Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The tradition of buying and selling all sorts of items in open markets/bazaars in Mexico dates back to prehispanic times. These open markets, or tianguis as they are called locally, are a staple of cities large and small throughout the country and usually take place in set locations on a weekly basis.
The word tianguis derives from the Nahuatl word tiyanquiztli "open air-market," from tiyamiqui "to trade, sell." The size of these markets is usually proportioned to the size of the city where they take place and the merchandise can vary according to local or regional needs, but pretty much all of them offer fresh produce from the region, an excellent way to support local growers.
Several tianguis take place in and around Puerto Vallarta on different days of the week, but perhaps the most noticeable is the Saturday tianguis that takes place along the Libramiento. It may not look like much as you are driving by, but the tianguis extends around an entire block.
Vendors, who have to obtain the appropriate permit from City Hall to sell their wares, set up early in the morning every Saturday and continue selling through the afternoon. Expect to find a ton of new and used clothes, fresh produce, awesome quesadillas and the occasional unexpected items, like foldable lounge chairs and paint-your-own wood furniture.
You'll also find a row of semi-permanent food stands along Paseo de las Palmas and several sit-down eateries offering traditional Mexican fare at very affordable prices.
For anyone looking to explore and experience an activity deeply associated with living in Mexico, a visit to the Saturday tianguis or any other, is a must. This is farmers market shopping, Mexican style!
A musician-turned-multimedia journalist, Paco Ojeda has been living in Puerto Vallarta since December 2001, describing the city and its surroundings through words, pictures and short videos for local, national and international publications ever since. Visit his website, Paco-Ojeda.com, for interesting news, articles, interviews, and reviews created with the approximately 35,000 US citizens and other anglophones living in Puerto Vallarta, in mind.