Here in Mexico, we are always searching for the 3 B's: Bueno, Bonito y Barato (which literally means, good, pretty, and cheap) so, when it comes to shopping like a local, there is no other experience that will submerge your into the culture like going to a real Mercado.

Traditionally, Mexican markets are the sort of bazaars where local artisans, farmers, and other vendors gather in the same place to offer mostly fresh and regional products. Somewhat a combination between a flea and a farmer’s markets.

Markets can be found all over the country; in fact, Mexico has over 2,300, but since they offer a lot of freshly caught, grown, or produced products, each market is unique. Los Cabos has its own regional markets, one in La Marina de Cabo San Lucas and one in San José del Cabo, along with some organic markets and fish ones.


Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda used to say that the essence of Mexico was found inside markets. These markets are based on the prehispanic commerce traditions, and they have become a reflection of the spirited culture and folklore, of colors, odors, and diverse flavors.

As you walk into the multiple aisles, your eyes will not believe the combination of bright colors, textures, and products that are literally hanging all over the place. The smell of homemade antojitos such as tacos, tostadas, sopes, and tortas invades the place, while some classic boleros or rancheras play in the background almost as loud as the crowd’s noise.

There is an infinite combination of merchandise, groceries, and products to choose from at incredibly low prices. Some colorful piñatas are hanging from the ceiling, some of them resemble famous characters—these are usually filled with candy and money, and broken on special celebrations. You find almost anything, from classical souvenirs like t-shirts, sombreros, mugs, and magnets to the fresh fruits and vegetables.

But one of the most amazing things you are about to find in here are handmade products by local weavers and artisans: from shirts and dresses to jewelry, bags, and shoes to gorgeous local art, handmade rag dolls, and hand-painted ceramics or alebrijes–which are these bright wooden sculptures of imaginary animals, unusually combining different elements from real ones.

Another obligatory stop at the market is to shop for Mexican candy and wooden toys you will find there. You will find an impressive selection of candy in different shapes, packages, color, and flavors are available, but local favorites are mazapanes, alegrías (both made of peanuts), cocadas, ate, tamarindos, and merengues.

Los Cabos market offers the most exquisite selection of fresh wild fish and seafood caught every morning by local fishermen. Some can prepare the fish right there for you, but if you want to take it raw and cook it yourself always ask the vendor for their recommendation. The wild taste instead of farm-grown will simply amaze you!


Most markets are enormous and crowded. At first, they might seem like a scary labyrinth, but if you are in the mood for a new adventure, exploring the hallways will be a fun experience. However, if you are searching for a particular product, you can always ask for help to any vendor.

Dare to bargain! Vendors are always willing to negotiate as long as you are nice and open, they will be too! Markets are not likely to accept credit cards, so be sure you bring cash with you.

If you make a quick stop to try a bite, keep in mind that the food stands work just like food trucks, considering Mexican food can be quite messy to eat standing, do not forget to ask for extra napkins. Also, always ask if the food is cooked with spicy ingredients–which they probably are- and beware of the salsas! They are always hotter than they’ll tell you.

Vendors are used to English and Spanish speakers, so you won’t really need to sweat it that much there!


Here are some local words and phrases that you might hear or come in useful during your experience at El Mercado.

  • Marchanta (mer-shan-tar): It means sales girl, but local vendors usually use it to call out costumers.
  • Güerita (wu-air-e-ta): It means blonde, but is a local expression to refer to female costumers.
  • Bara, Bara (va-ra – va-ra): Sellers are usually shouting this from their stand to promote that their products are cheaper than the competition.
  • ¡Llévele! (yay-vei-lei): Sellers will also repeat it out loud constantly, it literally means “take it”, and they use it to attract costumers.
  • Carnal (car-nel): It is a local way to say, bro or brother. It is usually used to refer to male costumers.