Tattoos in Mexico

Many people on vacation to the Riviera Maya feel the urge. It is a call from inside that whispers Do something crazyJust do it” “Now is the time“. After all, you are on vacation! so why not? The temptation to get tattoos in Mexico is real, and this might be your chance.

I know some people have their reservations. Some will opt out of getting a tattoo out of fear of infection or disease, shoddy workmanship or value for money. But those fears are unfounded: there are many excellent tattoo artists and parlours in the Riviera Maya and in Mexico. They keep all the health and sanitary measures, have a great style and offer a good value to price ratio. As a matter of fact, we have visited a tattoo parlor in Playa del Carmen to learn about their methods and techniques so we can show you how it is like. Find it below in this article.

What are the advantages of getting a Tattoo in Mexico?

  1. It is much more affordable than in the US, Canada or Europe. It is no mystery that dollars and euros are very valuable in Mexico. For that reason, for the price of a small tattoo in the US, you can get a medium-size one in Mexico. For the price of a somewhat large tattoo, you might get a full-arm! The same happens with quality (i.e. less price will give you more). Seize the opportunity!
  2. Mexico offers different styles than the ones you might be used to. The trends and styles of tattoo artists vary in every part of the World. You might be surprised with something you haven’t seen before, and it could be The One.
  3. This is the place to find specialists in Mayan tattoos and Aztec tattoos. If you want to get the Mayan Calendar, the Feather-Winged Snake, a Mayan God, Mayan numbers, a Nahua God or the Five Holy Suns; you won’t find a place like Mexico. Check some example pictures below.

An interview with the studio Mr. 8 Ball, in Playa del Carmen

Tattoos in Mexico, tattoo artist in the middle of the process of injecting ink

Here is our local insider peak at a tattoo studio, located in the Tourist Hot-Spot of Playa del Carmen: Mr. 8 Ball. We recently sat down with Mr. 8 Ball’s manager, Jason Fernandez, 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. Jason, a Californian expat established in PDC, pointed out the hygienic excellence of its studio. 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.

Challenging the stereotypes about tattoos in Mexico

When we told him about the stereotypes about Mexican tattoo artists, he commented how upsetting was that “People are scared that just 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 healthcare services as good as anything I ever saw back home. 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 next to Jason nodded in agreement. One of them is 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.

Skull hand tattoos - Paco - Mr 8 Ball - Tattoos in Mexico

Getting tattoos at Mr. 8 Ball

Jason also noted that most of his clients have been couples and middle-aged people finally deciding to get that tattoo they’ve always wanted. “We have a lot of repeating customers here. A client could get a tattoo one year and come next year for vacation and get another with a friend. This shows how important word-to-mouth is when it comes to getting a tattoo.

After chatting with Jason for a while, I also had time to speak with Ricardo, a tattoo artist just finishing up some artwork. 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.

Mr 8 Ball in Playa del Carmen - Tattoo Riviera Maya - Tattoos in Mexico

Mr. 8 Ball Tattoo Shop

Tattoo Studio
Facebook | Instagram
5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, between 2 street and Benito Juarez Avenue.

At the age of 14, Ricardo bought his first tattoo gun and practiced on his own legs to improve his skill. Since then you can find his artwork in places all around the World. I myself spotted once one of his most famous drawings in the window of a tattoo shop in Vancouver. At that time, I didn’t have any knowledge of Ricardo.

I then asked Ricardo what the longest tattoo he had ever completed in one sitting was. After the question, he 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.

Don’t miss: Designing Smart Tattoos To Help Monitor Your Health.

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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Some of our recommendations for tattoos in Mexico

We will be uploading more soon, in our new section of tattoo in All About Playa. Here is a primer 🙂


Tattoo Artist
Itinerant. Visits various cities within Mexico.

Style: Japanese, neon, glow in the dark, color, cute, kawaii

La van pira - Tattoos in Mexico City

La Vanpira

Tattoo Artist
Mexico City.

Style: Medieval, early Modern, blackwork, naturalistic, realistic, dark, mythical creatures, beasts

Rober Acuña el nacimiento de Venus de Boticelli

Rober Acuña

Tattoo Artist

Style: classic art, blackwork, degradé, nature, linework.

Facial distortions - Tattoos in Mexico City

Ale Abstracto | ACR

Tattoo Artist
Location unidentified.

Style: demons, face distortions, blackwork, degradé, nature, linework.

Tzinacan tattoo


Tattoo Artist at Mr. 8 Ball
Playa del Carmen.

Style: blackwork, nature, skulls, Mayan tattoo.

Tattos in Mexico - Sally Leal

Sally Leal

Tattoo Artist at Las Brujas Estudio
Monterrey / Mexico City

Style: Cute, anime, realistic, compositions, lettering, color, Japanese

To wrap this up

If you are looking for tattoos in Mexico, your intuition is guiding you to a good place! Mexico offers a great variety of tattoo artists and studios, for all budgets, needs and styles. Among their artists, you have unique styles such as Mayan and Aztec tattoos, but you will also find world-wide styles, such as flowers, geometry, classical art, anime or Japanese tattoo.

Picture of Eduardo from All About Playa

Eduardo from All About Playa

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