Mercado Modelo is a large shopping mall and public market. The market spills out into the street and surrounding area. Inside the historic building are mostly gift shops aimed towards tourists. Around the exterior of the building and along the streets are fruit and vegetable stands plus so much more. The area is very chaotic and the streets can be dirty and nasty. All the good and bad combine to show a very interesting and special part of Dominican culture.
Mercado Modelo – Inside and Out
Inside the market, you will mostly find souvenir shop after souvenir shop, a well-known tourist trap. They are selling every gift shop item you can imagine. Some items are made in the Dominican Republic while others are imported from who knows where.
The exterior of the Mercado Modelo has an entirely different vibe. Here you can find just about anything from handmade baskets, fresh produce and more.
There are some Santeria Shops selling, herbal remedies, potiches, amulets and items that bring good luck or can cancel out the evil eye. Santeria Shops also sell religious items including statues, crosses, sainted halos and sacred crowns, botanicals and incense.
There are fresh meat markets selling fresh-cut beef and chickens killed and cleaned to order.
Surrounding the exterior of Mercado Modelo you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, raw coffee beans and cacao.
Just about every dried herbs and beans are there in abundance including some very strange-looking unknown dried items.
Around the Mercado Modelo you can find people selling fresh-squeezed fruit juices, fried foods and empanadas cooked to order.
There is a market outside where vendors are selling a wide variety of flowers and plants. Some are locally grown and other flowers are exotic and shipped into the country.
Warnings and precautions to take when visiting Mercado Modelo
*Be aware of your surroundings and belongings. I recommend if you head to this area do NOT take or wear anything of value (phones, jewelry). There are many thieves that roam the area looking for an opportunity to take advantage of tourists and unsuspecting people.
*The area can be very chaotic and hectic with humans, dogs and vehicles everywhere. Just relax, take a deep breath and embrace the chaos.
*Be sure to haggle a little or a lot. Do not accept the first price given for the most part. Especially if you have TOURIST written in bold letters across your forehead..lol. If not sure ask someone not working in the shops for help. Then might guide you as to what the item really sells for so you are aware.
History – Location
Mercado Modelo was designed by Henry Gazon Bona and constructed by Guido D Alessandro Lombardi in 1941. The modern market place was inaugurated in 1943 in then Ciudad Trujillo.
Location – Avenida Mella #505 between Altagracia y Tomás de la Concha, San Carlos, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Walking from Colonial Zone walking on Calle el Conde turn up (away from the sea) on Calle Sanchez. When you hit Av. Mella, you will notice the market across the street. This is the easiest and most direct way to get to Mercado Modelo.
General Hours – Monday-Saturday 8 AM-6 PM, Sunday 8 AM-12 noon