Plaza Minorista: A Farmer’s Market in El Centro

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There are great prices on produce at the Plaza Minorista.
The Plaza Minorista is a landmark in Prado Centro.
The Plaza Minorista is a landmark in Prado Centro (northwest downtown)

Time to take the next step, to go to the next level.

It’s nothing dramatic, just a jump from a small farmers market to a medium-sized one.

I told you it was coming. Remember when I wrote that story about the Plaza de Mercado La America?

Now I tell you about the Minorista.

I had known it was there for a while before I finally went. I had already been to the Mayorista, the biggest of them all, and I’ll tell you about it soon, and from that brief trip I found out there is another market just like it, but smaller, in the northwest section of El Centro.

I had seen buses with “Minorista” in the placard too, which offered other downtown destinations.

I made it a destination because a friend invited me.

Joan, one of my very first friends in this city, was teaching an international business class at Esumer, a university in Robledo. During a rare lapse in judgment, Joan asked me to speak to his class, thinking I could be useful resource.

I am good at teaching people what NOT to do.

Jokes aside, it was a fun experience. We spoke only in English because that’s how the class was structured.

The best part came after, when Joan invited me to eat at one of many restaurants in the Plaza Minorista, this one called Aqui Paro Lucho. When I saw the white tablecloths, I thought, “This is gonna be good.”

It was.

I had breakfast, a big one. A pork filet, calentado, eggs and an arepa. I was so full.

I think the meal was 17,000 pesos, very expensive for breakfast, normally 5,000 pesos or so, but also much smaller and nearly as tasty as this one.

We walked around for a bit afterward and I saw that the Minorista is very similar to the Plaza de Mercado de La America: seemingly unlimited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, and useful kitchen utensils in some areas.

The big red plastic container atop the juice bar was mine. So refreshing to have fresh lulo on a hot day.
The big red plastic container atop the juice bar was mine. So refreshing to have fresh lulo on a hot day.

I went back recently, but only to take pictures.

It was a hot day, so I found a juice stand somewhere in the middle. I paid only 2,000 pesos (about $1) for about 1.5 liters of lulo, a sweet and tangy fruit popular in Colombia.

My roommate Kevin — who is now known as Yonkers because my friend Marcello and I make fun of his New York accent — got guanabana, or passion fruit.

He wasn’t as thirsty as me and was taking what seemed like forever to finish his juice.

“Dis fewken’ guy,” Marcello would have said.

I took a few more pictures and then we left.

Some friends recently told me that the area outside the Minorista is a little dangerous.

I suppose at night it is. I was there during the day so I had no problems.

It was a quick walk from metro Estacion Prado, just several blocks west, then I walked all the way to El Hueco afterward.

I’ll tell you more about that later.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Ryan, Thanks for another excellent post. I’m a big fan of the blog; you did an excellent job filling in for Dave while he wandered around Central America.

    You said it was hot. My wife has been checking the Medellin weather on the web, and seeing temps in the high 80s, which she thinks is hot. Is it hotter in El Centro? More humid? Does it stay hot for long? I know its all relative, and difficult to quantify, but she’s worried about it when we visit in April, so that means I’m worried too 🙂 Many thanks for any information you can pass on.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    • There’s a handy climate chart on the Medellin Wikipedia page with monthly averages.

      The temperature in the valley doesn’t vary too much, but if you spend time in Parque Arvi, Santa Elena, or Rio Negro (international airport), you’ll notice it’s cooler up there as it’s 800 meters higher in elevation. It can actually get cold enough at night to require a jacket, and appreciate a warm wood fire.

      If you visit the pueblo of Santa Fe de Antioquia to the east, which is only an hour away, it’s noticeably warmer as it’s at a lower altitude.

      Within Medellin, the temperatures usually stay in the low 80’s for highs, but if the sun is out, it can feel a lot hotter. April is the start of the rainy season, so it tends to feel cooler after it rains as well. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the info Dave, it does help! I’m reading your Medellin Travel Guide right now. Lots of good info. The last couple of people who commented on TripAdvisor about Medellin complained of the smog. Is it bad right now? Thanks! Dave

        • When it comes to air pollution, everyone’s got their own opinion. It’s been very hazy since I returned in mid-February, and that’s partly because it’s starting to rain more often (which is normal this time of year). Some may confuse the hazy cloudiness for smog.

          Downtown (Centro) is the worst in my opinion, as you’ve got a lot of traffic, taxis and buses on narrow streets. But I only go down there to run the occasional errand. Also, as more Colombians can afford cars, it’s inevitable that this will be a challenge for the city (as it is in any big city).

          But, I wouldn’t choose to live here if I found the air pollution a problem.