Shopping in Cancun is one of our favourite pastimes! When hunting for the perfect souvenir for the mailman or Aunt Sue, you'll have options galore. Meet the artists in the markets for truly unique gifts or invest in diamonds and pearls at the upscale jewelry stores. Mexican blankets, sombreros and of course t-shirts and hats are some of the most popular souvenirs, plus tequila, vanilla, silver jewelry and handmade ceramics and pottery.
The traditional Mexican market is a lively and vibrant place, full of color, aromas and an energetic vibe. Artists gather to sell their wares, farmers bring their freshest produce and there is always something tasty cooking.
There are two main markets in downtown Cancun, Market 23 and Market 28. Market 23 is a real treat if you are looking for a "local" experience, fewer artisans, more butchers and farmers and food stands. Here you will also find handmade piñatas and all you need to fill them with goodies.
Market 28 is more of an artists' fair, a maze of booths with everything from hand-embroidered dresses to the finest leather goods, in addition to the typical t-shirts and keychains. Be sure to leave time for lunch, the restaurants in the market have a long tradition of serving authentic Mexican meals and seafood for really great prices.
The Coral Negro Market is located in the party center of the hotel zone and will have the typical souvenirs and art of the region. It is acceptable to bargain with the vendors in the market, it's part of the fun!
Cancun is a modern and thriving metropolis and is home to several cosmopolitan shopping centers with large department stores, clothing chains, movie theaters and food courts. In downtown Cancun visitors will enjoy Plaza las Americas, easy to reach from the hotels with a wide variety of stores (and even a trampoline park inside!) In the hotel zone, shoppers will delight in Plaza la Isla, an outdoor mall on the Nichupte Lagoon with a river running through it, fountains to frolic in and the very best sunset views in town. High-end shoppers will discover paradise at Plaza Kukulkan's Luxury Avenue, with world-renowned brands such as Bulgari, Cartier, and Burberry, all you need to spoil yourself rotten.
As we are not always shopping for diamonds, we do need our good ole regular supermarkets for the basics. Stock up on snacks and drinks for your hotel room, floaties and water toys for the kids, diapers, deodorant, sunblock and whatever else you may need or have forgotten to pack. In the hotel zone you'll find two major supermarkets for your convenience, the Chedraui (pronounced "sha-drow-ee") Selecto near the party center and Soriana Super in Plaza Kukulkan. The Walmart downtown is easily accessible by bus or taxi and has everything you could possibly need.
When shopping in Mexico it's important to keep in mind that prices will be posted in pesos, it's a great idea to have a currency app set up on your phone to do a quick conversion on the fly. It's best to pay in pesos if using cash, it will simplify the purchase for the vendor and you will know that you got the best exchange rate when you made the conversion and you'll always receive your change in pesos.