Mercado Central and a supermarket
At Mercado Central you can buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also several cheap eateries. It is open between 7 and 18.
Just across the road from Mercado Central there is a large supermarket Mega Bodega where you can practically find everything else that you can’t find at the market.
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Sugarcane and sweet things
By the bus terminal (on Amazonas) and on Martinez, on the way to the baths, there are several sugarcane stalls where you can buy jugo de caña, pieces of sugarcane to chew on and many other sweet things.
On the main street, Ambato, there are several shops also selling sweet things and here you can often see someone standing in the door working with the melcocha, a taffy which is hand pulled.
I must say that I didn’t try any of these sweet things as I did not feel like eating sweet things while in Baños, so I can’t say how they taste.
Tagua and Melcocha
Melcocha is the traditional hand-pulled taffy from Baños. Watching it being pulled is diverting, but I wasn't in the mood to try it.
Tagua is more interesting, a seed (looks like a nut, but not a nut), which is very similar in texture to ivory. Tagua is marfil vegetal (vegetal ivory). You can buy jewelery, or small carvings to bring back home. As you can see on the photo of the turtle, the carvings often incorporate one whole Tagua seed (phytelephas aequatorialis) as the base.
A small animal will cost you $2 to $3.
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all over town: gifts and souvenirs
Shops are packed with every kind of gifts and souvenirs, earrings, scarfs, T-shirts, bags and a lot more at very good prices! Tagua sculptures are very cute and very cheap, about 2-3$.( In Panama they cost from 15$ to 35$!!! )
El Cade: Tagua, vegetal ivory - La Tagua, l'ivoire vegetal
The shop is also the "factory" of Alberto. A small factory, but great products, mainly in Tagua (this white vegetal ivory), or also in colourful grains... You may ask him whatever you want to be built in Tagua, he will do it for you !
Cette petite boutique est aussi l'"usine" d'Alberto. Une petite usine, certes, mais avec un gros debit de produits de Tagua, ce fruit blanc dur comme de l'ivoire, ou des colliers a base de graines multicolores... Vous pouvez aussi lui demander de vous confectionner vos fantaisies, il se fera un plaisir de le faire !
What to buy: Tagua products !
Des trucs en tagua !!
What to pay: Between 0.5 and 12 USD.
Entre 0.5 et 12 USD.
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