Editor's Choice: 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.
Located between Juarez and 2nd on 5th Avenue
Phone:  984 132 8270

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