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Puerto Vallarta's Municipal Market, also known as "THE FLEA MARKET"

The "Flea Market" is a shop-a-holic's dream, litterally dozens and dozens of stores all in one place. You'll find silver, pottery, clothing, leather goods, toys, paper machè figures, stuffed frogs, and of course, T-shirts galore. Don't forget to venture upstairs where few gringos go, but the ones who do can enjoy some of the most authentic Mexican food at bargain prices, sitting alongside the locals. Here's how to find Puerto Vallarta's Flea Market:

Puerto Vallarta Flea Market

Everything you want in one place! The Flea Market is the place to find everything you were looking for but couldn't find elsewhere. Covering an entire city block, this was originally the town's "supermarket"...stalls of farm-fresh vegetables, butcher shops, fruit vendors, grain suppliers, and stores selling everything a house could need. As tourism developed, the town grew, and a supermarket opened just across the river, accessible by foot-bridge. The market began seeing more tourists than locals, and it has become what you see today: a huge bustling marketplace for arts, handicrafts, and the more mass-produced items that every tourist needs one or two of.


Located at the south end of El Centro (Downtown) between to two roads that cross the Cuale river which divides El Centro from Viejo Vallarta (the 'Old Town' section of Puerto Vallarta), the market rests on the north side of the river and is bounded on the east by Insurgentes Street. There are multiple entrances on all sides (except the river side, of course), so once you find it you'll have no problem finding a way inside.



The main floor is a catacomb of stalls and stores, some specializing in one particular type of merchandise, while others seem to have a little bit of everything. Vendors use a variety of pitches to get you to come inside and take a closer look at their wares, all the way from "Please, come take a look" to the more bold "What are you waiting for, it's cheaper than Wal-Mart?". Once you start to show an interest in a particular item, the "bargaining game" begins.


Here’s how it works: You start admiring an object, and the shop-keeper asks you if you like it. You ask how much it costs, and he replies that it is 200 pesos. At this point you tell him that this is far too much money, and he replies by explaining about the fine quality of the item, how many days it took the craftsman to create this piece of art, and then asks how much you want to pay. You suggest that you might like to take it home with you if it were 75 pesos. He laughs and tells you that this is simply not possible, as he has children to feed, but allows that he could bring his price down to 180 pesos. You in turn offer to pay 100 pesos, and on and on.


This can, if you like, go on for quite some time, until you reach a price at which you can both agree. Or, you can simply put the item back on the shelf at any time and say that it’s just more than you can afford. Be aware that the shopkeeper may, as you are leaving the store, agree finally to sell it to you at your last-offered price (which you are rather obligated to now accept), but to “please don’t tell anybody else”. This can be a way for both of you to save face and complete the transaction. This is the way business is and has been done in Mexico for years and years, and how friends are made as well!


What's a fair price? It's a price you are willing to pay for the item in question.Remember that to insult someone's merchandise is down-right rude, and will only make you, and your fellow countrymen, look bad.


Don't forget to venture upstairs if you came in on the main floor. There are more shops here, plus a wide variety of small restaurants. This is probably some of the most authentic 'home cooking' you'll find in the Puerto Vallarta's 'tourist zones', with great prices as well. Absolutely a required stop for the diner who wants truly authentic Mexican cooking. For the less adventurous diner, hungry and thirsty shoppers should check out Cafe Roma for good food and drink just a 1/2 block west of the market, upstairs...they feature excellent pizza and cheap cold beer (plus clean restrooms!)


Be sure to bring pesos with you, you'll get a better deal than trying to deal in U.S. or Canadian dollars. There is an HSBC Bank with an ATM machine directly across Insurgentes Street from the Puerto Vallarta Flea Market.


Puerto Vallarta Mexico is  home to some of the finest dining in the WORLD. No kidding, Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been featured repeatedly in the most prestigeous culinary publications, and for good reason...the fine dining in Puerto Vallarta is WORLD CLASS!

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