When we were not eating, drinking, or chillaxing on the beach, we were shopping, window shopping.
If you are interested in souvenirs, pay attention.
In the area known as Hotel Zone where 90% of the hotels and resorts in Cancun are situated, there are shopping opportunities every other block, it seems.
We visited the Mexican Outlet because well it has an outlet in it's name. Who doesn't like outlet shopping? Mexican Outlet contains everything you ever wanted or needed - clothing, pottery, groceries minus the produce section, jewelry and more. One is tempted to stay for a long time here, looking, browsing, touching, smelling, feeling, and photographing. However, it is not outlet shopping as you know it. Price is a little high for this budget conscious consumer, but we managed to leave the store with bags in hand.
From Mexican Outlet:
All the colors make one so happy.
The coffee enthusiast in me found it necessary to snatch one of thes package.
Mercado 28 is the premier marketplace. When asked where to go for local culture and shopping, to a man they point to the direction of the Mercado 28.
This marketplace is accessible by bus. It is not located in the Hotel Zone, I believe it is located in what they refer to as Centro. Taxi is also an option, but the drivers do not take below 100 pesos from here to the Hotel Zone and vice versa. A private shuttle took us here and we took taxi back to our hotel. We were initially planning on taking the bus, but we waited a long time and none came and the dusk has fallen and I wasn't comfortable waiting in the dark so we took the taxi.
While the market has that unmistakable local flavor that any tourist wants to experience, the selection of goods is not any different from the ones you see in the stores in the Hotel Zone or for that matter the sidewalk vendors in the Hotel Zone. We spotted a few tourists, but other than that the market place was almost empty. And yet, the storekeepers are not amenable to haggling. Needless to say that my experience here has left a bad taste in my mouth.
We also stopped to eat in one of the restaurants inside. I wasn't happy. I knew the food wouldn't be good when they served us stale nachos. Oh well.
A few feet from this structure, I bought my mother's green Mayan dress, and a few more clothing. I chose the stall because 1)it's a grandma-grandkid manning the stall 2) they look like authentic Mayan, their faces and their clothing.
But I went into a haggling spree. I really did. When all is said and done, paid and wrapped, I heard her tell the grandkid as I was walking away how cheap I was!
We passed by the mall a few times, but didn't feel the need to stop and shop. No mall shopping for us. It has to be pulga (flea market) or the mercado.
However, one day after our Jungle Ray adventure we found we had time to kill. We walked along Kukulkan Blvd, shooting anything and everything we passed by. We thought walking along the Blvd would constitute our exercise for the day. It was after all hot and humid and we were sweating bullets.
And while we planned to walk the entire way back to our hotel - it was 10-15 minute bus ride from our hotel to the Jungle Ray adventure - the walk seemed to go on forever. So we stopped by the Mall to get some iced coffee for refreshment.
We welcomed the refreshing coolness of the airconditioning, settled into one of the comfy chairs in the coffee shop, watched a World Cup game, then decided to see what's selling on this mall. We stayed far away from names like Cartier, Dior, Louis Vitton, etc etc.
We found a small shop where they sell everything from cooked food in individual containers (for workers' lunch) to souvenir magnets. Got some magnets here and also another package of coffee.
It was a huge mall and the stores are fabulous. There is one that only sells flip flops, which I guess is a good business in a place like Cancun.
Anyway, we managed to enter this store that carries the items we were looking for.
I found this is the best store to get souvenirs. 1)Wider selection 2) Items are marked in pesos and dollars so no confusion 3) Prices are lower than anywhere I have seen, even the sidewalk stalls sell the item I bought here for 5 dollars more.
Who would have thought that the mall carries a lower price? I didn't.
Another thing worth noting here is that when we were there they were running a promo. For $50 purchase, you get a free Cancun tote bag. We did not know that promotion was going on. So when my husband was paying and the total came up to 47, the owner asked me if I wanted something else that's $3 dollars worth so that I can get the tote bag. I thought that was nice. I almost told her I wanted to take home one of everything in the store :)
The mall has this decorated glass dome ceiling. So pretty.
We concluded our mall trip by stopping at a Cigar shop where we managed to buy our next-door neighbor Cuban cigar.
In conclusion: My shopping experience has taught that in Cancun as in other places, it pays to comparison shop. Sidewalk vendors do not always carry the same items at a much lower price. Here, they have the highest price of the same item I was eyeing.