations. To read more about Colombian Pesos (Colombia’s Official currency) read this blog post.
Some things we bought at the Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva
I bought several fruits and vegetables for my husband and son to try. We also purchased a molinillo which is used to make hot chocolate. To learn more about how Colombian’s drink hot chocolate check out this blog post.
My husband and son also bought beautiful leather hats they wore throughout the trip. My husband also bought a few extra to send to his family in The Netherlands. These hats were genuine Colombian leather and truly beautiful.
Is it worth visiting the Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva?
Yes, it is worth stopping by the Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva. It is not only about buying different things, but it is more about experiencing the culture, learning about the local history, and trying different things you may not have been able to try otherwise.
When is the Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva open?
The Plaza de Mercado in Villa de Leyva opens every Saturday from 7 am until about 3:00 pm. However, we recommend you go earlier in the morning to be able to pick from all available items.
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