Tattoos in Mexico

 Many people while on vacation in the Yucatan often have the urge to do something a little crazy, and why not, YOU’RE ON VACATION! One of the more common “somethings” to do is get a tattoo. Now while many people often opt out of getting this done out of fear of infection or disease, shoddy workmanship or value for money, it is good to know that there ARE in fact excellent tattoo parlours here in the Riviera Maya with first class artists and impeccable health standards, producing excellent tattoos for a much lower price than in the US or Canada. This is also very useful for people that have mulled over a desired tattoo for some time and wish to save a little cash or for residents of this sensational area.
So here’s a local insider peak of one such tattoo shop, located in tourist hot-spot and beach-goers dream town, Playa del Carmen – Mr. 8 Ball.
I recently sat down with Mr. 8 Ball’s manager, Jason Fernandez, an ex-pat from California to find out a little more about the locally recommended ink-stop and take a look at exactly what Playa del Carmen has to offer in this regard.
He pointed out to me first and foremost Mr. 8 Ball’s hygienic excellence. Everything from the tattoo chairs, latex gloves to the needles are sterilised completely, employees are allowed no room for anything but the highest of hygiene standards when they work. All of them must have certified health-cards and comply with government regulations regarding tattooing, of which their store comes under heavy scrutiny every 2 months with government health checks.
The effort that is put into maintaining a clean and healthy work environment is apparent, so much so that Jason commented a little angrily about the stereotypes that Mexico gets concerning tattooing –
“People are scared that because it’s Mexico they are gonna end up with a hepatitis infection and a terrible looking tattoo, I mean seriously, we have a Wal-Mart here and health-care as good as anything I ever saw back home and it really pisses me off when I have to listen to that kind of thing coming from people who know nothing about getting a tattoo here in Mexico.”
The tattoo artists sitting nearby also emphatically agreed with Jason, one being named Paco, an artist tattooed from head to toe whose father was Cancun’s first tattoo artist 25 years ago.
“I’ve had all my tattoos done here in Mexico, and I’ve never had an infection ever!” Paco stated with passion.
Mr 8. Ball has been open for 2 years thus far already drummed up a reputation of being the best in Playa del Carmen, with three full-time artists and another two artists that are currently on world-tour, tattooing all over the globe and world-renowned for their artistic skill. Jason also noted that so far most of his clients have been couples and middle-aged people finally deciding to get that tattoo they’ve always wanted.
“We have alot of repeat customers here, one year someone will come and get a tattoo from us and the next year is back on vacation again for another with a friend.” Jason states, showing just how important word-of-mouth is concerning getting a tattoo.
After chatting with Jason for awhile I also had time to speak with a tattoo artist just finishing up some artwork by the name of Ricardo. Ricardo has been tattooing people for 15 years now, starting off drawing on skateboards, he found as a kid he was always better at drawing than mathematics. At the age of 14 he bought his first tattoo gun and practiced primarily on his own legs to improve his skill. Since then you can find his artwork in places all around the world, I myself having previously spotted one of his more famous drawings in the window of a tattoo shop in Vancouver without having any knowledge of who the artist was.
I then asked Ricardo what was the longest tattoo he had ever completed in one sitting, and what were some of the funniest/weird/terrible tattoo ideas he ever drew on someone. Ricardo sat back for a few minutes out think about it as he laughed to himself. He replied that the longest single tattooing sitting for a single piece of artwork he had ever done was a full 19 hour marathon, a full back and shoulder freehand piece. As for some of the more odd requests he’s had for tattoos, he replied that he’s tattooed everything from big clown eyebrows on a woman, to drug-abusing fluffy animals and even a food dish by the name of Pozole on a friend’s leg. Each to their own I suppose.
So next time you vacationing in this gorgeous part of the Riviera Maya or have a home here and want find a reputable and trustworthy place to get your tattoo with satisfaction guaranteed; be sure to drop by Mr. 8 Ball and see for yourself.


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  1. Anonymous

    My Husband Neil had a wonderful back piece done by Naaman, the tattoo is alive with defined lines.

    Ricardo did a wonderful tattoo for me (Loraine) and fixed up a poorly done one, these two artists at Mr.eight ball are very talented and would give many tattoo artists all over the world a run for their money

  2. martijn hollak

    hi there i’m from holland and ricardo has put 2 tattoo’s on me. I have to say that Ricardo is one of the best artist i’ve seen tattooing. and the hygiene at the shop is really good. so if you go to playa del carmen this is the tattoo shop to go to if you want a real nice tattoo.

