markets are among the finest in the world. Traditional markets
link the present with the past and hopefully the future.
A friend leads first-time visitors through Mexico City's Anthropology
Museum in Chapultepec
Park. He purposefully stops at the maquetas (models)
that depict markets held in the days before Columbus and Cortez.
Take a look, he says. There is a great diversity of products
bartered, traded and sold. Some vendors sell inside the market,
A day or two later he takes his visitors to a traditional city
market. There's practically no difference (outside of the vendors
now have cellphones and purchases are carted away in plastic
bags). Visitors see that markets are living museums
and impart lessons that are educational and nutritional. They
are also a good place to meet the locals and for locals to meet
The tianguis is a moveable feast traced back for centuries
and are in a different class than the established markets --
mercados -- where vendors sell their wares each day.
Markets have been a chief ingredient in the social fabric of
the country. The tradition goes back thousands of years to a
time when cultivation of corn allowed people to live in settlements.
For those who live in remote areas this is an opportunity to
come to town to acquire provisions. Another prime motivator
of the market is that it provides a place for people to socialize.
Markets provides a meeting point (punto de encuentro) in time
and space for locals to gossip and for travelers to get a chance
to take a peak at the 'real' Mexico.
Mexican markets are friendly venues for travelers as they welcome
visitors. Enjoy your visit!
A good example of a market with an indigenous past is Tlacolula
For visitors heading out to the markets, we have a recommendations
to make the most of your market visit.
Before you arrive - Learn how
to say 'thank you' in the local language (or languages). Here
are a few examples from Oaxaca.
Before you arrive - Print out
a Flickr photo of someone you'd like to visit.
Buy something - See something
you like? Make a purchase!
Bring small bills - Don't expect
to get change for a small purchase if you are paying with a
200 or 500 peso note.
Bring change - Exact change is
Be time specific - If you are
seeking produce for today or tomorrow, be specific. vendors
are pleased (and at times insistent) in choosing the right produce.
Don't block the corridors - Remember
that the market is a work environment. If you're in a group
or traveling by yourself, keep the corridors clear for other
Always ask before taking pictures
- It is common courtesy, particularly for portraits, but also
of goods in general. Better than taking a photo is printing
out a photo from Flickr, find the vendor and give them the copy.
Pay attention - Tourists in markets
are easy targets for thieves. Lessen the chances of robbery
by paying attention.
After your visit - Evaluate your
experiences and share photos on Social Web websites including Facebook
WHAT TO BUY
In a traditional market, visitors can buy food and crafts.
Meals are often available as are fresh juices.
Kitsch and loveable in the United
States and Europe
are the durable market bags, made of synthetics and often embossed
with a design or the merchant's name. What better thing to buy
in a market than a market bag? It's like buying postcards at
the post office!