Mercado Modelo, Salvador da Bahia
The Mercado Modelo is bulging at the seams with tourists, vendors, scents, sights and sounds.
If you enter through the side closest to the water you'll see a vast cafe type area with a stage often occupied by people practicing capoeira. Sit down and have a bite to eat here or a cold beer if you'd like. The capoeira performers expect tips.
Pass through this area into the building and you'll encounter vendor after vendor all ready to start negotiating prices on their goods with you.
What to buy: Jewelry, instruments, clothing, music, handicrafts, gems...
Be sure to negotiate prices! I talked a vendor down from $210 REAL to $100 REAL on a really beautiful beaded and embroidered tunic.
What to pay: It's up to you... things can be dirt cheap or you can spend loads...
Musical instruments are on display and for sale all over Pelourinho and in the Mercado Modelo. Above all we find traditional percussion instruments, like berimbaus, abataques, bongos, timbaus, cuicas, congas, djembes and more. If you shop around you can find some pieces of great beauty and quality made by local craftsmen.
One of the places which is much more than a cut-above is Mestre Lua's Atelier Percussivo in Pelourinho. Mestre Lua is a capoeira master who crafts percussion instruments of great beauty and quality. His shop is located at Rua Inacio Ociole, no. 3 (close to the Igreja Sao Francisco), and the interior looks like something of a living museum. The diference is that these instruments are made to play. They are also pricier, but still far less expensive than anything similar purchased in Europe. The telephone number of the shop is 3488 3600 and Mestre Lua's home phone is 3636 8118. He also organizes percussion classes and workshops.
What to buy: traditional musical instruments, especially percussion instruments like berimbaus, abataques, bongos, timbaus, cuicas, congas and djembes
What to pay: prices vary but are quite resonable regarding the quality
Mercado Modelo is the biggest handcraft center in Latin America. The building here it works used to be a storage center.
Besides the shops there are two restaurants and a couple of bars there.
Some years ago tunnel were found in its subsoil. They were used as a refuge during foreing invasions centuries ago.
What to buy: Here you find products made of seashells, clay, stone and wood, as clothes and shoes.
What to pay: It varies according to the product you buy, but sellers tend to rise the price when they realize they?re dealing with tourists.
For those, interested in art works, expecially the paintings, Salvador is certainly the place! In Pelourinho there are several art studios where you can observe local artists while creating their pieces of art. You also find numerous shops and small galleries selling paintings and other works of art. Some of them have really fantastic collections and are worth visiting at least for having a look.
What to buy: paintings (from naif, with typical Bahian motifs, to modern and extraordinary styles) wooden statues, sculptures, ceramics, painted clothes
What to pay: prices are reasonable, you can bergain as well
This former customs building and slave warehouse burned to the ground in 1984 and was then rebuilt in its original 19th-century style. It houses just about everything Bahia has to offer in terms of arts and crafts and souvenirs.
I didnt have enough room in my suitcase to pick up any local craft but I did pick up a few bottles of this green chilli sauce which was divine... They are large bottles, so last along time too... I even sprinkled some on my plane food.
You also have to try the Liquor da Maracuja (Passion Friut) and the chocolate... just great. I can't walk past my fridge without taking a swig. I fear I am becoming an alcoholic.
Also great are these creamy coconut things they sell at some of the stalls. They also sell them online at:
What to buy: Cloths
Coconut Cream Drops
What to pay: More than usual... it is geared towards tourists
The Mercado Modelo (Model Market) is a classic place in Salvador; there you will find all kind of local crafts, typical food, capoeira dancers and lots of people.
El Mercado Modelo es un lugar clásico en Salvador; allí encontrarás todo tipo de artesanías locales, comidas típicas, bailarines de capoeira y muchísima gente.
Mercado Modelo is the former slave market in Salvador and situtated down by the harbour.
These days it has turned in to a tourist market but a pretty good one if you ask me.
the architecture is still there and you can find some pretty good quality souvenirs if you look around.
The place has a couple of good cafes, one of them on the second floor with ourdoor seating overlooking the harbour.
There is also ATM's and a post office inside the market these days.
Remember to haggle over the price there as you can mostly get the price down a fair bit by doing that.
What to buy: Locsl crafts and souveniers.
What to pay: Whatever price you can haglle your way to.
All over Pelourinho, you'll find souvenir shops where you can buy local crafts, clothing, postcards and the like, however, you might find the quality of the local crafts will be better in some of the finer shops or even at the Mercado Modelo in lower town.
Located just across the street from the base of the Elevator Lacerdo is this great market. If you're looking for cheap items like tee shirts, snow globes or magnets for your fridge, you'll find them here. Or, if you're looking for some paintings done by local artists or some hand-made Afro-Brazilian crafts, this is the place to come. I bought a mask from the region for 50 reais. He was asking 85, so be sure to bring your bargaining skills.
Don´t miss el Mercado Modelo.
What to buy: You can buy good quality handcraft (e.g. made on pau Brazil), colorful paintings at very reasonable prices.
Also, if you want to buy souvenirs, this is the place to go.
What to pay: One example: I bought a berimbau for 10 reais (3 euros aprox).