Plaza Minorista José María Villa is a popular farmers market in Medellín with hundreds of small stores. It’s a place where you can find seemingly unlimited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, Plaza Minorista is a good place to find many of the exotic tropical fruits of Colombia.
But this is more than a farmers market with fish, meats, other types of groceries, kitchen utensils, clothing and many small restaurants.
I have shopped at Plaza Minorista many times over the past eight years. But I rarely shop there anymore, as it’s a long way from Sabaneta where I live now.
Editors note: Plaza Minorista was closed for two weeks during the national quarantine due to coronavirus cases traced to this food market. But it reopened on Tuesday, April 28.
Editors note on June 16, 2020: the butcher section of Plaza Minorista has been closed for 14 days due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases with 11 coronavirus cases recently traced to the butcher section. The rest of this large famers market remains open.
Plaza Minorista Reopened on April 28
Plaza Minorista was closed on April 14 due to concerns about coronavirus cases traced to this large food market in Medellín. But the market reopened on April 28.
The sections of this large food market are being opened in stages: On April 28, the section for vegetables and fruits opened. On April 30, the groceries section opens. And finally on Monday, May 4, the butcher section opens.
The butcher area is the section of Minorista where an outbreak of coronavirus in the food market began with reportedly a total of 15 coronavirus cases in Medellín traced back to this food market. Plaza Minorista has about 10,000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs.
Now to enter Minorista as a customer you must use a face mask, your ID is checked for Pico y Placa, your temperature is checked, you must walk though a small enclosed space with a disinfection spray and then you must use antibacterial gel on your hands.
I went to Plaza Minorista on April 29 after it reopened and found that about one-third of the small shops in this huge farmers market were open and I was told many more would be opening in the next few days.
History of Plaza Minorista
The activity of public markets was brought to Medellín by Spanish colonizers. At first, it was not conceived as an enclosed space. It was an activity in the Plaza Mayor central space of the city. And this went on only one day a week, normally on Saturday or Sunday when merchants would sell products.
In January 1881, the first covered market in Medellín opened, Plaza de Flores, in Buenos Aires that is still used today.
In 1894, a covered market in Guayaquil opened. The establishment of this market was important in the development of Medellín, since with the Vasquez and Carré buildings and later a railway station, they formed an important commercial nucleus for the city.
In 1968, a fire destroyed the Guayaquil building. So, satellite plazas and a wholesale center were built to help decongest the area. But intolerant vendors settled in both Plaza de Cisneros and the Sucre passage. And the government wanted clean up the area and provide a well-located and larger location to house the large mass of merchants.
So, Plaza Minorista José María Villa was built and opened on August 15, 1984, with hundreds of spaces for vendors.
On August 15, 2018, this large food market celebrated it’s 34th anniversary.
What Can You Find?
Plaza Minorista is best known for its fruits and vegetables, which occupy the biggest portion of the large farmers market. But this market has two floors with hundreds of small shops in several sections. And many of the shops sell other products.
Beyond the huge selection of fruits and vegetables, you can find groceries, meats, fish, birds, plants, chocolates, grains, sauces, drugstore items, clothing, footwear, restaurants and bars.
You can find many things in Minorista for lower prices than other locations in Medellín. That is why it’s a very popular place. Also, keep in mind you can negotiate the prices in many of the stores.
There are many small restaurants in Minorista that sell typical Colombian dishes like Bandeja paisa. And you can find several places with good lunches for around 8,000 to 10,000 pesos.
How to Get to Plaza Minorista
It is easy to get to Plaza Minorista by using the Medellín Metro. Across the street from Minorista is the Minorista Metroplús station, which is on Line 1 of the Metroplús integrated bus system. You can connect to Line 1 at the Industriales metro station on Line A. And there is a pedestrian bridge connecting the Minorista Metroplús station with Plaza Minorista.
In addition, there are a number of bus routes that go by Minorista. The buses will have Minorista on a placard in the front window of the bus.
Also, all taxi drivers in the city will know where Plaza Minorista is located. And when you leave there normally are taxis lined up in front of Plaza Minorista. So, it’s easy to catch a taxi.
We recommend taking the metro or a taxi to and from Minorista. We don’t recommend walking to or from Minorista as the area around Minorista is sketchy.
Address: Calle 55A # 57-80, Medellín
Phone: +57 4 251 7959
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 4:30 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday: 4:30 am to 3:00 pm
The Bottom Line: Plaza Minorista – Medellín’s Farmers Market
Plaza Minorista is a very interesting market with low prices and lots of local color. So, it is worth a visit. It’s an old fashioned market for both commercial and retail customers. And it’s a great place to find a big variety of exotic tropical Colombian fruits.
There are many sections in this market to see. And it is something you really should not miss if you are visiting Medellín. In addition, we recommend going in the morning or early afternoon, as some places close in the late afternoon.
Plaza Minorista was closed for two weeks starting on April 14, 2020 due to coronavirus cases traced to this large food market. But it reopened on April 28 after being cleaned and after putting in place strict biosafety measures.
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Editors note: updated on April 30, 2020 with information that Plaza Minorista has reopened after being closed for two weeks.
Editors note: updated on June 16, 2020 with information that the butcher section of Plaza Minorista is closed for two weeks due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases traced to this section of the farmers market.