Mercado 23

Mercado 23, Cancun: Address, Phone Number, Mercado 23 Reviews: 4/5

Flea & Street Markets
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.0
260 reviews
Excellent
75
Very good
103
Average
65
Poor
7
Terrible
10

Edward D.
Lucena, PB2,928 contributions
This is an open-air market in the downtown area that couldn’t be more different than being in the Hotel Zone (or “little Las Vegas” as I refer to it). Mercado 23 is smaller than the better-known Mercado 28 and is less geared to tourists, but there are still plenty of stalls to find souvenirs (t-shirts, key chains, sea shells etc.) and at better prices than at Mercado 28 and definitely less expensive than buying in the Hotel Zone. I bought a beautiful seashell wind chime for $5US, for example.
If you don’t speak Spanish, I wouldn’t really recommend this market, because I didn’t encounter anyone who spoke English. Besides the souvenir stands there are various food vendors and tiny places to eat if you want to try it.
I was really glad that we decided to visit here. We felt completely safe walking around here. We used our Waze GPS to find the place and found parking outside with no problem.
Written March 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ahmed E
Flower Mound, TX51 contributions
If you are a fruit lover and like to try exotic fruits then this is your destination in Cancun.
Over there you can buy all kind of fresh fruits for a cheap price.
I enjoy Cherimoya which is very expensive in US but over there you can get it much much cheaper. Also Guava and Rambutan fruits.
If you like sweet mango you can get it there as well.
Written June 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

teamsteepanddeep
San Francisco, CA767 contributions
Couples
We found this market pleasant and welcoming. They have large food market with authentic and variety of choices . It also has good vegetable market. The shop owners are welcoming and not aggressively shouting at you to come in and look around. We found all our souvenirs for family & friends here . I’d recommend this over Mercado 28 any day .
Written April 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Wisenhar
Albany, WI22 contributions
We went on a Sunday and only saw three other gringos in the 2+ hours we spent wandering around. This is very much a local market. The souvenir vendors are a bit pushy, but not aggressive, especially if you say “just looking”. They understand that in English, but most don’t speak much more than that. A few enjoy practicing their English with you and are patient if your Spanish isn’t great. We ate amazing street tacos at a little stand full of locals right off the market. 4 tacos and a large glass bottle of Fanta for $4US. Amazing food! Also enjoyed shaved ice with fruit juice. Everyone was so friendly and nice! Loved this market!
Written March 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

B1714D
Belgrade, Serbia14,084 contributions
While Mercado 28 is more famous and bigger, it is also more tourist oriented (see that review).
Although only 10 min walk away, we found Mercado 23 more authentic with that local touch. You'll see much more locals here coming for their fruits and vegetables, as well meat and fish hanging in the open air. Besides that, you'll also find souvenirs and clothes on sale if you're for that.
To conclude, it's a better option than 28, but the best is to rent a car and visit such markets in small towns across Yucatan, such as Merida, Valladolid and Izamal.
Written March 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jenn A
Airdrie, Canada23 contributions
We went to Mercado 23 and it was quiet and no pressure from any of the vendors. This market caters to the locals and has a very different atmosphere. There are few places to eat authentic Mexican food. A lot of great souvenirs available and great vendors who are so eager to help you. Know your conversion rate from pesos to USD so you know what you are paying. But, definitely would go here over Mercado 28.
Written November 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

A W
Salt Lake City, UT18 contributions
Family
We rode the bus from the hotel zone to Mercado 23, spent an hour there and then walked to Mercado 28, where we spent another hour, then we walked to the downtown Walmart, where we passed Plaza 28 (not to be confused with Mercado 28), so I feel qualified to write about the differences between these locations.

As soon as we got the Mercado 23, we saw street cart food and fruit vendors selling products from rolling stands. A few of the item offered included, orange juice, cotton candy, ice cream, tortillas, and lychee fruit, which was my personal favorite. We hadn't seen lychee before and I stopped to look at them. The man selling didn't speak English, but cut open a fruit, gave it to my son and showed him how to eat it. We each had a bite and it was delicious. I tried to buy just 2 or 3 more to eat while we walked and gave him a 20 peso bill (just over $1 US), and he gave me a bag with about 10 lychee in them. I motioned for him that I wanted them cut and he put a slice in each so that we could peel the top off and bit the fruit out as we walked. Delicious! (We didn't see any of these types of vendors at Mercado 28, but we didn't see the last row/alley of Mercado 28, so maybe we just missed them.)

In terms of souvenirs, we saw many of the same items at both Mercado 23 and Mercado 28. Mercado 23 is definitely set up more for locals than tourists. There were several "grocery store" type stands in Mercado 23 as well as a food court area that was filled with locals. In the grocery store type stands you will see big bags of rice, beans, nuts, seeds, even dog food, being sold by weight (or scoop) out of huge opened bags on the floor. I did not see any of these types of stores at Mercado 28 either.

We were at Mercado 23 around lunch and there were tons of locals eating in the food court area. My kids did not want to eat there after seeing raw meat hanging from the rafters, but I would have been game to try it. (We ended up eating at Isla Contoy, which is just across the street from the market, and was very good.)

