In the Riviera Maya, there are plenty of places to hunt out a bargain or two. From cloth paintings to coral jewelry, semi-precious stones to delicate wood carvings, you are bound to return home with lots of little treasures to remind you of your time spent in the Riviera Maya. As well as local markets, however, there are also plenty of shopping malls selling designer and luxury brands to keep the big spenders at bay.
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Playa del Carmen
Known as the Mayan Riviera’s version of New York’s 5th Avenue, Quinta Avenida is the main shopping road in Playa del Carmen. Here you’ll find hundreds of restaurants, bars, shops and clubs jostling along the cobblestoned street. On the outskirts of the city, you will also uncover two large shopping malls filled with designer labels and luxury brands.
Tulum is filled with local markets ideal for shopping for local souvenirs. Found just before the entrance of the archaeological, market stalls filled with colourful fabrics, handcrafted pottery and local paintings. To look for more authentic finds in the area, veer off the main road and explore the back streets for more traditional offerings.
On the main strip of Cozumel, where most of the cruise ships dock, you’ll discover countless souvenir shops. Delve a little deeper into the heart of Cozumel, however, and you’ll uncover the real treasures you’ll want to buy. Selling everything from silver jewellery to hammocks, Mexican handmade crafts to local tequila, there is plenty fill your suitcase with. Make your way over to Cinco Soles for some of the best Mexican crafts in the area. Bargaining is accepted and purchases can be shipped if necessary.
Visit the Mayan Handicraft Center in Puerto Morelos for locally made handicrafts or peruse through the metal and clay sculptures, panama hats, black coral and Mayan stone at Artisolo. This modest marketplace is another great spot to purchase a hammock to take that laidback vibe of the Riviera Maya home with you. There is also a well-known bookshop in Puerto Morelos, where you can buy brand new or trade second-hand books; another must-visit.
While there are not many shops in Akumal, you will discover a small handful of souvenir shops selling ornate wood carvings, semi-precious stone jewellery, masks and cloth paintings. The Galeria Lamanai, with its thatched roof and relaxed atmosphere is one of the best places to uncover some unique local treasures.
Riviera Maya shopping tips
Bartering is accepted only in the less formal shops and markets of the Yucatan Peninsula. If you are looking to buy Cuban cigars, make sure they are genuine; there are a lot of inauthentic cigar sellers floating around. Many of the markets will accept cash only and some smaller shops may offer a small discount for cash buyers.