CANCUN SHOPPING

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Due to the size of the Cancun Hotel Zone, the shopping experience has been spread out in the form of large malls that occur every few miles along the strip. No matter where you might be staying in the Hotel Zone, shopping is not that far away! Most of these malls are quite trendy [Gucci, Bally, Cartier, Pelletier-Piaget, Ralph Lauren, Versace etc.] and have a broad variety of merchandise. Several host up-scale shops where you will find the latest European fashions, expensive perfumes and lots of jewelry.  A large number of stores also sell Mexican arts and crafts, as well as many souvenirs.
The malls along the Hotel Zone could almost be classified as tourist attractions; they all try to outdo each other with events and entertainment! Each mall will have at least one hot dance club and in many cases the restaurants are the main attractions.
Almost every hotel or resort has at least one convenience store and a boutique selling local art and crafts. Many hotels also sell tequila and cigars.
Travelling into the city of Cancun you will find it just like any other city, filled with stores catering to the people who live there.

HOTEL ZONE SHOPPING MALLS

NameAddressPhone
La Isla Shopping VillageBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 12.5.(998) 883-5025
Flamingo PlazaBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 11.5.(998) 883-2855
Forum-by-the-SeaBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 9.5.(998) 883-4425
Kukulcan PlazaBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 13(998) 885-2200
Plaza CaracolBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 8.5.(998) 883-2961
Plaza MayafairBlvd. Kukulcan, Km 8.5.(998) 883-2801
Malls are typically open daily from 10am to 10pm
Malls also provide security, public washrooms, ATMs, money exchanges, public telephones, parking, taxi-stands and pharmacies. Malls are wheelchair-friendly.
  • La Isla Shopping Village
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 12.5
    La Isla shopping village is a charming shopping mall with a series of canals and small bridges designed to give the place the look and feel of Venice. There are loads of trendy shops, movie theaters, a disco, restaurants, and feature attractions like a marina and the Interactive Aquarium. Great place to spend an afternoon shopping! Views of the lagoon behind.
  • Flamingo Plaza
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 11.5 Across from the Flamingo Hotel
    Medium-sized mall good for practical necessities like beach gear, souvenirs, art & crafts and general merchandise. Restaurants such as Planet Hollywood and Pat O’ Brien’s are in the mall and Outback and Bubba Gump are right next door.
  • Forum-by-the-Sea
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 9.5
    Forum-by-the-Sea is more of an entertainment complex than a shopping mall. There are a few stores scattered throughout this multi level plaza but the focus is more on the Hardrock Cafe and the Rainforest Cafe, which reside there.
  • Kukulcan Plaza
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 13
    Kukulcan Plaza is a large shopping complex boasting over 300 shops, restaurants, movie theaters and a bowling ally. You can find everything here from electronics to beach gear. A fun mall to visit.
  • Plaza Caracol
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 8.5
    Plaza Caracol is an up-scale mall featuring numerous galleries, and stores selling jewelry, perfumes and imported designer clothing and accessories.
  • Plaza Mayafair
    Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 8.5
    Plaza Mayafair was Cancun’s first shopping mall in the hotel zone. It is a smaller open-air mall decorated in a Mayan/rainforest motif. The mall has nightly Mayan dance and music shows.

DOWNTOWN CANCUN

NameAddressPhone
Plaza las AmericasAv. Tulum, SM 4 and 9.(998) 887-5893

CANCUN OPEN-AIR MARKETS

Cancun Flea Market
Every Mayan city and village has at least one open-air market. These are colorful flea-market-type venues, typically selling locally made items. The further into Mayan territory you go the more “Mayan” they become, culminating in the spectacular market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. Of course the markets in Cancun are not as rich in cultural flavor as their southern cousins, but they are a fun, lively place to go to get great deals on arts and crafts, practical merchandise and souvenirs.
There are three big open-air markets [called Mercados], which are all located within walking distance of each other in the downtown area [El Centro]. Here you will find an assortment of goods including silver, jewelry, clothing, rugs and blankets, Mexican pottery, leather, carved wood, hammocks, sombreros, etc.
Vendors in the market are more likely to negotiate prices as many vendors in the malls are now fixing their prices in stone.
  • Mercado 28
    Lots of vendors selling inexpensive jewelry, sunglasses, clay pottery, Mayan artifacts [copies], chess-sets etc. etc.. There are Mexican restaurants, beauty salons, a pharmacy and an upscale section called Plaza Bonita that features clothing boutiques, art galleries, cafes and ice cream stores.
  • Mercado 23
    This is more of a local market catering to the local economy. This is where you can buy fresh vegetables and produce, flowers, meat, household products and general merchandise.
  • Ki Huic Market
    Like Mercado 28 but not as big. Good place to go for the restaurants.
    Markets are located north of the ADO bus terminal in downtown El Centro Cancun.
  • Mercado Coral Negro – Hotel Zone
    Mercado Coral Negro is in the middle of the hotel-zone strip. Depending where you stay in Cancun you only have to ask any hotel staff in the lobby which direction to go to find the market. You can take the bus [6 pesos] or take a taxi.
Much of what you will find in the markets you will also see in the shopping malls. But in the markets you have the ability to bargain or negotiate your price (which appeals to some tourists and frightens others). Be forewarned:  many of the market sellers are aggressive and will pressure you into a purchase or make it very difficult to leave. In being firm, you may feel like you’re being rude.
You just have to learn how to play the game to come out ahead. The best way to get a good deal is to be nice to the vendor. It is all a game to them. Most work 6 days a week for little money. The majority of vendors you meet do not own the stall or the merchandise they are selling.
These are our favorite vendor lines:
  • Hola, Senor, you are my final hope!
  • Amegos, come in and let me rip you off!
  • Hola Senor, we have exactly what you are looking for!
  • You say, “just looking”, they say, “just selling”.
  • Broken English spoken here perfectly!
  • Everything almost 100% off!

PESOS OR USD

Use pesos at every opportunity. You can use USD if you have to, but you’ll be losing money on the exchange.
The best recommendation I can give is to use a secure ATM in a bank location or in your hotel if possible, not a free-standing machine off a public walkway. Your bank at home will give you as close to the best exchange rate possible where you can maximize your value of dollar to peso. This also applies to any other currency as well.
Let’s say you’re at a restaurant and you pay for a meal in USD (which they will gladly accept). The restaurant will have its own exchange rate which may be 14 to 1 USD. Paying in pesos is definitely the way to go!
Another point to keep in mind:  change is always given in pesos, so you will inevitably end up having pesos in your pocket.  If you aren’t American you will then have pesos plus USD and have to deal with, not one foreign currency, but two! Stick to pesos and you only have to make one conversion.
For more shopping information see:
The Art of Haggling in Cancun
[Includes tips on how to get the best deals.]

WHERE DOES IT ALL COME

 FROM?

Most of what you see at the malls and markets is made in small villages around Mexico. A village will excel in producing a certain item like hats for example and they will become renown for their hat making abilities over time. Many artisans also work at home and the whole family pitches in to produce the goods.
Believe it or not many goods are now imported into Mexico from China, Guatemala, Indonesia, etc. and sold along side of Mexican goods.
For information on Mayan Arts & Crafts see:
For information on buying jewelry see: Jewelry Stores

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