Our Top 5 Seafood Markets in Latin America
1. Mercado de Mariscos, Panama City
The Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood Market) in Panama City is abuzz with local fisherman carrying their catches to the vendors inside set amongst the many casual eateries. Located right next to the city’s fishing marina, the market is a fully operational trading space which is lively with business from just before day break and then slowly winds down in the early afternoon with hangers on cheerily sitting at one the many small seafood stands which surround the main building, enjoying a well earned beer and a generous helping of local seafood.
Where: Panama City, next to the city’s main fishing marina. Be a part of the action at the Mercado de Mariscos and drop in during the first few days whilst on the Alcíon: Central America discovery group tour.
“I would recommend trying a combo ceviche which mixes fish, prawns, squid and calamari. Prices are pretty much the same from stall to stall, so just choose the most popular!” Nicola Gude, Group Tours.
2. La Nieve Viga Market (known as La Viga), Mexico City
Believe it or not, La Nieve Viga market, the largest seafood market in Mexico, is the second largest in the world. Located inland in Mexico City due to historical commerce patterns, this vast market sells locally and exports to the United States. Although it is less of a touristy destination, more a fascinating insight into the seafood trade in Mexico, there are a variety of food stalls serving tamales, tacos, cocktails and other popular seafood dishes. Be sure to go before midday to catch the freshest fish.
Where: Central de Abastos in Mexico City. The market sits a few streets over from the Central’s main fruit-and-vegetable complex, behind a row of seafood empanada stands. A trip to this interesting, if a little smelly, seafood quarter combines perfectly with our new A Taste of Mexico holiday.
“Despite the enormous size of this food market, the vendors we met were friendly and full of facts about their fish despite our small scale purchase.” Rafe Stone, Product Manager.
3. Mercado Central, Santiago
Santiago’s buzzing fish market, housed in a beautiful old building, features a striking glass and wrought-iron ceiling – designed by Mr Eiffel (Tour Eiffel) himself! This market caters for all, offering a broad mix of products from seafood, herbs, meat, and pies to pharmaceuticals, jewellery and a call centre. The fish market and restaurant stalls (found on the ground and second floor) are busy, bustling areas serving delicious freshly caught fish dishes – a recommendation is the caldillo de congrio (a tomato and potato based fish stew).
Where: Santiago city centre – we’d recommend you try and sneak a visit in whilst on our Penguin Group Journey: Extremes of Chile during your first couple of days in Santiago.
4. La Libertad Market, El Salvador
This authentic open air fish market takes place in La Libertad port – El Salvador’s most infamous port – where the fishing boats are winched up onto the pier and the fresh fish is auctioned out in a boisterous fashion. Wander amongst the hagglers taking in the sights and sounds before catching a bite to eat at the stalls in the surrounding area. Be prepared to go early as once the fish are sold, the stalls will pack up and head home.
Where: Half an hours’ drive west from San Salvador to La Libertad which fits nicely with our Undiscovered Nicaragua and El Salvador holiday.
“It’s great fun to see the local fishermen at work selling their freshly caught fish to the highest bidder.” Lina Fuller, Travel Consultant.
5. Manaus Fish Market, Manaus
Amid the sound of knives chopping in the long warehouse full of frenzied stalls in the river port of Manaus is the renowned fish market. Of which, fish types include piranha, peacock bass, catfish and others. Quite a neat trick is that the vendors pre-cut your fish, ready for quick grilling at home – an inspired idea!
Where: Manaus on the bank of the Rio Negro in Brazil – tie it in with our Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance holiday which visits Rio de Janeiro, Iguazú Falls, Brazilian Amazon, Salvador da Bahía and the Chapada Diamantina.
“This is a fully functioning, lively market that can host up to 40,000 visitors in a day – so my advice would be to get there early!” Laura Rendell-Dunn, Press & Marketing Manager.
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Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.