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Mercado Libertad: The Best Shopping in Guadalajara

Updated on June 19, 2007

Prepare for Three Levels of Culture Shock!

Mercado Libertad is a tourist's dream and nightmare, all at the same time. The selection, quality, and location is incredible for any tourist to Guadalajara. Yet, at the same time, three levels of vendors selling every single item available under the sun makes for a crowded experience unlike any suburban American mall you have ever seen.

The mercado is easily located in the city center of Guadalajara. Tourists with rental cars can park below the plaza off of several main arterial roads in the downtown area for a reasonable price in a safe, municipal garage. Taxi's are also an easy way to arrive. Last, but not least, you can access the mercado from the Plaza Tapatía, a tour within itself.

The mercado, like any good mall, has several entrances and several floors. However, it probably doesn't have one of those neat plastic kiosks with a colorful map telling you where to go!

No worries, though, as vendors are pretty well sorted and stick together. So whether you want foodstuffs, handcrafts, leather goods, shoes or clothing, you're in the right place. In fact, locals sometimes call this mercado electronico or mercado taiwan, due to the availability of cheap electronics here. Don't expect the "real thing" when you're looking for jewelry, either. (However, there is a gorgeous joyería-jewelry store- directly behind the mercado in Plaza Tapatía. Head over there instead!).

The aisles vary from narrow to normal, but be prepared to wander in single file lines at times if you are traveling with a large group. You'll need to keep an extra eye on children in this maze of brightly colored distractions.

Two culture shocks that an American tourist may want to be prepared for: the butchered meats area, and the bathrooms.

The butchers in the mercado sell every part of the animal available for consumption or use....and it's all hanging right there in the open for you to take a look at. It's actually a great opportunity for children to see what they're actually eating and where it comes from...that is not the back room of the supermarket!

Meanwhile, if you have to use the restroom, be sure you have some coins available. You'll need to pay to get in, and then pay again if you want to use toilet paper or soap.

Both a fun shopping trip and one of the most memorable cultural learning experiences you'll ever have, the Mercado Libertad is on the MUST DO list for any visit to Guadalajara.

Have fun!


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      Ron Sabata 6 years ago

      I have seen pictures of a vendor in the market that sells Brahma bull statues but cannot find a way to contact that type of vendor. Can anyone help me find that vendor? appreciate the help.

    • profile image 6 years ago

      I am looking for a plain, bird-embossed dinnerware. I say it in Las Caletas (Puerto Vallarta area). I have written to several people, but have not received a response. I may not from this avenue, either - but it's worth a try. It is white ceramic (I believe), has

      Aztec-ish bird symbols around the cups, edge of dinnerware. The birds seem to be "carved" out because they are a different color of white.... If anyone (vendor or just a good shopper) can tell me who to contact.... I would be most grateful. Janie Lewandowski

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      Larry 8 years ago

      listen, these people are poor! You find kids and older ladies all over who charge just a few pesos to use the restroom, usually it is just for toilet paper. They are just trying to make a small living. I LOVED tipping them a little as well they are kinda and gracious if you open up even slightly to them. I have been to Mercado Libertad MANY MANY times and LOVED it . Dont forget to mention the wonderful roving mintrels there! One fellow played guitar and sang sooo beautifully I taped him and listen to him back home here often ! God Bless them all !!

    • GardenWallPubs profile image

      GardenWallPubs 10 years ago from Grand Ledge

      hi cassandra, well, I wrote a Hub just for you and have just posted it. No, there is usually an attendent who takes your money from you in the bathrooms....although there are some areas in mexico where there are coin - operated toilets...

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      cassandra 10 years ago

      so the bathrooms are pay toilets? or I don't get it