After meeting your guide at a central location in Mexico City, take public transportation to Mercado de la Merced (La Merced Market), one of the largest markets in Latin America and the biggest in the city. Along the way, your guide will tell you about Mesoamerica’s street market tradition since pre-Columbian times, and how Spanish conquistadors were amazed by the Aztecs’ displays at the Tlatelolco market.
From the zócalo (public square), located just 13 blocks west of the La Merced’s main building, zigzag your way past crowded streets filled with small shops. When you step inside this colonial market, enjoy the bustling activity and energy of local vendors selling their wares. Follow your guide through a maze of colorful Mexican spices that activate all your senses.
As you wander, delight in smelling and tasting all kinds of produce, including varieties of corn and tomatoes native to the ‘new world'. You’ll find a huge assortment of kitchenware – from juicers to decorative spoons – as your guide enlightens you about Mexico’s food culture and cuisine.
Next, head to Mercado de Sonora (Sonora Market), known as the witches’ market for its herbal remedies, as well as magic potions and spells, to cure every ailment – from physical illness to heartbreak.
Here, weave past aisles filled with ordinary items like pottery, pets and party supplies to find plants with medicinal and magical properties. Your guide will point out garlic bulbs woven to ward off evil, as well as candles, lotions, oils and amulets that spell casters use for cleanses and cures.
Finally, head to Mercado Jamaica (Jamaica Market), housed in three huge buildings that encompass one city block. Follow your guide past stalls selling groceries and meat, and discover what the market is most famous for – flowers. You’ll be awed by more than 1,000 stands selling gorgeous arrangements and cut flowers of every kind.