Oaxaca Saturday Market
On Saturday’s, Oaxaca City market, also known as Abastos Market becomes alive with crafts from the early morning to afternoon. The market is open everyday of the week, but the craft section is only around on Saturdays. On a typical day in the Abastos market in Oaxaca you will find luscious tropical fruits, herbs, turkeys, rugs, baskets, camera toting tourists, wandering children that have seemingly grown up in the market, tortilla making, cheese vendors, and even grasshoppers to eat. On Saturdays at the market you will encounter Trique Indian weavers using looms to create intricate textiles and rugs for sale from world renowned Teotitlán del Valle. You can also find bread, chocolate, jewelry, baskets, ceramics, sandals, hammocks, and hundreds of other signature items. Bargaining is expected at the Abastos market and the Zapotec women love to chat.
Benito Juárez Market
Oaxaca city is home to several large markets, the oldest being Benito Juárez Market, two blocks south of the Zocalo beside San Juan Dios church. Benito Juárez, named after a former President, was built in 1893 and is the best place to find produce and flowers. Here you will find quesillo (a soft white cheese rolled into a ball only found in Oaxaca), jars of mole sauce, honey, cacao beans, and barbequed grasshoppers. The side streets, leading off of the market, of Las Casas and 20 de Noviembre sell all sorts of tourist oriented goods such as hammocks, Christmas tree ornaments, religious figurines, baskets, and huipiles, or tunics.
Mercado de Artesañas
Also called the handicrafts market, the Mercado de Artesañas sits at Zaragoza and García. It’s open daily and offers lots of household items, leather goods, native textiles, handicrafts, and ceramics.
La Merced Market
This small market on Insurgentes is open daily from 8am-7pm and is a good place to find cheap mescal and tequila, as well as many other food items. If you want to buy bulk quantities of chocolate, quesillo, or tortillas this is the place.
Market Days Outside of Oaxaca
Many nearby towns also have market days and tours from Oaxaca are readily available. On Sunday try the Tlacolula market, on Tuesday try Ayoquezco, Wednesday Etla, Villa de Tela and Zimatlán, Thursday Zaashila, Friday Ocotlán. The open air market at Tlacolula is the favorite and rivals Saturdays in Oaxaca. The locals where their regional attire, there are live farm animals for sale, and strolling vendors sell all sorts of local delicacies. The market at Tlacolula lacks the large crowds that Oaxaca draws, giving it a more authentic vibe.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.