Friday, February 18, 2011

Souvenir Hunting

When we were not eating, drinking, or chillaxing on the beach, we were shopping, window shopping.

If you are interested in souvenirs, pay attention.

IMG_3077
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:
IMG_2680
All the colors make one so happy.
IMG_2695
The coffee enthusiast in me found it necessary to snatch one of thes package.
IMG_2825
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.

IMG_2818
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.

IMG_2821
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.

IMG_2990

IMG_2991

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.

finepix 047

IMG_3002

IMG_2999
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 :)

IMG_2994
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.

17 comments:

  1. Those are some awesome pics. Vacation looks like a great sunny place and the shopping... Wow, gotta bring an extra suitcase just to bring back things. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The mall looks so big and I will be able to spend a whole day there if I have a chance to visit there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really have to curb my enthusiasm for souvenirs..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love that ceiling! How i wish i can visit Machu Pichu in this lifetime! I just realized you are from here too, in the past. May i know your birthplace, i might have been there lately!

    ReplyDelete
  5. the pros and cons of shopping!!! that's one of the least fave things to do of mine when traveling, except for food. hehe! but i'm sure i wouldn't pass the coffees! everything's so colourful! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. A fascinating trip through Cancun....thanks for taking us along with your fine pictures and very interesting narrative. I too would have found it impossible to pass up some of the local coffees. I miss those days we drove all across Mexico and back.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The most amazing shop with incredible and unusual very Frida Kahlo style handicrafts I found was in Merida. A feast to the eye.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hate shopping...but by reading your post and looking at your pictures... I actually wonder if I would not like shopping after all.

    ReplyDelete
  9. So nice and colorful, I'd like to make a nice tour there!
    Happy Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
  10. i love the last shot! for some reason, i've taken interest to ceiling photos for the past few weeks. hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Souvenir hunting can be fun but I do limit myself to something that won't break since I usually carry only a backpack.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like the ceiling, parang simbahan lng.:) and i like to shop for unique souvenirs like the ones featured above but most of the time, kulang sa budget. haha I dnt drink coffee pero pic#3 if I get to visit Cancun, I'd definitely be tempted to buy that, ganda ng packaging eh.

    ReplyDelete
  13. nice place to shop and walk around at! everything is colorful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. How were the Chichen Itza coffee beans?

    ReplyDelete
  15. wow ang ganda ng mga souvenier items very colorful. and the pink store ang cute hehehe. tas yung luxury avenue mura ang tinda ok ah. hehehe. o btw, anong lasa nung coffee?

    ReplyDelete
  16. grabe! it's a shop till you drop area! ^0^
    i think i could stay there forever!
    for awhile, i got confuse by the pesos.
    here i was, thinking it's in phil. peso.^0^

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete