To Market, To Market!
These weekly outdoor markets offer more than just shopping
One of my favorite things to do since moving to Mexico is go to the weekly tianguis, or outdoor markets you find in just about every town. Traditionally these offer produce and other foodstuffs, housewares, toys and sometimes souvenir-type things, but the influx of foreigners in certain areas has changed them into entirely new kinds of events. Mixing the joyful chaos of a Mexican flea market with the farm-to-table sensibilities of north-of-the-border farmers’ markets, these weekly open-air markets combine the best of both worlds.
Every market will have its own vibe, with local vendors representing the culture and interests of the area. Whether you go just once or make a visit part of your weekly routine, they’re a great way to learn about your food and your community. These Mexican markets are a cacophony of sound, visuals and smells—much more than just a shopping experience.
In the Puerto Vallarta area, the four biggest weekly markets offer a mélange of vendors selling an incredible assortment of things, many of them handmade and one-of-a-kind. Indeed, PV prides itself on the number of artists and artisans that make their homes in the Bay of Banderas area, and these markets are a great place to encounter many of them in person with their work.
Besides artisan crafts, you’ll find one-of-a-kind clothing, Oaxacan rugs, bedspreads and tapestries, fresh seafood and locally grown coffee beans, vegetables and fruits, handmade jewelry and holistic remedies, prepared foods from around the globe, hand-crafted guitars and ukuleles. You never know what you'll find or see! Purses made from soda can flip-tops? Authentic Indian butter chicken? A dozen flavors of kombucha? Yes, yes and yes!
A few tips: Do bring your own shopping bags—they’ll make it easier to carry your purchases and cut down on plastics. Bring small bills if you can; a $500-peso note can be difficult for a small vendor to change. That said, many vendors have the ability to accept credit cards—so go prepared to find (and buy!) that treasure you’ve been wanting!
Olas Altas Farmers’ Market
When: Saturday 9am-2pm, November to mid-June
Where: Lazaro Cardenas Park in the Romantic Zone
“Hand-made & Homegrown” is the motto of this fun, bustling outdoor market, celebrating its 14th year in operation. About 100 vendors offer artisan jewelry, clothing, baked goods, fresh pasta, cheeses and breads, and natural body and skincare products; local farmers sell organic produce, herbs and fruits. A food court offers ready-made Mexican and international foods, ice creams and cold drinks.
Art & Market Marina Vallarta
When: Thursday evenings, 5-10pm, November to May
Where: At the Marina Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta
A huge market—350 vendors—with a dizzying array of arts and crafts, Mexican and international foods to eat on-site or take home, Oaxacan handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, home accessories and so much more. Roving live music will keep you entertained while you stroll, shop, eat, drink and have a great time! Set up along the marina where the whale statue is.
Riviera Farmers Market
When: Tuesdays 9am-2pm, November to April
Where: Parking lot of the Nuevo Vallarta Business Center
A giant market with 350 vendors offering a smorgasbord of products, services, foods and more! You’ll find leather goods, embroidered clothing and textiles, original art, handmade jewelry, footwear and clothing of all kinds, and traditional handcrafts from Oaxaca and the local Huichol people. A plethora of food includes fresh-made breads and pastas, traditional Mexican dishes to eat or take home, handmade candies, ice creams and other sweets and an array of authentic international foods. A big, shaded food court offers tables and chairs to enjoy lunch or snacks. Plus, several local farmers sell organic produce.
La Cruz Farmers Market
When: Sundays 9am-2pm, November to April
Where: Along the marina promenade in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit
Winding along the wide, mostly shady promenade of the La Cruz marina, this market boasts about 200 vendors offering a satisfying mix of artisan, Huichol and Oaxacan crafts, natural body products, essential oils, a boisterous fresh seafood market, locally produced foodstuffs like coffee and cheeses, and unique, one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, footwear and accessories. A food court offers a big selection of fabulous regional Mexican and international foods, from traditional huaraches to Argentinian empanadas. Live music and dancing in a center square add to the festive atmosphere.
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