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Tlacolula Market (Mercado de Tlacolula)
Tlacolula Market (Mercado de Tlacolula)

Tlacolula Market (Mercado de Tlacolula)

Tlacolula, Mexico

The Basics

While you can visit the town of Tlacolula year-round, most visitors come on Sundays to experience the traditions of a pre-Hispanic tianguis at the Tlacolula Market. Arrive independently to explore the hundreds of stalls with fresh meat, colorful produce, and traditional Oaxacan products, such as barro negro pottery and alebrijes (wooden figurines). Alternatively, save yourself the hassle of arranging transportation and visit on a tour that combines Tlacolula with archaeological sites, other villages, and more from Oaxaca City.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Tlacolula Market takes place every Sunday across roughly eight blocks of the town center.

  • Don’t expect the stallholders to all speak Spanish, much less English.

  • Visitors with an interest in handicrafts, culture, and delicious food won’t want to miss Tlacolula Market.

  • If you want to take pictures of the vendors, always ask for permission and respect their decision—vendors will not appreciate having their photo taken unawares.

  • As well as vendors, expect to see food stalls selling prepared snacks and local dishes.

  • Tlacolula Market may not be easily accessible for wheelchair users due to uneven ground and crowded streets.

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How to Get There

Tlacolula is situated 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Oaxaca City and can be reached by car, taxi, or public transportation with ease. Buses run regularly to Tlacolula on market day from Oaxaca and surrounding villages. Colectivos (shared minibuses) are also available from Oaxaca City—look for vans with “Tlacolula” on the windshield. Alternatively, arrive by private vehicle as part of an organized tour.

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When to Get There

The Tlacolula Market is held every Sunday with the exception of Easter, and draws crowds of buyers and sellers from across the Valles Centrales. Get there early to watch as vendors set up their stalls, and expect large crowds for the duration of the day.

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What’s a “Tianguis”?

Tianguis is a term used in Mexico and parts of Central America to refer to an open-air market, often frequented by ambulatory vendors who display wares on a tarp rather than a fixed stall. The origin of the word tianguis—which is singular, despite the ‘s’ at the end—comes from the Nahuatl tianquiztli, meaning public market, and the tradition is rooted in indigenous cultures.

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