One of the most rewarding and fascinating experiences that travelers can have when they visit another country, especially if the area falls into the category of exotic, is to visit a traditional market. They are usually picturesque places that allow you to see and understand the reality of the local day-to-day life better than any printed guide.
The Mexican state of Oaxaca is one of those exotic destinations that fit into this description, because it retains a good sample of indigenous traditions through the eighteen ethnic groups that live in its territory: Mixtecs, Zapotecs, Triqui, Mixes, Chatinos , Chinantecos, Huaves, Mazatecos, Amuzgos, Nahuas, Zoques, Chontales, Cuicatecos, Ixcatecoa, Chocholtecos, Tacuates, Afromestizos and Tzotziles.
With such human diversity, it is possible to imagine that Oaxaca markets are authentic living ethnological museums. Of course typical crafts, yes, but not oriented to the tourist but to the clients there. Also clothes, equipment, music … It is the gastronomy that takes the cake, so to speak. Meat and products of the garden are omnipresent and the eyes of the visitor will become dishes when encountering sacks containing those unprecedented oddities, such as the famous chapulines, ants, worms … that further extend the exquisite horizon of Mexican cuisine.
The Oaxaca Markets offer a unique shopping experience for visitors to the state. Most markets are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, at least up to a certain point. Others are only open on specific days of the week. In the past some of the markets such as Tlacolula only opened on its market day ‘Plaza Day’, now the Tlacolula market is open every day, although, undoubtedly, Sunday is still the main market day, and the market has many more vendors on this day.
In the Oaxaca Markets you will find everything you expect and more, you can enjoy the colors of fruits and vegetables, the craftsmanship of local artisans and of course, the smell and taste of fresh food. The markets of Oaxaca are a good place for breakfast and the barbecue market of Tlacolula is famously delicious.
The main Oaxaca Market days are:
Sunday – Tlacolula and Nochixtlán
Monday – Ixtlán, Miahuatlán and Teotitlán
Tuesday – Atzompa and Sta. Ana de Valle
Wednesday – Etla and Zimatlán
Thursday – Zaachila and Ejutla
Friday – Ocotlán
Saturday – Oaxaca (Central de Abastos)
Also of interest is the tianguis , which are the traditional markets of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs, which are open-air markets with no fixed building or structures that move around on a day-to-day basis. The practice of holding a tianguis is common throughout the state of Oaxaca, and there are several tianguis days in the city. The market days listed above are all essentially examples of great tianguises; Tlacolula market, for example, has brick and mortar facilities, but on Sunday it triples in size and overflows to occupy many of the surrounding streets.