If you can tear yourself away from the beach long enough, you’ll find there are plenty of reasons to go shopping on your trip to Cancun. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to pick up a few souvenirs, be it t-shirts, mugs and fridge magnets, some beautiful handcrafted items, or maybe you just need an extra swimsuit or sunhat. And of course, if you’re in Cancun on one of its few rainy days throughout the year, the mall is a good place to spend it. When it comes to retail therapy, there are plenty of options in and around this popular beach destination. Here are our picks for the top shopping experiences in Cancun.
If your idea of an appropriate souvenir is a designer handbag, a pair of shoes, or some jewelry or cosmetics, Luxury Avenue is the best place to splurge. You’ll find designer brands galore at this mall including Burberry, Cartier, Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton and more. You’ll be able to shop without a care as they offer free valet parking and childcare for kids aged 3 to 11. Save your receipts for purchases over 1200 pesos and when you’re done shopping, head to the tax refund kiosk inside the mall to process your tourist tax refund. This mall is connected to Kukulkan Plaza, so if you get sticker shock, head next door where you’ll find more bargains.
Located on the Nichupte Lagoon side of the Cancun Hotel Zone, this mall is one of the most picturesque in Cancun. There are plenty of shops and boutiques, but even if you’re not interested in buying anything, make a stop here in the late afternoon to do some window shopping in a very pleasant atmosphere of canals and channels, see a movie at the theater, or be alternately amused and astonished by what you’ll see at the Cancun Wax Museum. At sunset, have a drink at one of the bars and restaurants lining the waterfront to enjoy the day’s end with a front row view.
When you're feeling confident in your haggling skills, head to Mercado 28 in downtown Cancun for the ultimate test. This is the largest and most visited open air market in the city and the majority of items for sale here are designed to appeal to tourists. You'll find handicrafts, silver jewelry, souvenirs, and plenty of vendors who will try their darndest to make a sale. After picking up as many bargains as you can carry, fuel up with some local Mexican fare at one of the many food stalls.
Conveniently located in the Hotel Zone, this mall has high end boutiques and handicraft shops in an attractive setting. It’s completely indoors, making it a good place to spend an afternoon if the weather is not ideal. Be sure to have a look at the amazing Maya-themed stained glass dome.near the main entrance. A performance depicting the return of the Maya god Kukulcan takes place every Saturday at 7 pm and at the end there’s a chance to take your photo with the performers in their spectacular costumes.
Mercado 23 is the oldest market in the city and the closest thing you’ll find to a traditional Mexican market in this tourist town. Located in downtown Cancun, this market is where locals come to stock up on a wide range of items from fruits and vegetables and meat, to home goods and stationery, and piñatas and party favors. This is also a place where you can have a meal, get your hair cut or find an herbal remedy for most any ailment. You’ll still find the usual souvenirs and handicrafts, and a bit more leeway for bargaining than other markets and shops. Bring cash (few of the establishments accept credit cards), and a willingness to practice some phrases in Spanish.
Coral Negro Flea Market
This flea market is located right near the “Party Zone,” where the majority of Cancun’s bars and nightclubs are located. If you need to bring a gift back for the person who’s watering your plants while you’re away and don’t want to go too far, you’ll surely find something appropriate here. While you're there, you can get your hair braided or even get a tattoo or piercing. If prices aren’t listed on items, you’re expected to haggle, so brush up on your numbers in Spanish beforehand!
Plaza las Americas
Though its location on Tulum Avenue is just off the Hotel Zone, chances are high that you'll be far outnumbered by locals at this mall. You'll likely find lots of stores you recognize and some you don't, but if you're looking for any basic items you forgot to pack such as clothing, beachwear, sunglasses or sunscreen, it's a good bet you'll find it here and as a bonus you can enjoy watching Cancunenses (Cancun locals) going about their shopping. You can also check out a movie at the Cinepolis movie theater or enjoy a meal at the food court.