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Tips for a day trip to Tonala and Tlaquepaque

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Post by nolajoe Wed Nov 09, 2022 6:01 pm

I will be taking some guests to Tonala and Tlaquepaque soon and would appreciate any helpful information that you can provide. It's been six years since I was there and that trip was on a bus. I would like information on parking, places to see, things to do, that kind of thing. Any other tips would be appreciated as well.

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Post by RoyD Fri Nov 11, 2022 5:56 pm

OK. We went to Tonala twice in October and road the bus ($60 pesos per) to the Guad Bus Terminal, then a cab ($200 to $250 pesos depending on how many in the cab) to Tonala. Thursdays is the best day to go. Wear comfortable walking shoes as you will walk your legs off. I am talking miles here, it is that big. Someone needs to be able to speak Spanish as there are few Mexicans there that speak English. There are not a lot of restaurants in the market area, mostly hole in the wall places. You might want to scout out restaurants in the area before you go. Parking is scarce. You may have to park on a side street blocks away and walk back.

I would also break the trip up into separate trips to Tonala and Tlaquepaque. Trying to do both in one day is asking a lot.

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Post by CanuckBob Sat Nov 12, 2022 7:47 am

I agree with everything Roy says, except the part about "needing to speak Spanish". Thousands of non Spanish speaking tourists go there every year. I have purchased many things in both municipalities and the language difference has never been a problem. In fact the language difference has never been a problem anywhere I have been in Mexico. Use your translator app in a jam....

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Post by oatsie Sat Nov 12, 2022 8:17 am

I use a translation App on my phone that I find works great.  You can talk into it and it repeats the translation back over the speaker.  The person you are talking to can reply in their language (Spanish here) and it speaks back in English.  Saves a lot of typing on a small, cell phone keyboard.

https://www.sayhi.com/en/translate/
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Post by mudgirl Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:48 am

RoyD wrote:There are not a lot of restaurants in the market area, mostly hole in the wall places. You might want to scout out restaurants in the area before you go.


You say that as if hole in the wall places are to be avoided. Some of the best meals I've had in Mexico were in "hole-in-the-wall places", and some of the worst were in what looked like nice restaurants. Also the only times I have gotten sick eating out were in "nice" restaurants, and have never gotten sick eating street food.

When I've lived in places where there were big markets, I would look for the eateries that were packed with Mexicans, they were always the best.

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Post by nolajoe Sat Nov 12, 2022 4:56 pm

Thank you, everyone. I speak some Spanish and usually get by. One of my friends is conversational in Spanish. We also like a variety of food and restaurant experiences, so there are no problems there.

Any other tips will be appreciated.

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Post by RoyD Sat Nov 12, 2022 5:03 pm

The remark about "hole in the wall places" was not meant to be derogatory, but to convey they were small places. We ate at one and the food was delicious and inexpensive.

Also, taking someone with you that speaks Spanish is very helpful, but it does not mean you HAVE to. We did on the fly without that help and did OK with some advanced planning. We wrote the address down of the bus terminal and the Tonala Street addresses in Spanish to give to the taxi driver. Worked like a charm.

My wife came up with the non-Spanish method of bargaining with the street vendors. She carried a small notebook and wrote the $ sign on the paper and showed it to the vendor. They would write down their price for the item of interest, then she would scratch out the price and write down what she wanted to pay. The bargaining went back and forth until they agreed on a price or we left to see another table further on. No Spanish involved.

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Post by Jreboll Sat Nov 12, 2022 7:14 pm

Two motivated persons will always find a way to arrive to an understanding.

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Post by Rory2u Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:56 pm

Why do Gringos feel the need/obligation to bargain for Mexican Arts & Crafts? Ever stop to consider the damages incurred with COVID, the decreased tourist business and the extortion by the cartels? These folks have been hurt hard and they really don't deserve the obligatory beating from Gringos!

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Post by Dostortas Wed Nov 16, 2022 6:13 am

I suggest going to Tonala early, it’s more comfortable to shop when it’s cooler and there’s less traffic. Most stores open at 10am. I avoid going on Thursdays and Sundays as it’s market day and the Main Street is filled with vendors, it can be crowded and difficult to get around. Plenty of parking in Tonala if you go early, it’s worth it to use pay parking, most charge 10 pesos and hour or 40-50 pesos for the day. Taking small bills will help with change and some coins for pay toilets. Happy shopping!

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Post by mudgirl Wed Nov 16, 2022 10:05 am

Rory2u wrote:Why do Gringos feel the need/obligation to bargain for Mexican Arts & Crafts? Ever stop to consider the damages incurred with COVID, the decreased tourist business and the extortion by the cartels? These folks have been hurt hard and they really don't deserve the obligatory beating from Gringos!

It depends. You have to be aware of whether it's a situation where haggling is expected. If I buy something directly from the person who made it, I wouldn't try to bargain, and in most of those situations, in my experience, the artist/craftsman is not interested in bargaining and it's insulting to do so.

If it's a middleman selling someone else's creations, that is often a situation where they start off high and expect to bargain.

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Post by rckrckr Wed Nov 16, 2022 11:02 am

mudgirl wrote:
Rory2u wrote:Why do Gringos feel the need/obligation to bargain for Mexican Arts & Crafts? Ever stop to consider the damages incurred with COVID, the decreased tourist business and the extortion by the cartels? These folks have been hurt hard and they really don't deserve the obligatory beating from Gringos!

It depends. You have to be aware of whether it's a situation where haggling is expected. If I buy something directly from the person who made it, I wouldn't try to bargain, and in most of those situations, in my experience, the artist/craftsman is not interested in bargaining and it's insulting to do so.

If it's a middleman selling someone else's creations, that is often a situation where they start off high and expect to bargain.


True, and why specify gringos (whomever one thinks they are)? My Mexican family members don't hesitate to bargain for arts & crafts or anything else when they think it's appropriate. They are always pleasant and polite and often do get a lower price, certainly not always, and no one is offended on either side.

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