Every great city needs a great market, a traditional place where you can find local products, sold by local people, and where visitors can feel like a local. Bogota is no exception. There is a place called Paloquemao Market (Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao), a traditional location where you can find pretty much everything. A 3-block-long fair of color, smells, flavors, and noises will wow your senses in this incredible market!
This marvelous spot is close to the city center, located between Calles 19 and 22 with Carrera 27. You can get there by Transmilenio, arriving at Paloquemado station, or hop on a bus that goes west on Calle 19 (see Bogotá: Basics for transportation). Taxis or Uber are also good affordable options from the city center.
Because of its size the market is hard to miss, but as a reference, it is behind a big shopping mall called “Calima” (see Shopping malls in Bogota)The market opens from Monday to Saturday from 4:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5:00 am 2:30 pm.
Place of Colors
The moment you enter Paloquemado your eyes will not know where to look, and your nose will be surprised and confused at the same time. It is like a live painting: you will find yourself surrounded by fruits, vegetables, and flowers of all colors and shapes. You will see shelves full of Lulos, maracuyás, feijoas, papayas (see exotic fruits you have to try) corn and potatoes in all forms and sizes, and every fresh product you can imagine.
One of the many advantages of Bogota is that, even when the city is cold, it has cultivable areas very close. So, all these products arrive fresh from the farm to the market, and sometimes they are even sold by the same family who grows it.
While you are wandering the aisles, you will probably get hungry, but not to worry! You don’t think a place with such great products would leave you without trying them, right? Indeed, you can find stands where they make fruit salads and fresh smoothies.
If you are hungrier, or you are not on a diet, there are also cheap restaurants where you can eat a typical Bogotano lunch, a “corrientazo” (cheap lunch menu typically eaten by workers in their everyday lives). It usually contains soup, meat, rise, plantain, potatoes, dessert and juice, for only USD $2 – 3 (COP 6,000- 7,000). Do not expect it to be haute cuisine or gourmet, but if you want to feel like a local you have to try one.
It is also a great place to have breakfast if you are going for an early shopping trip. You can find different types of arepas (corn cakes) (see Arepas: you have to try them all) with eggs, coffee or chocolate.
Paloquemado is not only a place to buy food and eat, you can find handicrafts too. You will see all kinds of things made by Colombians, usually household items, baskets, wooden objects, “alpargatas” (espadrilles), pots for plants, and even souvenirs.
The ornament every Colombian has in his house, or the wooden spoon with which all grandmothers cook, or maybe the 100-year-old pot in the entrance of every house; all of these you can find there, at very good prices and guaranteeing a local authenticity.
Flowers and Herbs
This market is also one of the biggest flowers markets in Bogotá. Colombia is known all over the world for its beautiful flowers, so you will for sure enjoy admiring all the colors and varieties of flowers and plants, and you will have the possibility of take some home for a very cheap price.
And as if all this were not enough, this market is also a “pharmacy.” Well, a natural pharmacy! A large piece of this place is full of herbs of all kinds, the ones people eat or boil to cure common diseases, or those they use for traditional ceremonies with medicinal or magical purposes, or natural creams for all kinds of pains. If you want to find out more about this interesting subject you could read our article “Bogotá Herbs”.
Ask the sellers, they will be really kind. For sure they will have something for anything you are suffering from, and they will surely give you something more to protect you from the evil eye, because, well, you never know.
Last but not least, as it is certain that you want to visit this incredible site, it is important to follow some recommendations (If you want to know more about security recommendations click here). First, always carry cash and a bag, or two, for everything you are going to buy. Additionally, the best time to go is in the morning and early in the afternoon, because as they open very early, around three in the afternoon many of the best products will have already been sold. Also, for safety reasons, it is better not to be in the area when it gets dark because it tends to be very lonely.
But in reality, the biggest recommendation is: go visit this market, enjoy the folklore, the people, the products, the colors, the flavors, everything. Just go, you will not regret it!
Check our article about San Victorino to know more about another popular market in Bogotá.
If you want to know more about the amazing places you have to visit in Bogotá, go to our website Colture and start discovering all the richness of this incredible city! Share with your friends and be ready to enjoy every minute of your trip to Bogotá.