There are so many choices when it comes to shopping in Puerto Vallarta! Some prefer the convenience of a large box-type store, whereas others like to visit small markets and fill their bags with nature’s best.
Soriana and Walmart are the chief competitor in town, both Big Box stores, selling everything from buckets to bananas, bug repellent to bicycle pumps. When in the mood for the large shopping experience, we have a favorite: the smaller Soriana on the highway, a store snuggled in close to some of the older timeshares, a short jaunt from the beach, next to the Parisina on the main highway. Why do we like this store, opposed to the BIGGER Sorianas or Walmarts? We can find what we are looking for, without needing a Sherpa! If going in pairs to the larger stores, remember to bring cell phones to communicate with your shopping partner since it can be like getting lost at the county fair. There is also a better selection of foreign foods, like dill pickles and salted butter that can be difficult to find other places.
Costco and Sam’s are a lovely experience compared to their associates in the US and Canada, where one needs a map and a compass, just to find one’s way around the parking lot. It is wise, however, to wear decent walking shoes.
For a more local experience, we highly recommend the daily markets. In the central area, Emiliano Zapata Municipal is your market for fresh produce, spices, meat and fish. The small shops scattered around the perimeter have anything you would seek in the huge grocery stores to which one must travel out to the hotel zone. A small tienda there sells non-toxic ant repellant; it’s chalk that comes in a small box, imported from China and when you draw on the floor with it, the ants follow it into oblivion.
Carnicería Colin, the butcher shop on Venustiano Carranza, is a big favorite among the non-vegetarians, with custom cuts of meat and a wide selection.
The road that leads from the cruise ship terminal, out past Sam’s Club, is your north end experience at the Mercado Palmar de Aramara, on Priciliano Sanchez. You will find a robust selection of ideal produce, fish, meat, plus stores offering everything from plastics to ceramics. And you didn’t hear it here but we are told some great piracy goes on in the manner of DVD and CD selections at a very visible store that can’t be missed.
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