  3. Anonymous

    Does anyone know if they have an email address?? I am trying to contact them regarding a tattoo I had done last week. I want to show people what mine means, but I can’t find the exact symbol online, and I got it from a sheet they had on the wall. Lol. If anyone could help, that would be awesome.

  4. Anonymous

    I am getting a tatto from Ricardo this Thursday. First one. I am down here on vacation and staying in Tulum (about a 50 minute drive south of playa). My wife and I went up to Playa today and found Mr. 8 Ball by chance. We liked what we saw and will both be getting tattoed by Ricardo. Great to see the good reviews on him. I will try and post a couple pics here once the work is done!


  5. EK

    On Jan 25th, I also got a tattoo from Naama and he’s awsome!! the shop is clean and air conditioned and my tattoo is healing just like my other one’s did. I will definately be going back. Thanks Naama

  6. Anonymous

    Im going to mexcio in may and i have been looking for a good studio for a while. This one by far sounds the best. Does anyone know if they have a website so i can contact them and book in? Or do they usual have space for walk in customers?

  7. Anonymous

    They did a fantastic job on my fore arm peice and shoulder peice. They also did a wrist peice on my sister. Would recommend and also go back for more. It was clean and professional. Thanks Manny,Ricardo,and Jason

    Erin From PG,BC,Canada

  8. Anonymous

    A group of us from BC Canada all got tattoos done here a couple weeks ago. We are all very pleased with Everything, very welcoming, personable, and the artists are unbelievably talented. All four of us would go back again and have them do more ink any day, thanks so much it. made our holiday

  9. Anonymous

    My husband and I are, admittedly a couple of those relatively conservative middle-aged people looking to knock a few things off the bucket list… our long desired tattoos being one of them. Mr 8-Ball came highly recommended to us while in Playa a couple of weeks ago- and we were not disappointed!

    William reproduced a picture of my husband’s Grandmother’s crucifix on his back- perfect! He captured every detail. And Ricardo gave me a tat that I can’t stop looking at! His attention to detail, ability to blend color and shading is a true gift!

    We visit Playa every year and now that our(adult)kids have seen our ink… they’re coming for theirs next year!

    We highly recommend Mr 8-Ball and send sincerest thanks to Ricardo, William and Jason!!

    W & T, Calgary AB

  10. Anonymous

    Never make the mistake of booking to get a tattoo with Jason’s shop Mr 8 Ball. His customer service is absolutely appauling. My boyfriend and I were on holiday in Mexico and decided to book tattoo’s with Jason, having seen previous reviews and spoken to Jason via email. I found Jason very pressurising when it came to the sizing of my design as he wanted to make it alot bigger than I wanted. Having sorted that problem we booked appointments and left a deposit of £20. Having passed another shop in Playa del carmen we went inside and noticed how visible cleaner this shop was compared to Mr 8 Ball. As soon as we walked in and told the tattooist what we wanted done he was drawing up some amazing designs. He gave us a price for both tattoo’s and after telling him the price we were quoted by Jason, this tattooist laughed at how expensive his prices were. We returned to Jason’s shop to ask for our deposit back, and after explaining that we wished to cancel our appointments he stormed off muttering that we were not going to get back our deposit.We questioned this as he had promised when booking that if we wished we could cancel and receive the deposit back. The designs he had drawn up were nothing special and especially not for the price he was charging. Anyway he started to go in a bit of a rage, so we decided to quickly leave the shop without the deposit.

    Please do not make the same mistake we did.

    I would definietly recommend Playa Ink or Screaming Ink.

    • Dottie Byrne

      Wow.I’m so sorry but I have to reply to your comment.My husband & I recently returned from Mexico & I have to say.YOU ARE VERY WRONG.We had tattoos done at Mr.8 Ball & ALL the guys there were awesome.The place was very clean & all tools used are sterilized.Ricardo is very talented & an amazing artist as well as an awesome guy.Jason is a little forward but a very good business man who will also give you a great deal.If you would have cancelled your appointments in a timely manner I’m pretty sure Jason would have returned your deposit.Not cool booking at another tattoo shop.Anyway when the guys take time to spend on you & your tattoo designs & than you cancel.Well lets just say.I hope they enjoyed their cold beer.They deserve it.Mr. 8 Ball is an awesome tattoo shop on 5th Ave. in Playa del Carmen & I highly recommend them. All the best Dottie from Canada.

