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|2-7 people||Centro Historico||~5.5 hours||10am|
|-> Metro Jamaica||(Mon-Sat)|
Quick bite: On this walk through the market, we’ll meet its vendors and food makers, learning about how the market works and the important role it plays in daily Mexico City life.
The best way to understand Mexico is through its markets. These bustling and colorful places are where the country’s soul – culinary and otherwise – truly resides. And, in our opinion, there are no two better places through which to do this soul searching then at Mexico City’s Merced and Jamaica Markets.
Mexico City’s largest market, La Merced is almost like a city unto itself, a bustling hive of vendors, shoppers and speedy porters known as “diableros.” Locals come here for everything from handmade chorizo and unusual tropical fruits to candies with which to fill up birthday piñatas. Not far away is the more relaxed Mercado de Jamaica (the name means “hibiscus”), one of Mexico City’s oldest markets, which is also the city’s main wholesale flower market, a riotously colorful place where vendors sell sunflowers, Calla lilies, tulips, gardenias and, around the time of the Day of the Dead celebrations, bright orange marigolds to deep red terciopelos. Beyond produce, candy and flowers, these markets are also two of Mexico City’s top food destinations, home to a dizzying mix of street food sellers and small specialty restaurants. Located in the southeast edge of what was the Aztec capital city in pre-Colonial times, these markets are still outside of Mexico City’s main tourist zone, keeping them very much a true locals place.
The best way to understand Mexico is through its markets. These bustling and colorful places are where the country’s soul – culinary and otherwise – truly resides.
On this walk through the markets, we’ll meet their vendors and food makers, learning about how the markets work and the important role they play in daily Mexico City life. Inside the markets, we’ll visit some of the literally thousands of stalls selling an even larger variety of good (there are more than 5,000 different types of flowers coming from eight different Mexican states on offer in the Jamaica market). We’ll also explore the markets’ other sections, dedicated to fruits and vegetables, kitchen utensils, piñatas and party favors, learning about the different ingredients that are the building blocks of Mexico’s culture and its inimitable cuisine.
Our main focus, of course, will be the markets’ food. We’ll start at a taqueria for an edible taco tutorial, learning about different kinds such as carnitas (deep-fried pork), carne asada (grilled steak), and al pastor (marinated spit-roasted pork). Among other stops, we’ll get a taste of deeply Mexican candies and snacks and also stop at a family-run place that invented huaraches – long corn-meal paddles filled with refried beans and countless other ingredients. We’ll also try handmade tamales, the best green chile chorizo tacos of the city, blue corn quesadillas, street corn, and seafood delights at Mariscos El Paisa, a tiny restaurant open since 1958 and today run by the original owner’s nephew, who took over a decade ago after cooking stints in the U.K., Italy and the U.S.
After finishing up at the Jamaica market we’ll drop by a traditional pulquería, which serves a slightly fermented drink made from agave sap that was considered the nectar of the Gods by several pre-Hispanic civilizations. Once considered a poor man’s drink, pulque is now making a comeback in Mexico City, giving old bars like this one a new lease on life and offering us another chance to contemplate – over a drink – the mysteries of Mexico.
Fee includes everything consumed on the walk. Some special features:
|Can accommodate a vegetarian diet||Children welcome|
|Can accommodate a gluten-free diet||Not stroller – friendly|
Am I going to get sick from eating Mexican street food or tacos?
Mild discomfort is common for people who aren’t used to eating Mexican spices or produce. However, all the food stops on each of our tours have been personally tested by our founders, as well as each of our guides. We stand by their quality and cleanliness.
Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return once the tour is over?
Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own. Most Mexico City hotels provide taxi services for guests, and it’s generally easy and convenient to use them. If you chose to have a private walk, the guide may be able to meet you at the hotel.
Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.
Is English spoken?
English is definitely spoken! Our guides are either American and bilingual in Spanish, or they’re Mexicans who speak fluent English. We will also happily do a tour in Spanish if you prefer.
Can vegetarians or vegans take this tour?
Vegetarians, pesceterians definitely. Vegans will have a difficult time in Mexico City, but we will do our best to accommodate. Our tours also work for anyone with cheese, nut and wheat allergies. Please let us what know your dietary restrictions in advance.
What should I wear?
Comfortable, closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops please), pants, and shirts in layers — it can be cooler in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. Please bring an umbrella if you’re traveling in Mexico City’s rainy season, from June-September.
How much walking is involved?
Quite a bit. We want you to experience the most amount of food and culture possible, and while we are not actively walking the entire time, you will be required to walk from stop to stop. The entire walk is about 2.5km on fairly flat terrain but the sidewalks can be challenging. Some of the street stands we visit also do not have seating, so you will eat standing up.
How much food will I get to try?
This is really up to you. We generally taste around six items on each tour, but the price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our goal is to have you end the tour pleasantly stuffed, not so full you can barely walk. That said, everyone’s appetite is different and we welcome all varieties!
What if it rains?
Our tours are conducted rain or shine.
Can I bring my children on this tour?
Sure! Children under 6 are free of charge, but Mexico City is not very stroller friendly, so you should either bring a baby carrier or have a kid ready to walk. Children 7-12 are 50% off. Teenagers 13 and often eat more than their parents and pay full price.
What is your cancellation policy?
The entire reservation can be cancelled with 100% refunded minus credit card processing fees if cancelled more than 1 week in advance. Cancellations of more than 3 days, are refundable at 50% and less than 72 hours are not refundable
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