The Sunday Market at Tarabuco

The Sunday Market at Tarabuco, Chuquisaca, in Bolivia is not every tourist’s cup of tea. On Tripadvisor many who have recently visited are clearly underwhelmed by what this small unpretentious town has to offer. As a day trip from Sucre it requires a four hour journey just to get there and back. Depending on one’s priorities it is possibly easier to go on an organised tour, although it could be argued that the frequency of such tours don’t add to the local flavour that helps Tarabuco remain distinctive. Carol and I took public transport, requiring a change of bus in Sucre, before arriving the night before.

This allowed us to relax in the hostal we’d booked and get our bearings in the town

before the hustle and bustle of the following day.

I can appreciate why some travellers arriving from Sucre may feel disappointed. Sucre is a beautiful City,

elegant and with a lot to offer. Prior to our trip to Tarabuco we visited The Foundation for Anthropological Research and Ethno-development, Anthropologists of the Southern Andes (ASUR) in Sucre which had the following textiles on display:

For more information about these artefacts:

However what makes Tarabuco special is that it provides an opportunity to relax within a lived culture not unrelated to that which we saw at the museum behind glass. Yampara people from far and wide start arriving before dawn on Sunday with items to sell and lists of things to buy.

They cram the streets in a riot of colourful clothing, exotic outfits, hats and expressions.

Fruit and vegetables on display add to the feeling of abundance.

Carol and I had a great day spending most of our time away from the main square amongst the food stalls and itinerant traders who often had only a couple of sacks of goods to sell. I bought a fabulous large old woollen flat-woven grain sack, very sturdy with natural ivory and brown woollen bands. Carol found an embroidered satin shawl with woven fringes as worn by Cholitas, whose Trilby hats and multiple skirts give them a very jolly appearance, see below

The traditional outfits worn by men consist of a leather helmet-type hat or ‘montera’, poncho and sturdy sandals made from up-cycled car tyres,

It felt special to drift amongst happy shoppers, weekenders and local families having a day out.

We finally ended up taking lunch in the communal cafe under a large corrugated metal roof where people were contentedly eating maize and vegetables

before we caught the bus back to Sucre just as the locals were making their way home.

Another good travelogue about Tarabuco can be found by following the link below.
Copyright Dominic Orr 2017