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“Be prepared for the assault, not for the faint of heart...”
Review of Mercado 28

Mercado 28
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Cancun Shopping and City Tour Including El Meco Mayan Ruins
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Ranked #44 of 149 things to do in Cancun
Attraction details
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Be prepared for the assault, not for the faint of heart...”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

If you like to haggle, Mercado 28 is the place for you. If you want to casually stroll through vendors booths and peruse their wares without being pressured, go somewhere else. If you get nervous away from the touristy areas of the city, give this place a pass as well. We never felt unsafe, but it's not in the best neighborhood (see note about exiting the market below). It didn't bother me, but I've never been one to get nervous in the seedier parts of a city.

I've been to some places with pushy salespeople before, and even worked as a carnival barker myself back in my late teens, and nothing holds a candle to this place for pushy vendors. Everyone here is your new best friend, they've been waiting for YOU all day, and they're not going to let you get by their booth without a fight, doing everything short of physically dragging you into their stall.

If you're staying at an all-inclusive, and have a wristband from your hotel on, they know what all the hotel bands look like, and will even go so far as to claim to have served you or checked you in at your hotel. We were staying at the Sun Palace, and they kept trying to tell us they had seen us/waited on us/checked us in at "the Palace". They never said which one, because the multiple locations of the Palace chain in Cancun all use the same wristbands.

As you're walking in (most people get there by bus, from the hotel zone it's the R2 bus), there are a number of smaller shops that call themselves Mercado 28, and they'll try to suck you in before you ever get to the real market. Not that some of these folks don't have good stuff, and you can get it at good prices, but they're not part of the real market. Once you get into the real market, you'll understand. It's HUGE.

The place is also like a rat's den... there is no real organization to the place, it's just a huge number of tents and stalls set up in a square in the middle of a giant traffic circle, surrounded by dilapidated buildings. It's incredibly easy to get turned around and lost in there, and when you come out, the exits pretty much all look the same, and the exit roads look almost identical. If you're coming in from the R2 bus, and looking to get back to the stop, make sure you exit where all the fake "Mercado 28" shopfronts are, otherwise you're taking a detour into the Cancun ghetto... Learn from our mistake!

All that being said, the negatives out of the way... You can get some beautiful, authentic Mexican crafts here, at a very good price. There are plenty of vendors selling stuff as "authentic" that's made in China, so be sure to look for that stamp on whatever you buy. The authentic stuff generally won't have ANY stamp on it at all. The most common items are silver jewelry, reproductions of Mayan artifacts and clothing, t-shirts, and cigars. NEVER pay asking price for anything. They will immediately try to overcharge you for whatever you're buying by at least double what it's worth, and then offer you a small "discount" to try to make you feel good about the price. One example: we were looking at a couple pieces of pottery, the vendor said they were $120, but "for us", he'd discount them to $110. After much haggling, we paid $40. Probably could have gotten them for even less, but we felt we were getting good value at $40, and these folks do have to make a living. The market used to be a farmers market, but when WalMart came into town up the street, it pretty much ended the grocery sales, and the market filled up with local artisans.

Bottom line: If you don't mind a trip outside the tourist areas to a slightly seedier part of Cancun, can put up with uber-high pressure sales people coming at you from every direction, and don't mind haggling to get some authentic souvenirs at a fair price, Mercado 28 is worth a visit.

Visited June 2014
7 Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“DO NOT SHOP AT OPALO! BUyer Beware at Market 28 in general!”
Reviewed 12 June 2014

The folks at Opalo got me to go to their tequila shop next door. They sold us 3 bottles of tequila and wrote up a receipt. They said it was equivalent to 50 american dollars. But what they charged me (5000) pesos was actually $387. It was my first day and time in Mexico so I did not know the exchange rate. I know that is "shame on me", but when I figured it out they would not let me return them. The person at the hotel also let me know hat the receipt that hey game me was for three silver rings (not three bottles of tequila), so the whole transaction was a fraud.

Visited May 2014
7 Thank Thomas K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frisco, Texas
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Sold me 14K Necklaces which were FAKE!”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

BEWARE of Theft by Deception!!! My husband & I were pressured to buy 2 gold chain necklaces. One of the employees suddenly claimed, "I know you! Don't you remember me from your Hotel "Beach Palace" last night? I saw you there because I work there as my second-job!!! My mom owns this store and several other stores!"

Although we didn't actually remember him, we did believe him when he automatically knew our hotel name, which was almost 1 hour away, so we just said, "Yeah, We probably just don't recognize u because the different uniform attire!" It later dawned-on-us that he saw our Hotel's wrist bands and that is how he knew where we were staying... He didn't know us or work at our Hotel at all!

The employee kept pressing us to buy two pieces of 14K Gold chain jewelry and he swore to us that it was NOT gold-plated and that it WAS completely 14K Gold all-the-way and showed us the 14K marking! After he kept dropping the price down to approx 2700 Pesos and wouldn't let us leave, we bought the gold necklaces since we figured it wouldn't be a loss to buy solid 14K for that price. When we arrived to the USA, we realized that the stamp now said, "925" on the chains, which means Sterling Silver! After thinking back, I remembered that as I handed him my credit card, the male employee gave it to a lady employee who also said she needed me to give her my chains so that she can weigh them for the paperwork. The male employee was keeping my husband & I distracted while the lady employee was swapping the "14K" Gold chains for the "925" Sterling Silver Chains!!!

Do not trust or feel sorry for any of them! They are liars and thieves to the maximum extent. Stay at your own resort; You aren't missing any deals outside away from all the Tourist areas because they know you're coming and the entire town sends you to this place to get ripped-off. Its a huge Scam, I promise you!

We were robbed blind at his store named, "FIRE OPALO COMPANY" (aka "Joyería de Ópalo") located within "MARKET 28" (aka "Mercado 28") at the following address:
SM. 28 MZA. 13, LOTE 01, Ala B, LOCAL 39
Benito Juarez; Cancun Quintana Roo , Mexico 77510
Tel: +01 (998) 884-4882

They have many locations and they are all working together to victimize you. Do not trust them at all. Also, When we got there we realized that it is extremely dangerous drug territory and your life is at-risk just by being there!

Visited May 2014
11 Thank Afrous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sao Paulo, SP
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Nice local spot”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

This is the best place in Town to buy handcraft and local souvenir in general.Easy to get there by bus.

Visited May 2014
Thank Vecna666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“For Food go to Atotonilco”
Reviewed 5 June 2014

1) Bargain with sells
2) Atotonlico Restaurant
3) Variety of cheap authentic mexican restaurants
4) Can take the bus

1) Never go after sunset
2) Same kind of products
3) Buses go different direction so make sure to go the right way
4) If going alone, go around morning
5) Walmart is close by

The bus is only $1 and will take you to your destination, be polite to the bus driver and he will be responsive.

Visited May 2014
3 Thank Krysmond S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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