For one, the vibe is refreshing, authentic, and welcoming. For two, San Pancho has a homegrown, down-to-earth community whose talents are on full display at the mercado so it’s a must-do activity when in San Pancho. And three, you might come as a stranger, but you’ll likely leave as a friend. 🙂
As you might guess, the Mercado Artesanal San Pancho is more than just a place where you pick up a few goodies.
I could easily spend my morning or afternoon there admiring the hand-crafted jewelry and hand-picked gemstones, snacking on Colombian arepas and red or blue-corn quesadillas, or listening to the vibrant live music from a nearby shady bench.
Here are just 10 amazing examples of the treasures you’ll find at the Mercado San Pancho!
10. Mexican Souvenirs & Handicrafts
As you approach the market, you’ll immediately notice a handful of stalls with umbrellas selling typical, colorful Mexican handicrafts. From blankets, rugs, and throws, to dangly pom-poms and ceramics, you can pick up a variety of touristy souvenirs from Mexico at a decent price.
You just might get a great deal if you go early or late and if you can haggle a little, but don’t worry about your Spanish skills. Most vendors speak English perfectly well.
9. Groovy Live Music
At the heart of the market is the live band, who plays all sorts of regional music. The music brings the market alive in a vibrant, happy way. You can’t help but smile. Take a moment to watch from the sidelines or jump in and get to dancing!
8. Handmade Jewelry with Love
The Mercado San Pancho is chock-full of vendors selling their own unique, handcrafted jewelry. No two tables are the same, with each varying in both style and craft. Some have more minimal touches, while others are covered in jewelry designs of all shapes and colors.
If you get the chance, stay and chat with the vendors to learn about their story. All of them have something to teach and it’s super interesting to learn about their own techniques and knowledge of gemstones and jewelry-making.
7. Healthy Bites
My first stop at the farmer’s market in San Pancho is always at Gaia’s – a food stall selling healthy, homemade vegetarian and non-veggie dishes.
They whip up the food fresh in their small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in downtown San Pancho before bringing it to the market. You can pick and choose what you’d like on your plate, but if you choose the full meal with everything, it’ll cost you a mere 110 pesos (or ~$6). It’s delicious, filling, and so yummy!
I find that Gaia’s sells the most healthy, wholesome lunch at the market, but there are dozens of other food stalls which I’ll talk about just below.
6. Guilty Pleasures
Empanadas, fresh-made quesadillas, Colombian cheese-stuffed arepas, pizzas, sausages, you name it! These I call “guilty pleasures” because they tend to be more ooey-gooey than a plate of healthy roots and veggies!
Paul and I always make a beeline for the Colombian arepa stand. Ever since I lived in Bogotá, I cannot help but chase after any arepa I can get my hands on. The vendor is from Bogotá herself, so it’s always nice saying hi. Plus, one arepa costs only 40 pesos!
In addition to an arepa, we always get one quesadilla each. The stall is right next to the arepa stand. You cannot miss it because there’s a sweet lady hand-packing the quesadilla mix and pressing it into tortillas. You can choose from red, green, or blue tortillas. Red is made from red corn, blue from blue corn, and the green is yellow corn with cilantro.
Then, for your filling, you choose from chicken, pork, or veggies (mushrooms). Each is served with a hearty helping of cheese! They have spicy and mild sauces at your convenience but heed my warning and go easy on the chile sauce! Last time I put too much and thought I was going to faint! The price for a quesadilla is also affordable, at 40 pesos.
Tasty and lightly fried! The handmade empanadas at the San Pancho market are a must-try. They are easy mouth-poppers, great for a lunchtime appetizer or snack! Don’t forget to add the yummy homemade sauce inside.
Pizza & Sandwiches
The “pizza place” in the back corner of the market is where you’ll find delicious, homemade pizzas! I have only ever had the zucchini pizza, but it was creamy and delicious (and cheap at only 50 pesos!) Paul opted for the sauerkraut and spicy chorizo sausage sandwich for 100 pesos. Both were scrumptious and we filled up fast!
If you want something sweet, head to the Mexicolate table where you can stock up on organic cacao nibs, raw honey, and learn more about their unique story.
You also shouldn’t miss the chance to try Patagonia’s Argentinian dulces. Sweet banana bread, tartelettes, and cakes make this table very appealing to the hungry, sweet-toothed traveler.
5. Fresh Juice, Bread, & Queso!
The fresh juice, bread, and cheese stands I felt deserved their own title. The tangerine juice is made of dreams and costs just $30-60 pesos for a small or large bottle.
The bread is from a local bakery (Casa Gourmet) which is located in both San Pancho and Sayulita. The mercado San Pancho is the perfect place to stock up on your bread needs for the week. Especially since San Pancho doesn’t have a supermarket where you can get tasty bread like that.
As for the cheeses, they are freshly made with pure cow’s milk and are 100% artesanales and organicos. Choose from Oaxaca cheese, goat cheese, cheddar, queso fresco, and more!
4. Homemade Medicinal Soaps, Incense, & More…
The homemade soaps stall might be the answer to our prayers since it’s quite the challenge to find natural beauty products in town. We do our best to buy eco-friendly, sustainable products when available.
The medicinal soaps are simply made with only glycerin and coconut oil. Choose from oatmeal and honey to clay, to lavender, you name it.
Joaquin, the owner of the stall, also sells natural deodorants, incense, peyote cream, 100% pure bee honey, and loads more. I’ll have one of everything, please. 🙂
3. Locals’ Art, Paintings, & Sculptures
Touring the San Pancho farmer’s market is more than just food and jewelry. You might be surprised to find local artist’s paintings, sculptures, glasswork, and more! There is really a beautiful array of displays at the market.
I go almost every week and I still need to take my time to get a good look at everything!
2. Eco-friendly Menstrual Products
My friend Martha manages a stall at the mercado that I’m happy to share about here. All the items on display are eco-friendly products for women’s reproductive and menstrual health. Available for purchase are reusable menstrual cups, pads, and tampons, in addition to natural oils (such as marigold flower oil) to promote natural, healthy ways for women to proudly experience womanhood!
1. Organic Produce from a Local Farm
One of the last gems of the San Pancho market is the ability to purchase your organic produce from a local, sustainable farm: The Ranchito Del Mar. Get fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables here for a great price.
Final Thoughts: 10 Treasures of the San Pancho Artisanal Market
The mercado San Pancho encompasses so much of why we love this town. Local, crafty, artsy, handmade, community, lively, organic, eco-friendly, down-to-earth… Need I say more? 😉
Remember to bring your reusable bag for shopping at the farmer’s market in San Pancho to help reduce plastic waste!