The sights and strong smell of fish greet you when entering Mercado Central in Santiago. Primarily a fish market, it is flanked by a series of small shops selling fruits and souvenirs. It’s also here where you’ll find several small, somewhat overpriced, cafes and restaurants. Aside from fresh seafood however, Mercado Central is not where most of Santiago’s residents come to shop for food. That market would be La Vega, across the street. The prices are lower and the selection greater with a slightly better opportunity to bargain, although the practice isn’t common in Santiago.
Keep in mind that La Vega is mostly closed on Sundays and both places are favorites of pickpockets, so keep you camera out of sight when not in use. As I’ve mentioned before, the sights of Santiago are best seen on foot – the city is wonderfully walkable.