Bathrooms were available at Mercado 23, but not very clean, and cost 5 pesos per person to use. A few pieces of toilet paper are given to you at the time you pay. No soap to wash with. (We should have waited until we went to Isla Contoy, which had great bathrooms in comparison and soap that smelled wonderful.)

After eating at Isla Contoy, we followed the MapChick map of downtown Cancun which suggested a walking route from Mercado 23 to Mercado 28. It was enjoyable to see the non-touristy streets, but I don't know if I would do it again in the heat of the day.

At Mercado 28, we were immediately hounded by salespeople trying to get us into their stores. (Which did not happen very often at Mercado 23.) Mercado 28 was definitely cleaner than Mercado 23, but I felt perfectly safe at both locations. Mercado 28 gives the feel of being set up for tourists, but sells basically the same things, at just about the same prices as Mercado 23. I found that the pricing really just depends upon the salesperson you are working with. I found stores at both markets that were expensive and cheap on the same items. (We realized if you just keep moving from store to store, you will eventually find what you want at the price you want. We found the same hammock, and negotiated to the same exact price, in Mercado 23, Mercado 28, Isla Mujeres, and Plaza Flamingo in the Hotel Zone... just keep moving and talking and eventually you'll find someone willing to negotiate.) Mercado 28 also charged 5 pesos for the bathroom and handed out toilet paper when we paid. They at least had soap. (We were traveling with 4 kids, we used a lot of bathrooms. LOL.) Mercado 28 also seemed to have more true restaurant options, although we didn't eat at any.

After leaving Mercado 28 we walked to the downtown Walmart to catch the bus back to the Hotel Zone. (We did a LOT of walking!) When we were very close to the Walmart I saw "Plaza 28", which I understand a lot of people mistake for Mercado 28. It looked very clean and nice (probably nicer than Mercado 28), but we didn't stop. With the heat of the day, we marched right into Walmart to buy drinks and ice cream. Interestingly enough, we found a McDonald's and a pizza by the slice place inside of Walmart. After eating Big Macs and French Fries that tasted exactly the same as our hometown McDonald's, we used the bathrooms (of course). (Which, incidentally, were much nicer and cleaner than Mercado 23 and/or Mercado 28's. We were also given access to an entire roll of toilet paper, which felt like a precious gift by that time.)

In summary: Mercado 23 is for locals, but they love to see tourists there as well. We were treated nicely. Less of the salespeople spoke English, but we were always able to understand the pricing in pesos. Most of them knew how to say the numbers in English, like "eight pesos" instead of "ocho pesos", which was helpful to me. The food area was too much for my kids and husband (who is usually adventurous) to handle, so don't plan on eating in the food court unless you are really adventurous, although restaurants just outside of the market area are available.

To get to Mercado 23 from the hotel zone, take the R1 bus that says "Crucero" and tell the drive "Mercado 23", or get off after you see the large bus terminal on the left. You'll need to cross the street (Av. Tulum) and then walk a block or two before you are in the market. The driver stopped at the exact spot necessary for us. If you get off at the bus terminal, you will need to walk north on Tulum before turning left and walking west. If you get off at the "Crucero" which is the next intersection up (Tulum and Lopez Portillo), you need to backtrack on Tulum before going West.
Written June 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

travelacct
New York City, NY18 contributions
We found that Coral Negro and Mercado is owned by the same people. It is a typical tourist trap. You need to bargin before buying anything! Everything I bought was negotiated for at least half of the cost. Sometimes it can get annoying dealing with everyone who is trying to call for your attention. This is the best place to get a deal. I bought several platters and pottery made by local craftsmen. I later found the same products made by the same artist at our hotel lobby at almost twice the price! What a deal we got at the Mercado!
Written October 21, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Departure29236
Aurora, CO1 contribution
I could've sworn it was called mercado 28...in any case this IS the best place to buy your artisan crafts and gifts to bring home. Since I speak spanish I asked one of the local bell-hops at our resort where we should go shopping and he assured us that the mercado was the place. We bought everything from pottery to jewelry and even some day-trips. Now beware, not everyone selling day-trips is honest, but we bought 2passes for a day trip to Chichen Itza for $80 while everyone else we talked to paid $60+ for EACH. I think the trick is to make sure they have credentials from the agency or resort they represent so you can double check with the resort if the person works there. We're going back in 3weeks and taking more people with us and they've all heard about the mercado. By the way, just about everything we bought in Cancun, we noticed sold for around double in Playa del Carmen.
Written December 7, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Avocatraveler
Alexandria, VA6 contributions
Stay the hell out of Market 23. We saw a dead body lying in a doorway to a home there and it was clear everyone was ignoring the issue. Terrible. We grabbed the first cab back to the hotel. I have traveled the world with the Navy and love to venture out into the local community. Cancun continues to become more risky. Hotel Zone is ok at best but not worth risking your life for junk souvuners that you will throw away as soon as you get home. Stay in hotel/beach and go home alive
Written May 11, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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