So what does a non-shopper (me) do when you find yourself at one of the largest outdoor markets in South America? Just hang back and soak up the excitement emanating from the shoppers in the group! And I’m talking giant too. Like big city mall giant. This quasi-outdoor market (it does have a roof) has a ground level parking area to rival some malls in the US as well as multiple stories filled with produce and merchandise. The building boasts 34,660 square meters (that’s over 113,000 square feet) with parking for over 300 vehicles (on the first floor), five wineries, six cold rooms, areas for pharmacies, administration, medical offices, a training room, nursery, chapel, elevators, forklifts, and 791 stalls for vendors on the second and third floors.
The most amazing thing for me, as a non-shopper who is not impressed by the vast quantities of produce and merchandise, was the cleanliness. I never pictured being in an open-air market anywhere in the world where the floors were so clean you could almost eat off of them and there weren’t any flies, not even in the meat aisles. We were there in the morning on a weekday when it was not crowded at all, so it might be busier and maybe a little messier on a day when it’s packed. But I was impressed. Even the restrooms were super clean. I’ve been to malls in the states where I didn’t want to use the restroom because it wasn’t clean.
For people who truly love shopping, like my husband, this was a truly amazing market offering so many choices that he probably could have spent all day just walking up and down the aisles. And, of course, as we’ve mentioned many times before, the people here are just so nice. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation. And they are excellent at small talk and very proud and obliging to make sure you are enjoying your visit to their country.
If you plan to visit this ginormous market, especially on a busy day and time, definitely be cautious as you would in any large, crowded city area anywhere in the world. But give yourself enough time (at least 45 minutes) to walk around both levels because it’s quite a sight.
Lynn, Bob and Niele
For additional information and a great map, checkout TripAdvisor: