Praça Visc. de Cayru, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
www.mercadomodelo.net - (71) 3326-4386
Mercado Modelo Salvador da Bahia Reviews
Oct 30, 2006
The Mercado Modelo is located in Cidade Baixa near the financial area of Salvador. It's basically a tourist market where you can get a ton of cool artwork, carvings, cachaca, coffee, jewelry, Afro-Brazilian instruments and other handicrafts. I have a weakness for colorful and unique accessories so despite the touristy-ness of it, I always enjoyed this place. Some of things I thought were really cool were little Baiana figurines, paintings of Pelourinho, jewelry made out of coconut shells and Amazonian beads, and multi-colored woven purses with coconut shell buttons.
IN FRONT OF THE MARKET
The market is mainly inside of a building, but in the front of the building there are several stalls set up. The things sold there are usually cheaper than what you'll find inside. Sometimes you'll also find things outside that you can't find inside the market, but there is less selection and the quality isn't always as good. Some awesome things I saw in front that I didn't see inside were multi-colored earrings made with string and belts and other accessories made with recycled soda can tops.
When you're there, be prepared to bargain. A lot of people have different views about bargaining in third world countries, but it is something that is expected there. All the locals told us to never pay full price for things, especially at a market like that. It is really handy to know numbers in Portuguese, but incase you don't, many vendors have calculators where you can type your price and go back and forth. Two helpful phrases are "Quanto custa?" which means "How much is this?" and "Esta muito caro!" which means "That is very expensive!" These phrases will take you a long way. Sometimes people will follow you around trying to sell you something that you showed only a slight interest in. Just smile and say "Nao obrigada(o)" (no thank you) and walk away. Make sure you have cash and preferrably smaller bills. If you want more than one item from a vendor, this can also be used to bargain. Instead of talking down one item at a time, ask for three things for the price of two or something like that. Some vendors won't budge too much for more unique and higher quality items so if it's a really interesting item you haven't seen anywhere else, you can pay full price for that.
OTHER THINGS TO DO AT THE MERCADO
On the upper floor there is a restaurant with outdoor seating- a great place for dinner at sunset. On the lower level there always seem to be capoeira performances. There are also some bars and at least one more restaurant there.
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
You probably won't want to spend a whole day at the market and there are a lot of other things close by. The Mercado Modelo is across the street from the Elevador Lacerda which for 5 centavos takes you up to Pelourinho. There is also a port nearby where boats leave for Morro de Sao Paulo and the island tour. A quick cab ride takes you down the road to the Solar do Unhao with the Modern Art Museum, restaurants, and a folklore show.
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