CANCUN OPEN-AIR MARKETS
Every Mayan city and village has at least one open-air market. These are colorful flea-market-type venues, typically selling locally made items. The further into Mayan territory you go the more “Mayan” they become, culminating in the spectacular market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Of course the markets in Cancun are not as rich in cultural flavor as their southern cousins, but they are a fun, lively place to go to get great deals on arts and crafts, practical merchandise and souvenirs.
There are three big open-air markets [called Mercados], which are all located within walking distance of each other in the downtown area [El Centro]. Here you will find an assortment of goods including silver, jewelry, clothing, rugs and blankets, Mexican pottery, leather, carved wood, hammocks, sombreros, etc.
Vendors in the market are more likely to negotiate prices as many vendors in the malls are now fixing their prices in stone.
Lots of vendors selling inexpensive jewelry, sunglasses, clay pottery, Mayan artifacts [copies], chess-sets etc. etc.. There are Mexican restaurants, beauty salons, a pharmacy and an upscale section called Plaza Bonita that features clothing boutiques, art galleries, cafes and ice cream stores.
This is more of a local market catering to the local economy. This is where you can buy fresh vegetables and produce, flowers, meat, household products and general merchandise.
Ki Huic Market
Like Mercado 28 but not as big. Good place to go for the restaurants.
Markets are located north of the ADO bus terminal in downtown El Centro Cancun.
Mercado Coral Negro
– Hotel Zone
Mercado Coral Negro is in the middle of the hotel-zone strip. Depending where you stay in Cancun you only have to ask any hotel staff in the lobby which direction to go to find the market. You can take the bus [6 pesos] or take a taxi.
Much of what you will find in the markets you will also see in the shopping malls. But in the markets you have the ability to bargain or negotiate your price (which appeals to some tourists and frightens others). Be forewarned: many of the market sellers are aggressive and will pressure you into a purchase or make it very difficult to leave. In being firm, you may feel like you’re being rude.
You just have to learn how to play the game to come out ahead. The best way to get a good deal is to be nice to the vendor. It is all a game to them. Most work 6 days a week for little money. The majority of vendors you meet do not own the stall or the merchandise they are selling.
These are our favorite vendor lines:
Hola, Senor, you are my final hope!
Amegos, come in and let me rip you off!
Hola Senor, we have exactly what you are looking for!
You say, “just looking”, they say, “just selling”.
Broken English spoken here perfectly!
Everything almost 100% off!