While Melaque has many stores crammed with humdrum commercial tourist curios, Barra has a few interestingly authentic sources. For example, a number of Náhuatl-speaking families from Guerrero operate small individual shops, at the south end of Legazpi.
Furthermore, some of the shops, near the corner of Sinaloa and Legazpi, behind the church, are mini-museums of delightful folk crafts, made mostly by indígena country craftspeople. Pick what you like from among hundreds—lustrous lacquerware trays from Olinalá, winsome painted pottery cats, rabbits, and fish, a battalion of wooden mini-armadillos, and glossy dark-wood swordfish from Sonora.
You can pick from an equally attractive selection two blocks south, at Arts and Crafts of Oaxaca, across Legazpi diagonally southwest from the church. Besides a fetching collection of priced-to-sell Oaxacan alebrijes, tapetes, and masks, you’ll also find a host of papier mâché and pottery from Tlaquepaque and Tonalá, sombreros from Zitácuaro in Michoacán, and much more.
Across the street, a lineup of other shops, such as Artesanías Náhuatl and Artesanías Guerrero have similarly attractive offerings, on the south end of Veracruz, near the corner of Morelos. Although bargaining is customary, don’t bargain too hard. Many of these folks, far from their country villages, are strangers in a strange land. Their sometimes-meager earnings often support entire extended families back home.