Cuenca’s Feria Libre is the main produce distribution center in Azuay province and Cuenca is the capitol of Azuay. I’ve never seen anything like it. The volume and variety of fruits and vegetables is overwhelming. I read somewhere that it’s about the size of a football field which I think is about right.
It’s much more than just produce though. Clothes, souvenirs, CD’s and just about everything imaginable can be had at Feria Libre. There is fresh pork, chicken, fish and crab also available to name a few. There are food stalls where you can eat Ecuadorian fare along with the locals.
Wednesday and Saturday mornings are the busiest as people from around the province and beyond come to Feria Libre to do their food shopping for the week. Buses and taxis are everywhere bringing shoppers in and transporting them back home when they’re finished. The rest of the week is super busy also but if you can I’d avoid Saturday and Wednesday mornings.
It’s really an enormous farmers market for the most part where farmers from all over come to Cuenca to sell their goods. In the states where farmers markets charge a premium it’s just the opposite here and where you’ll find the lowest prices in the area on just about everything. Consumers shop here of course but because of the low prices so do restaurants and tiendas.
In one corner of the area are small animals for sale.
Outside on the perimeter I saw a guy with two milk goats selling fresh goat milk, literally, while you wait for $.25 for a small paper cup full and he was doing a pretty brisk business.
If you’re a first time visitor I’d set aside a few hours to really take it all in. It’s a “must do” for the experience alone.