The tradition of buying and selling in seasonal markets that open weekly or monthly is typical of Mexico’s culture and has a history that reaches far back into the pre-Hispanic period. It was the most important form of commerce in that era and, after the Spanish Conquest, the Europeans kept the tradition intact.
Today, these artisanal and organic tianguis (markets) are attractive shopping alternatives for national and foreign tourists visiting the Riviera Nayarit during the Winter Season. These markets pop up in towns along the coast—from Nuevo Vallarta to Chacala—, showcasing the best local and regional products. Almost all these small markets start in November and end in April or early May of the following year.
Here is a list of the Top Ten Artisanal Markets in the Riviera Nayarit:
Lo de Marcos (Lo de Marcos Tianguis)
2017 marks the fourth season for this tianguis that opens its doors next November 4th. The Lo de Marcos Tianguis is located in a charming patio that offers visitors a comfortable open-air experience for shopping and socializing, with good food, lives music and plenty of vendors selling unique products. Shoppers will find handmade articles, homemade baked goods, salsas, piñatas, blown-glass figurines, fresh vegetables and much more. Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Luis Echeverria Street in this beautiful coastal village.
Nuevo Vallarta (Quiosco Artisanal Tianguis)
This open-air seasonal market offers clothing, food, flowers, fresh local products, artisanal products, candies, glassware, watercolors, gifts and live music. Located in the Marina Nuevo Vallarta in the Fraccionamiento Nautico Residencial Nuevo Vallarta, this tianguis is open every Saturday from November through April from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the plaza, close to the traditional kiosk it owes its name to. There is plenty of room for parking.
Bucerias (Monday Market/Forever Spring/Bucerias Art Walk)
There are three tianguis held in Bucerias and all of them are on Lazaro Cardenas Street: on Mondays the Monday Market and on Wednesdays the Forever Spring Market, both from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Thursday afternoons the Bucerias Art Walk. The first two offer Mexican specialties handmade by locals: gourmet food, arts and crafts, leather goods, home goods, rugs and more. The third consists of a selection of galleries that open their doors form 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Every week there are around 17 participating galleries, and some artists are on-hand creating their art right in front of visitors.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (La Cruz Market)
“Going to the market” on Sundays has taken on a new flair since the opening of the La Cruz Market, which offers a large variety of regional artisanal products. Located in the Marina Riviera Nayarit next to the Mercado del Mar, it’s also known as the Tianguis Huanacaxtle and is a great place to spend a couple of hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., browsing rows of stalls selling a variety of handmade products, organic fruit and vegetables, cheeses, cured meats, traditional clothing and much more.
Sayulita (Mercado del Pueblo)
This tianguis was born of the noble desire to promote sustainable farming and nutrition among the locals, giving small family growers a space to sell their wares for home consumption. This is the one and only farmers market in Sayulita. It’s only open during the Winter Season—from November through April—on Revolucion Street in the heart of this Magical Town. Visitors will find an extensive variety of organic products, yoghurt, cheese, bread, coffee, baked goods, pesto sauces, soups, natural pet food, soaps, lotions and much more. Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
San Pancho (Mercado del Sol)
In the three years since it first opened its doors, San Pancho’s Mercado del Sol is doing better than ever. The market opens during the Winter Season on Tuesdays, selling a varied choice of fruits and vegetables, home-cooked food, art objects and other articles made by the residents themselves. The 2017-2018 season begins on Tuesday, November 7th. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the charming Plaza del Sol, which was built in the 60s as part of the “Third World Villages” project championed by ex-President Luis Echeverria Alvarez.
Nuevo Vallarta (Riviera Farmer’s Market – Business Center)
November 8th marks the third consecutive year for this colorful market, which can be found every Winter Season in the parking lot of the Nuevo Vallarta Business Center. Visitors will find a delicious assortment of artisanal bread, fresh coconuts, made-to-order blue corn tlayocos, cultivated exotic flowers, vegetables, and both fresh and dried pasta every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s also live music and a great family atmosphere—all set against the backdrop of the spectacular Marina Vallarta.
Rincon de Guayabitos (Guayabitos Market)
The market at Guayabitos takes place every Monday around the Main Plaza from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. November through March (it’s closed during the summer months). This market is slight smaller than the tianguis at La Peñita, though visitors will still find a variety of personalized silver jewelry, pottery, bedclothes, Talavera pottery plates and sinks, glassware, Huichol art, rugs from Oaxaca and just about anything else they’re looking for.
La Peñita de Jaltemba (La Peñita Market)
The open-air tianguis in La Peñita de Jaltemba is open every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in and around the Main Plaza of this coastal village. This is the ideal place for buying silver jewelry, bedclothes and tablecloths, glassware, Talavera dishes, Huichol artwork and rugs from Oaxaca. Shoppers will also find fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade bread, and locally produced honey and coffee. This is one of the biggest and best-known markets in the area. While this tianguis is open year-round, many of the artisans do not participate during the summer months.
Chacala (Chacala Cultural Market)
The Chacala Cultural Market opens towards the end of November and remains open through March, setting up every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors can begin their day with a stroll through the market—located in the village plaza—and shop for food, art, arts and crafts, traditional candy, organic products and fresh vegetables. Around noon it’s worth taking the time to visit the town, which is generally very quiet, spend some time on the beach, walk to the Caleta (small cove), or practice an aquatic activity such as kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing or sport fishing.