Haggle at La Bufadora Market in Ensenada, Mexico

I am not good at haggling…unless I feel like I am getting ripped off. Then, I will spend hours negotiating a deal that the sales person didn’t even think was possible. I am cheap. Or rather frugal. I just don’t understand why people don’t list the actual price of an item instead of chasing me down the street after I walk away from the “below cost, final offer.” But, I do realize that that is part of the charm of shopping the streets of Mexico so, I went to La Bufadora Market armed with a loaded wallet and my best poker face.

I couldn’t have been happier when the sexy Kandy Kruise, AKA 24-hour party boat, ported in Ensenada. I needed a break from whooping it up and was ready for some shopping therapy. We decided to take a $19.99 excursion to La Bufadora, a Mexican flea market and I was anxious to see what bargains were to be had.

Upon arrival, La Bufadora was bustling with shoppers. Save some haggling deals for me. There were booths as far as the eye could see.

necklaces at La Bufadora Market in Ensenada, Mexico

I ogled some haggling worthy turqoise jewelry, almost ready to make an offer, but then remembered that I haven’t even rotated my earrings for 7 years. What makes me think this would be a good purchase?

I walked by the shoes at La Bufadora. Who doesn’t need a good pair of leathers sandals? But, I looked down at my $9.99 black flip-flops that have gotten me through the entire summer. They still had some tread left to spare. I quickly bypassed the piles of straw hats since I brought a fedora with me and had to carry it in my lap on the plane.

shoes at La Bufadora Market in Ensenada, Mexico
La Bufadora Market hats for sale

There was definitely no room on this lap for a sombrero.

I rushed past the knock-off bags, envisioning myself in handcuffs in a foreign jail. It was not pretty.

Hmm…these items left me bewildered. Those masks reminded me of a something a WWE wrestler would sport, but these were pint size for children. The blow fish wasn’t so bad, it was the creepy fanged fish directly behind it that has haunted me for days.

What caught my attention in a good way was this young girls braids. Her mother had done them for her and it was pure sweetness. But, “getting braids done by her mother” was not for sale. I asked.

What I ended up purchasing was one bottle of Tempranillo wine claimed to have been made in Ensenada. And there was no haggling. At all. He said $10, I said okay. But, that was after I made him prove that he was the actual wine maker by showing me his license.

Have you been haggling at a market in a different country? What for?


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18 thoughts on “Haggle at La Bufadora Market in Ensenada, Mexico”

  1. I've been to La Bufadora (which means "the snout"–did you see the ocean shooting through the blowhole?). Mexico is amazing for the array of handmade items–leather, woodcarving, ceramics, guitars, jewelry, and, yes, liquors. Each region seems to specialize in some beautiful handicraft. I've seen the artesans sit at their booths making stuff so fine it would make me blind.
    I do haggle, but sometimes, with something very fine, I just pay the first price, too. Glad you enjoyed the market. Try the one in Oaxaca City.
    Kate (www.wanderingnotlost.org)

  2. Oh, I tried haggling back in my home country Taiwan….the old ladies selling veggies and fruits are just not giving it in =_= (Especially when they noticed my Mandarin/and Taiwanese does not sound local enough).
    Have to agree with you, do not buy knock offs. To me I just don't understand why buying a fake one is so great? (If it is not real, it is just not the same thing to me)

    • I have never really been in to brand names, so knock-offs are easy for me to pass on. I just don’t like it when my clothes or accessories have large names scattered all over them. Just one more reason that I am weird unique :)

  3. I hate haggling in markets.  But like you, I will do it if I think I'm getting ripped off.  I haggled a lot in markets in Central America for food.  They see my face and automatically the price would be double.  But you cannot fool this gringa!  Walk away and go to the next of 30 vendors selling avocado.

  4. My husband and I brought back a sombrero from Loredo Nuevo. He did the haggling since I do not speak Spanish. There are also flea markets like this in San Antonio, Texas which I tried to haggle for a T-shirt since some vendors speak English. I had to pick the one that spoke only Spanish, so my husband to the rescue again. But when it came to buying my KIA Sportage, I did haggle. I had done my homework ahead of time. I knew what I wanted, what the rebate was, and what the going price was. So when the dealer said, "I will drop the price by…" I replied, "That is the amount of the manufactor's rebate…" The price started out at $23,000 and the purchase price was $16,050, a savings of $6,050 plus I got out of paying the sales tax because I live in a state without a sales tax.

    • There risks anytime you eat anywhere in the world (though I’ve only be sick twice in 15 years), so if you are worried I would stick to places where you see the food cooked right in front of you.


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