10 haggling tips and etiquette for the markets.

With haggling comes respect. If you pay their first offer, they will be laughing at you when you leave. It takes a bit of skill. Gringos = $$$

That’s not to say that you should be haggling them down every last penny on something that costs a dollar or two. Or be rude, or argue. Some of the things you will see can take days and even weeks to make. It’s about finding a fair price that both you and the vendor agree on.

There are so many beautiful hand-made crafts from clothes, rugs, hammocks, paintings, plates, pottery and jewellery. And if you had enough room in your suitcase, you’d buy the lot.

Mexican Markets
Hand made blankets

Wandering around the markets can be some of the best experiences when visiting Mexico.

Have fun with it. Treat it as a game. Haggling isn’t an argument, it’s just a friendly discussion about a good price.

And remember, these hard-working vendors are selling things to feed their family, it’s their livelihood. So although you don’t want to be ripped off, it has to be a win/win.

If you speak a little Spanish, you will be more likely to get a better deal. Have a read of our How to learn Spanish and the Quick Travel Spanish guide.

market2
Markets in Puerto Escondido

10 haggling tips

1. First of all, most of the markets in Mexico have a lot of the same stuff. So if you see something you like, walk around and ask a couple of stalls how much something is to get a rough price.

2. Always greet the owner with a hello or a good morning/afternoon. Be polite.  The market crew are very friendly and love to have a chat and are happy to help with anything.

3. Take a look at something you like. And you now know roughly how much they’re going to charge. Ask how much. ‘Cuanto cuesta’. 

4. Try and hide your excitement for what you want to buy (can be hard sometimes). Showing you are too eager will not help your chances to get a good deal.

5. Tell them politely that their price is too expensive. They will say it’s a good price and ask you how much you want to pay. NEVER say that the item is lousy and you wouldn’t pay that much for it. Often they are the people who made it and can be very offensive. 

Mexican Markets - Skulls

6. Make your counter offer. Half to a third of the price of the offer you got. They will laugh and say that’s too low. This is when the fun begins.

7. Come back and forth until you reach an agreement that you are happy with. Sometimes this can take 5 minutes. If they think you are not really interested in buying it, they will keep lowering their price.

8. Don’t pay more than you are happy to part with. There are many other stalls that will sell similar things. So go and try your luck somewhere else.

9. If you can’t agree, walk away. Say thank you and goodbye. This may result in an ‘OK 200 pesos’ a new price or the price you were willing to pay. This is always a good tactic.

10. Ask if it’s cheaper if you buy 2 or more. This will always get you a cheaper price.

Mexican slang

Follow these easy steps to save yourself a lot of money, have some wonderful souvenirs and know that you have given your money to people who really need it.

I hope these tips help you out.

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Follow this link for our ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Tours – packages that are highly personalized and tailored at your request.

Happy haggling and happy travels!!

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2 Responses

  1. Great advice- especially the point about not haggling for something that already costs next to nothing. Often the first price offered is far less than what you would pay for the same item at home.

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