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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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!)
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