Exploring the Saturday Libramiento Market

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 on set locations on a weekly basis. The word “tianguis” derives from the Nahuatl word tiyānquiztli “open air-market”, from tiyāmiqui “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 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 item, as depicted in the photographs, below. 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!

Large, plastic buckets are made available at produce stands for you to hand pick what you’d like to purchase. Items are weighted and priced at “checkout.”
Bringing your own re-usable shopping bag is a must. And if you forgot yours, you can purchase one at the tianguis.
Several sit-down eateries offer traditional Mexican fare at very affordable prices.
A row of semi-permanent food stands is located along Paseo de las Palmas.
Old automobile wheels are repurposed into makeshift grills for a traditional Mexican meal.
And then there’s the ambitious entrepreneur selling foldable lounge chairs. “They come from China,” he said.
Do-it-yourselfers rejoice! Paint your own wood furniture!

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