La Vega

Market time! I took a stroll through Santiago’s famous fish market, the Mercado Central, with its fish stands and fish restaurants.

The restaurants are a bit touristy, and you can’t walk through without a camarero trying to get you to sit down, but it’s a fun place to visit.

After the stint at the Estación Mapocho, I went over to La Vega – a market I thought I had visited last time, but, actually, I hadn’t.

I checked Google maps for it, as everybody raved about it but I remembered it as a rather simple, modern, concrete market with a couple of stands.

Nothing espectacular at all!

Turns out, I had completely missed it last time. The one I had been to was a new extension, and the real, big, colorful, chaotic, crazy market of Santiago was just a block behind, the old Vega chica, and the newer, huge Mercado la Vega.

Sitting on the north bank of the Mapocho River, la Vega sells a wide variety of products, principally fruit and vegetables from the Chilean Central Valley.

La Vega houses over 500 dairy, meat and merchandise stores. Nothing you cannot find there for cheap.

There’s also a couple of small restaurants and eateries, with a few chairs and tables, offering a variety of Chilean and South American cuisine.

Every day, thousands of people pass through the 60,000 square meters, and it has become pretty iconic.

I did buy something: Merquén, a quintessential chilean spice.

Stemming from the Mapuche word mezkeñ, it is a sort of smoked chili pepper that is used as a condiment in chilean cuisine.

It’s one of the few souvenirs that I have bought on this trip, but now, towards the end, I can afford to buy some without risking overloading my luggage.