Old Town Vallarta is a shopper’s paradise. There is so much packed into a few square blocks, all easy and quick to get to from Rivera Cuale. You name it, Old Town has it: beachwear, urban wear, children’s wear, traditional Mexican wear, sporting goods, shoes, souvenirs, tequila, cigars, Huichol and Nahua Indian arts and crafts, talavera, jewelry, furniture, hardware, pharmacies – and the list goes on. Whether you are looking for d├ęcor for your own beautiful home, a special gift for a special someone, or a simple knick knack, you are sure to find it here.

Encompassing a city block along the north side of the Cuale River is the Mercado Municipal (Rio Cuale City Market), also called the Mercado de Artesanias. This market offers two covered levels of vendors, and everything from jewelry and pottery to embroidered clothing and souvenirs. If you like to bargain, this is a good place to do it, especially if you are looking for handmade crafts at affordable prices. Upstairs you can try one of the food stands if you are shopped out and looking for some tasty replenishment.


The Isla Rio Cuale is a natural island in the middle of the Cuale River between Centro and Old Town that is easily accessed by various bridges and stairways. The east end of this island is only a few minutes’ walk from Rivera Cuale! The island has restaurants, a museum, an art gallery, a cultural center, a statue of John Huston, and a beautiful fountain… but most people know it for its shops and stands. This is a tropical shopping oasis. Set amongst lush tropical vegetation, backed by the river, this market offers many beautiful and unique items, and in its flea market style, you can barter with the vendors. The old “hule de oro” (rubber) trees offer a shady retreat, making the shopping experience even more enjoyable. Isla Cuale is where the city’s earliest residents built their humble homes.

surroundings-shoppingAlso only a few minutes by foot from Rivera Cuale is the Mercado Emiliano Zapata, which is the market of the colonia called Emiliano Zapata, in Old Town. Here you can buy novelty items, fresh fish, meat and poultry, and in the fruterias, fruits and vegetables… and for very reasonable prices. It’s really great to be able to zip out from your home to pick up some last minute fresh ingredients for a meal you’re preparing, or to stock up for the next few days. And if you want to do a full grocery shopping trip, or are looking for a hard to find condiment or imported grocery item, you can head to the Supermercado Gutierrez Rizo’s, most commonly referred to as just “Rizo’s,” which is only blocks from Rivera Cuale.

surroundings-shoppingOld Town offers a host of professional services you can shop around for as well. Services including everything from banking, legal and medical, to aesthetics, massage and spa, to veterinary, automotive, and florists, and even shoe repair are all nearby. It’s easy to hop around from one place to another, making errands easy, and dare we say… fun!

While there are many interesting shops worth visiting spread throughout Old Town, be sure to check out calle Basilio Badillo – it is probably the street most well-known for its host of clothing, jewelry boutiques and services.