The Tarabuco Market

Tarabuco is a small town, roughly 65 km, or an hour and twenty minutes, from Sucre, which is famous for its Sunday market – famous to the point that the market has become quite touristy. Karen and I visited the market two weeks ago together with Emma, a Biblioworks volunteer, who was shopping for presents to bring home. Touristy, yes, worth a visit anyway: absolutely.

One of the market streets off the central plaza

We had another opportunity to visit Tarabuco on a Wednesday last week as we were passing through on out way to Sopachuy. What a difference: there was not a gringo to be seen on the central plaza, as a matter of fact there was not a person to be seen, period.

We went back to Tarabuco this Sunday as Trabuco was combining its regular Sunday market with the Feria de Agricolacomercial and Gastronomica – somewhat like a state fair with a 4H show in the US. We also went back as Biblioworks has built a library in Tarabuco, and Biblioworks had a booth at the fair.

The fair.

The addition of the state fair changed the flavor of the market significantly, and in a good way. While there were many gringos in attendance, there were many more locals than what we had seen before, and the “fast food’ section of the market was a pleasant, tasty, surprise.

Fast food, Bolivian style

Food vendors. Takes a lot to carry of a hat like that.

At the Biblioworks, Roxana did a great job of setting up a game, using a “parachute”, containing numerous numbered and lettered pockets, to get kids involved and create a crowd around the booth. The kids, and grownups had a good time.

The booth

The “parachute”; K on the right

The kids were having fun; some of the locals were a tad skeptical

The game takes concentration

While there are locals who “dress up” for the tourists – mainly the locals who are working the sales booths – most don’t: wearing folk dress is what they do normally.

Typical male folk dress for the Tarabuco area

Having a chat

She can certainly carry off the hat

Transportation to and from Tarabuco is either on a tourist bus – expensive and not much fun – or on the micro’s or collectivos as they are known. A one way ticket, for an hour and twenty minute ride, is eight (8) Bolivianos, roughly $ 1.10. Not bad. But to a certain extent, you get what you pay for, and what you paid for is not very much room. Not much room if you are Bolivian, very rare to see a Bolivian close to 6 foot tall, and¬†definitely not much room if you are 6′ 2″ (187 cm) as I am.

The micro. 20 – 22 people will fit in; real seats for 17. And yes, Kim, they do strap live sheep and chickens to the roof rack

If you are lucky, or get to the micro early, before it’s filled up, you can get the front row of seats which does provide a few extra inches of room. At least it does until someone sits down on the floor in front of you.

Despite appearances, I enjoy the collectivos

Fellow passengers. Btw, they are seated on stools on the floor, or on protruding parts of the floor; not on seats.


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