the oldest and most trusted online guide to Mexico
  Home | About Us | Classifieds | Get Help | Mailing List | Message Board | Site Map
 City Guide
 Food & Drink
 Real Estate
 City Info
 Message Board
 Tourist Info
 Advertise Here
 City Maps
 City | Locator
 Nearby Places
 Puerto Escondido
 City Guides
 Site Directory
 Travel Directory
 MEXonline Home

  OAXACA Shopping Guide

Luis Martinez
100% wool, hand-loomed rugs
Located to one side of Sto Domingo Church in Oaxaca
100s of designs & sizes to choose from
Ask for Luis at the store - personalized attention M. Alcala #402, Col. Centro, Oaxaca * Tel: 951 516-1675


In Oaxaca, you'll find everything you'd expect to find in any major tourism destination. The town has many stores full of clothing, crafts, pharmacies, just about anything you are looking for on your trip. Oaxaca is a shopper's paradise, especially if you are interested in the arts & crafts of the region (some of Mexico's finest), meeting actual artisans or visiting traditional markets which have been in existence for hundreds of years.


Marketing is an age-old tradition in Oaxaca, and an experience that is not to be missed.� Forget about the mall.� This is where shopping is really at!

Oaxaca�s center has 3 main markets, and within a 30 mile radius of Oaxaca City are many villages which specialize in a particular art tradition. Oaxaca�s center is full of shops which carry a good selection of these crafts, however there�s nothing like going directly to the source.� Often you will be invited to visit the homes of the artisans for a first-hand look at their craft, and in many cases craftsmen/women will be more than happy to make something according to your own specifications or designs.�� Of course, you may also opt to just wander and take in as much or as little as you like.�� Bargaining is generally expected, so be prepared to have a few Spanish phrases at the tip of your tongue to help you negotiate.

Mercado de Abastos (Market of Goods/Supplies)
This market may well be the ultimate in� traditional Mexican markets.�� Located permanently near the Second Class Bus Station, Abastos stretches for� several full blocks.�� One can wander for what seems like an eternity, through aisles of red and green chiles, black lacy undergarments, catholic talismans and iconery, live chickens, fruits, vegetables, shoes, farmer�s ropes and twine, electronics, furniture, and well,�just about every kind of thing you might possibly need, without seeing all of it in one day!

�� This is the antidote for sensory deprivation; the cacophony of colors, sights, sounds and smells will transport you to another world.� Worth the experience, even if your not in the market for buying.� Of particular interest are the �puestos�� or stalls that sell baked bread, chocolate, woven items and basketry, handmade and embroidered clothing,� earthenware, and handmade furniture.�� Go here to buy gifts. Artisans will often come down on their prices a bit in order to be more competetive with shops in the center of town.

Mercado de Artesanias (Artisan�s Market)
This is housed in a large shed-like structure on the corner of Zaragoza and Calle Garcia.�� If you�re looking for crafts only, this market offers a good cross-section.� A little off the beaten track, the atmosphere is more tranquil, with displays that reflect a little more planning (including better lighting) than those located� in the maze of Abastos.

Oaxaca�s older and more central market, that which is known as Mercado Benito Juarez and the 20 de Noviembre,� just below.� This is on a much smaller scale than Abastos, but with a similar offering of goods.�� Mercado Benito Juarez�s crafts section caters to tourists (the bargaining can be pretty fierce!) but offers a respectable assortment (including lots of hats and hand-made leather goods and shoes), while the fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat,� and flowers sections are frequented more by locals.� 20 de Noviembe contains the bread and chocolate sections, as well as several small restaurants that serve up some low-budget but hearty caldos (stews) and steaming tortillas, among other things.

shp13.jpg - 40,38 K It is said that the finest selection of local crafts may be found in some of the shops North of the Zocalo, but quien sabe?� Who knows?� You might rely more on your own eye and get lucky, and also have a lot of fun in the process.�� It makes sense, however, that the middleman who has already screened the goods might have found something of exceptional quality to offer you.� Fonart on the corner of Calle Bravo and Garcia Vigil is one such store that will give you a good idea of the kind of quality that is available.�� The government sponsored Aripo is also an excellent store to browse through.�� The best advice when shopping in Oaxaca is to take your time, get to know standard market prices, and above all, enjoy yourself weaving in and out of the myriad of shops.

The following are just some of the villages that are well worth the excursion fare outside of the city.� Look into �collectivos� located at Mercado de Abastos or buses from the 2nd class bus station for the cheapest transportation (we�re talking 40 cents, here!).� Several agencies also offer tours to these villages on chartered buses.� Small groups may want to hire their own chaeffer, which is also a viable alternative and a good way to pack a lot of stops in on one trip.

San Bartolo Coyotepec -- famous for it�s brilliant ornamental black pottery, in the tradition of master craftswoman, Dona Rosa.� Demonstrations of still-used primitive pottery techniques are offered weekly by Dona Rosa�s son. Atzompa � green-glazed pottery.� Stop by this pretty little market downhill from Monte Alban and get lost in a sea of green pottery and figures.� Relax in the shade of the new restaurant/cafe, and gear up for a visit to one or two of your favorite artisan�s homes for a private showing.

Arrazola � the home of wood carvers and painters; the creators of Alebrijes (fantasy animals) and other entities carved from copal wood.� These brightly painted beings have captured imaginations worldwide, and come in all sizes and colors.� You�ll see the in art galleries in San Francisco and NYC, and they are now produced in other Mexican villages, however Arrazola is the home of� alebrijes and a fascinating stop along your way.

shp14.jpg - 16,60 KTeotitlan del Valle �� breathtaking and traditional Zapotec village whose livelihood centers around hand-loomed wool weavings (rugs, purses, vests, placemats, horse blankets, etc.) in striking traditional as well as contemporary designs.� Natural dyes and processes are commonly used. Nearby Santa Ana del Valle is also a weaving village, although on a smaller and less commercial scale.

Tlacolula--just down the road from Teotitlan del Valle, Tlacolula�s Sunday market caters to the villagers in the towns to the east of Oaxaca, and is a pleasing fanfare of goods and goings-ons.

Ocotlan--sprawling Friday market; specialties include hand-woven reed baskets and a prolific sampling of crafts (and farming items) from throughout the region.� For a real adventure, rub elbows with the locals and take the early morning train from Oaxaca�s only train station, located in the southwestern part of the city. The moorish temple is a gem, located in the center of town.

 Home » City Guides the oldest and most trusted online guide to Mexico