As in most Mexican towns, the place to begin your Puerto Escondido shopping is the local mercado (Av. 10 Norte), one long block west of the electric station on upper Avenida Oaxaca. Although produce occupies most of the space, a number of stalls at the south end offer authentic handicrafts. These might include Guerrero painted pottery animals; San Bartolo Coyotepec black pottery; masks from Guerrero and Oaxaca with jaguar, devil, and scary human-animal motifs; the endearing multicolored pottery animals from Iguala and Zitlala in Guerrero; and beautiful crocheted huipiles from San Pedro Amusgos.
Back downhill on the adoquín, the prices increase along with the selection. Perhaps the most fruitful time and place for handicraft shopping is during the cooler evenings, within the illuminated cluster of crafts stalls just beyond the adoquín east-end chain. Among the finest bargains that, with effort, you will find are the gorgeous handwoven rugs and serapes from Teotitlán del Valle and Santa Ana del Valle near Oaxaca City. The highest-quality examples are the most tightly woven—typically about 20 strands per centimeter (50 per inch).
Oaxaca’s venerable jewelry tradition is well represented at the very professional Oro de Monte Albán (Av. Pérez Gasga, low season, tel. 954/582-0530, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 6:30–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., closed Sun.), ocean side, inside the west-end chain. Here are authentic museum-grade replicas of the celebrated Mixtec-style trove discovered in Monte Albán’s Tomb 7.
The Uribe silversmithing family well represents Taxco tradition at its Plateria Ixtlán (tel. 954/582-1672, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), a few doors east. Choose from a host of fetching floral, animal, and abstract designs, in silver and turquoise, garnet, jade, and other semiprecious stones.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition