Vacation is a time to relax, soak up the sun’s rays and perfect your tan, but it wouldn’t be complete without a shopping trip to buy things you can’t get back home, like handmade Mexican pottery and giant sombreros. It is also a time to buy souvenirs for friends and family to let them know that while you were having the time of your life in paradise, you still had time to think about them.
In Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area, you will find some amazing open-air flea markets and famers markets that are operate daily or weekly during the high season throughout the winter. Here is a list of our top 5 favorite shopping spots for those who really love to shop until they drop:
The Night Market in Marina Vallarta
From October until May, every Thursday night from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm you can enjoy an incredible atmosphere at the Marina Vallarta Art & Market, held all along the Marina Boardwalk. This is a lively market with a mix of both locals and tourists and a great place to absorb the sights and sounds of the local culture.
At the market you will find a wide variety of organic products, locally made art, silver jewelry, leather huaraches, and let’s not forget tequila and cigars.
This market features over 200 vendors and live entertainment including live music, folkloric dancers and Mariachi.
After you have shopped to your heart’s content, there is an amazing lighthouse bar where you can sip a cocktail and admire the view of the twinkling lights of Vallarta at night.
Olas Altas Farmers Market
From November through to July, you can visit the open-air market every Saturday in Lazaro Cardenas Park in the Romantic Zone from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm.
Here you will find a great selection of locally produced artisan products, baked goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, clothing and jewelry.
The market has a food court where you can try Mexican, Argentinian, and East Indian dishes, as well as fresh juices. We recommend the empanadas or paella. All the food is fresh and very good!
You will also find some unique gift ideas for friends and useful items to take home with you. Enjoy shopping and feasting while listening to live music.
Isla Rio Cuale Flea Market – (Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale)
If you plan to take a walk around the charming cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta, make sure you visit the Isla Rio municipal market located under the bridge that crosses the Cuale River, just head down the stairs at the River Café and you will find it.
The market is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. Here you will find unique artisan treasures and souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, leather goods, shoes, and other items such as, toys, bags and blankets. Some shops do accept credit cards, but we recommend bringing cash with you. Vendors are willing to haggle so don’t be afraid to offer a lower price than what they tell you. It is a great spot to spend half a day souvenir shopping.
Once you have purchased your souvenirs, take a stroll along the Malecon and pose for fun family photographs with the many sculptures that are dotted along the boardwalk. One of our favorites is Triton and Mermaid. See if you can find it.
La Cruz Market
La Cruz Sunday Mercado is one of the largest markets in Riviera Nayarit. It is located at the La Cruz Marina in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, approximately a one-hour drive from the Garza Blanca Preserve. It is open every Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm from November through to April.
It is a bustling market with live music and beautiful views of the bay. You will find here many locals and families going for their Sunday outing giving it an authentic feel.
At the market, you can find more than 180 stalls selling a variety of handmade products. You can find fresh fruit and vegetables, coffee, pet supplies, greeting cards, artwork, jewelry, clothing and much more.
There is also a food court where you can sample authentic Mexican cuisine including delicious tamales. You will also find a selection of fresh pastas and raviolis, pork sandwiches, Italian sausages, fresh fish and thirst-quenching juices.
Sayulita’s Farmer’s Market (Mercado del Pueblo)
Sayulita is a quaint little surfing village located an hour and a half from Garza Blanca Preserve. It is a hip little town with a great energy. Every Friday from November through to April between 10 am and 2:00 pm you can visit the Sayulita Farmer’s Market, featuring local farmers and families who produce local, organic and natural consumable goods. You will also find artisan goods and handmade jewelry. Live music and street performers make it a fun place to visit for all ages.
After the market, explore the colorful Sayulita streets and stop to watch the surfers. You will find numerous local restaurants and bars and a great little café to stop and get some ice cream.