Finally, our product hunt took us to El Viejo Mercado. The Masaya handcraft market. Aka Nicaragua’s handmade item Mecca. This was the market we had been waiting for. We were eager to talk to the people in Masaya who actually made the items sold throughout Nicaragua. We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were ready for anything. When we pulled up to the market, we were both in awe. The outside of the market looked like a beautiful old castle. Quite different from the Nicaraguan markets we were used to seeing with sheet metal rooftops and street vendors everywhere.
We walked through one of the large arches, into the large outdoor market and were instantly surrounded by hundreds of colorful trinkets. Bags, hammocks and scarves were hung from the ceiling, which made the ceiling feel much lower to us tall people.
There was everything from beautiful wooden guitars to hackie sacks, notebooks and pine needle woven baskets.
The oil and acrylic paintings were absolutely beautiful with lots of color and texture. They were all made by local artists.
There were also hand painted sculptures of animals with a Nicaraguan touch, my favorite were the purple and blue family of owls.
I loved the girly vendors filled with turquoise and bright red necklaces, earrings and multi-colored fabric bracelets.
My favorite items in the clothing section, by far, were the leather woven canvas shoes. Each pair was unique with different colors and patterns. They were so comfy and cute I was already planning which outfits I would wear them with while I was trying them on!
There were also some interesting and weird cultural items. The festive clothing and masks were interesting and fun.
The strangest item we saw in the store was a basket made out of a stuffed rooster.
There were many Nicaraguan cigar and coffee vendors around as well, which made certain areas of the market smell great.
This market was definitely our market. The price was right on pretty much every item there. Even the street food outside was the best price we’d seen in Nicaragua! We spent hours just talking in Spanish with the locals about prices, quantities and who the best artists around town were. Masaya was a very productive trip and just what we needed. We were like kids in a candy store. We both walked out of there on a wonderful natural high of excitement and passion.