Inside a Market in Cancun and No, I Don’t Mean the Hotel Gift Shop

During my off the beaten path in Cancun experience, I was able to start my exploration of Mexico from a local side. By staying in an Airbnb (read about why I chose to do this here) instead of in a hotel, I was able to really get to know the local culture, food, and my favorite, markets.

Unfortunately, massive rain storms kept me on dry land for the majority of my time in Cancun; I was still able to venture out on a Sunday morning to see Mercado 23. This is the major market in Cancun near Super Manzana 32 where the Airbnb where I stayed was located. It still had some of the tourist garb that you find in the more touristy markets, check out the video for what I mean! But it also had fresh fruits and vegetables, butcher shops, grain sellers, and even dog food vendors.

My favorite part? I wasn’t stared at or cast aside because I was a westerner. I was able to practice my Spanish, have the locals laugh at me, and get a feel for the actual Mexican side of Cancun. In the late morning when we were visiting, families were shopping for their Sunday dinners, getting meat and fresh produce for the week and catching up with friends.

It wasn’t overly crowded and although the heat was intense, much of it was open air which made it bearable. If you’ve ever spent time in a covered market in 90+ degree heat that sold raw meat, you understand the smell I am talking about. (Just by writing that, the scent came back to me.)

There was even a mariachi band walking around serenading the people who chose to stop at any of the local eateries within the market. Christina, my translator/teacher/Airbnb host explained that it was rare to see a band at the market, let alone one decked out in traditional gear and featuring a woman instrumentalist!

I feel like words can’t do a market justice so here are some photos and a video I made documenting my visit to the market in Cancun. Enjoy!


Dried herbs and woods for cooking and medicinal uses.
Chicken feet. A delicacy.
This guy was such a good sport for picture taking! He kept striking a pose with his machete. Christina told me as we walked away, though, that they kept calling me a queen while I was taking pictures… Oops.

Camarones- Dried shrimpies
Fresh herbs and barks for cooking and medicinal purposes.


Mercado 23, Downtown Cancun


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