Mexicans didn’t invent the art of bartering, though some have asked if it’s a tradition in Puerto Vallarta. Bartering is ancient and has existed all over the world for eons. You’re likely to find wares for sale in many places; vendors on the beach, at flea markets, on the streets.
For silver, visit a local boutique in Puerto Vallarta, or be satisfied with the semi-fake stuff you’ll get from a vendor. Blankets and rugs are treasures that will last a lifetime. Hammocks pack easily and unfold magically. Platters, pottery, glassware, and ceramic frogs are a little trickier; have them packed when you buy them and carrying them aboard if you can.
Sellers in Puerto Vallarta expect buyers to barter. For some it’s a game and they’ll play along astutely. Keep in mind, this is their livelihood and they have families to support. Don’t barter down to a price that embarrasses both you and the person you’re buying from, and don’t stretch the deal out like a constitutional amendment.
Speak a little Spanish and you’ll possibly get a better deal. Grab a small Spanish Guide before you make your trip to Puerto Vallarta; it’ll be fun to test your own skills. Be pleasant; start your transaction with greetings. “Buenos dias”; “Hola” …and use your best manners. You’re find vendors in Puerto Vallarta very friendly and helpful.
Shop around. If you find something you really want, chances are you will find it at other stalls, so check prices before laying out your pesos. Once you’ve landed on an item you really want, ask how much “Cuanto cuesta?” If it’s far less than you expected, don’t act surprised. If you don’t know your numbers in Spanish, have pencil and paper; that will help avoid misunderstandings. You can use this method to barter, changing the amount and working toward an agreeable goal. Simply making a move towards walking away will get you called back or they may even follow you. This is normal and most consider it fun. Never tell a vendor his wares are not worth what he’s quoted. Offer half back on the original price; you’ll get a laugh, for sure. Then move to the middle of those two numbers. If they believe you’re truly interested, you will get a good price and perhaps have a story to take home. Never make a purchase that’s going to make you feel bad, high or low. Go look elsewhere and see if you can find a price that suits you. There are many shopping venues in Puerto Vallarta.
Always thank the vendor Gracias, regardless of whether you walk away with a purchase or empty handed.
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article! (opinions expressed are his own)
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