The best way to get a feel for the city is to go to the local market and the markets in Oaxaca are a full blow event!
Most of the markets in Centro (Central Oaxaca City) are open 7 days a week.
The main Centro markets are:
This one is a little mix of everything and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s part of the 20th November market across the street.
20th November (across the street from Benito Júarez
This is the place to go for good, cheap food!
You can get fresh barbecue meat, just pick your cut and they will grill it for you then and there along with your vegetables of choice, then all you have to do is pick your salsas and grab some tortillas.
There is also a plethora of other food available as well as other products typical to Oaxacan markets.
Both are only one block from the Zócalo, and easy to find, just follow the people and the smell of the food!
Central de Abastos
The largest and busiest of all Centro markets is Central de Abastos.
Central de Abastos has much more of a local feel and we’d recommend you go with someone. We aren’t kidding when we say this place is huge and it’s easy to get lost. We went with Javier and it was $25 USD for the both of us.
Here you can get pretty much everything you can think of from fresh food, spices, spiritual herbs and elements, clothes (traditional and western), ceramics and more.
Días de Mercado (Market Days)
Other markets, out of Centro are only open on specific days of the week or at least have more of a presence on their specific market day. At these markets vendors travel in from their towns to sell their wares so there’s plenty of variety.
- Sunday / Domingo: Tlacolula de Matamoros
- Monday / Lunes: Miahuatlán de Porfirio Diaz
- Tuesday / Martes: Ayoquezco de Aldama
- Wednesday / Miércoles: Villa de Etla
- Thursday/ Jueves: Zaachila
- Friday / Viernes: Ocotlán de Morelos
- Saturday / Sábado: Cuidad de Oaxaca
The one you’ll hear most about and biggest is Tlacolula on Sunday.
Famous for food, the barbacoa goat is a must try at Tlacolula along with churros and fresh bread from the large panaderia section.
You’ll also find plenty of handicrafts here including flax weaved goods such as baskets and mats, shoes, a dizzying array of traditional aprons as well as all the other usual suspects.
We also visited Ocotlán, the Friday market. The town of Ocotlán is home to a beautiful baby blue church and the market was filled with beautiful flowers, especially Marigolds as we were visiting during Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) – read about the significance of the cempasúchil (marigolds) and Dia de Muertos here
Make sure you stop at La Cocina de Frida (“Frida’s Kitchen”), and grab a bite to eat – we had a mole tasting plate and it was delicious!
Getting to the Días de Mercado (Market Days)
The cheapest want to get to any of the markets is to take a colectivo (a shared van, kind of like a bus), a colectivo will cost roughly 25 pesos per person each way. You’ll need to ask your accommodation which colectivo stop is closest to where you are staying. As we are traveling during covid we used a private driver – Luis for both Ocotlán and Tlacolula. Utilising a private driver will also enable you to make stops at other points of interest along the way that you may have missed. After Tlacolula we visited Teotitlán del Valle famous for Zapotec weaving.
Luis is $350 pesos per hour and is best contacted by Whatsapp +52 1 951 118 4534