  11. Anonymous

    Sorry guys, but i told u both, that, if u canceled in a reasonable time, id refund the 20 euro deposit-about 30 dollars us-but, my artists both took time designing your tattoos…. And i had already been told by the other tattoo artist in playa that u had booked somewhere else…… Which was not cool!!! So, i bought a couple six packs for my boys and apologized for having wasted their day on the designs! Good day!

  12. Sue Winn

    Hey there,

    just crashed over this page and wanna say THANKS for telling people your experiences at
    Mr. 8 Ball
    It helps me a lot cause I just used the contact on their webpage to get an appointment at the end of my vacation in playa.
    I hope to hear from Jason soon cause I will set this up before I fly….its gonna be my first one also and I don’t wanna go somewhere I don’t feel okay with….
    keeping you updated

    Greetings from Germany


  13. Sue Winn

    Update: My Email for an appointment was replied by Jason in a heartbeat, and Ricardo already starts working on my ideas which I send
    over from Germany….
    so for right now I have to say:
    There friendly as hell to strangers and even though we never saw each other and I payed no deposit, cause I’m trying to set everything from Germany they treat their customers like Kings….
    Whatever you read on the blog from ppl that got screwed over at Mr. 8 Ball is a big lie for me….probably these guys been running to each tattoo shop at Playa, let the artists work on their ideas and now wonder why ppl get angry and not pay back the deposit….wrong…..

    more updates in a while

    :o) Sue

  14. Anonymous

    Im going to mexcio next January and i would like to get a tattoo at Mr. 8 Ball. It sounds like this is the best one. Does anyone know if i have to book in? Or do they usual have space for walk in customers?

  15. Anonymous

    Hi everyone

    My sister and me are going to mexico next january. We’d like to get a tattoo. Do you know if Mr. 8 Ball has time for us if we don’t arrange an appointment?

  16. Sue Winn


    another update from Germany :O)

    Ricardo already worked out an amazing image for me and I was in love by first sight….
    Jason and his team truly care about serious customers and will do everything to make you feel welcome.

    Just saw a couple of new posts, so here is where you will get the answers :O)

    To get in touch see their Homepage:
    or catch Jason the store manager via Email:

    He will respond as quick as possible.
    I guess that walk ins are always welcome, but would check via Email real quick before you go down to PDC to make sure…

    Also depends on what you want I would say….

    just get in touch makes it easier for sure.

    _update follows_ just

  17. Sue Winn

    Hola again from Germany

    Me and the hubby finally had our tattoos done by the fabulous Ricardo, and what can I say: We loving them!!!!
    Everything worked out well and Ricardo is a amazing artist, working with his body and soul.
    Once mine is healed completely, I’ll add a link and post a pic.

    So if u plan having a tattoo in Playa, make sure to have a look at 8 Ball Tattoos and Ricardos work at least.

    We will come back for sure in 2014 and my first one wasn’t my last for sure (just hoping Ricardo is not moving nowhere :o) )


  18. Anonymous

    Hello people im ricardo thanck you for all your commentes,keep on doing the same please,we are doing our best for you all.Every thing is still the same,the only thing changed is our email adress,now thete is no reason to get in contac whith jason just go ahead and get in touch whit ricardo for better deal my email… my cel.9848760025

  19. Anonymous

    Hi people:we are not responsible for any tattoo that are not done at our studio beign mr.eight ball.jason does not work any more whit us he is using our name to get a comision for tallking you all to another place,please be aware of the risk youre taking with him.In Mexico its a crime using our tattoo shop name and can have serius problems whit the law

  20. Anonymous

    Eyyyyy….. si quereis haceros un tatuaje de puta madre pasaros por Mr. Eight Ball, casa de Ricardo & company. El tio es un tatuador de puta madre, lo mejor que encontramos en playa del carmen

  21. Anonymous

    Best place in Playa in our opinion is VIDA LOCA on 5th and 10th
    Do not bother going anywhere else! Clean, hygienic, safe, quiet and the men are genius artist with a healthy view on life and tattooing. Will do whatever it takes to satisfy their customers. Not a drug front like many other tatt places in Playa. Will be there again on our next trip in the year 2014 just left last week on Sept 9th 2013 and already planning next trip and to see Benny and Victor. Thank you gentlemen and will return! Heather Winnipeg MB Can

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