Mercado 28, or Market 28, is a must if you’re in the mood for shopping in Cancun. You’ll find an insane amount of things for sale, and at reasonable prices.
Well… reasonable prices after negotiation.
Here are some things to know before visiting Mercado 28.
1. The bus doesn’t take you to the right Mercado 28
This has to be the most confusing thing about Mercado 28. If you’re coming from the Hotel Zone, you’ll take the R-2 bus to Market 28. The thing is, it doesn’t take you to the right Market 28.
You are instead dropped off at what appears to be a strip of stores which look legit- but they aren’t. These stores won’t have the great prices you’ll find at the real thing.
Instead, you’ve got to keep on walking about 6 blocks up the street. Then you’ll see an archway with Mercado 28 on it on the other side of the street.
Now you’ve come to the right place!
2. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!
I can’t stress this enough! Never buy something for full price- it just isn’t worth it!
The vendors see that you’re a tourist, and they’ll sell you things for prices they make up in their minds.
You’ll notice that nothing has a written price- this is exactly why.
If you speak a bit of Spanish, you can give a counter offer. See if they agree; if they don’t accept it, go on and walk away- chances are they’ll call you back and accept your price.
If you don’t speak Spanish, use your hands to gesture a number in Pesos.
True story: I found a cute skirt at one of the shops. The woman said 350 pesos. I tried it on inside the adjacent store and offered her employee there 250 pesos. He said (in Spanish) “no way, this is great quality, we sell for a thousand pesos!” I told him his boss had already told me 350. He confirmed it with her and I got it for 300 pesos.
3. Don’t buy the first thing you see
There are an insane number of stores at Mercado 28. Like hundreds of them.
If you see a dress you like at one shop, but the price is too high, just keep on going.
You’re bound to find a very similar thing for cheaper elsewhere!
I found the same dress in a ton of different stores. Some places were selling it for 1,000 pesos, some for 450. I got it for 400 after negotiation. (You probably shouldn’t go above 450- the sellers would be making a TON off of you that way!)
This is the dress, by the way!
4. It’s a good place to book tours
From what I’ve read online and from personal experience, you can book tours through vendors at Mercado 28.
We met a guy selling tours named Alejandro, and he became our go-to for tours for the following two days.
Our first tour was a Cenote/Horseback Riding/Zip-Lining tour, which cost us $45 each.
The next tour we booked with him was a Dolphin Discovery tour, which was $95 each.
Through booking with him at the market, we didn’t have to pay the extra charges that we would’ve incurred at our hotel or other booking agencies.
Tip: bring cash for tours- the deposit is in cash and you can pay the rest of the fee in credit card when the van picks you up for your tour. By bringing US dollars for the deposit, you actually save a bit with the conversion rate.
Alejandro’s tour stand is actually in the back of this picture, next to the hanging orange dress!
So there you have it!
Go on and get lost in Marcado 28! There’s a ton to see, so many cool things to buy, and there are restaurants that sell some delicious treats as well!
And on your way back- take the R2 in the opposite direction. To get there: walk back the 6 blocks and then cross over a busy street, pass a gas station, until you see a Sam’s Club/Walmart sign. That’s where you’ll find the bus stop home!
Want more ideas on things to do in Cancun? Click here for 5 activities you must do when in Cancun!