One place to shop for unique items is the central park in Cancun, Parque las Palapas. If you’re looking for traditional Mexican pottery, clothing or souvenir-type gifts, Plaza La Fiesta can’t be beat. For economical prices and a taste of local life, head to Market 28 (Mercado 28) in downtown Cancun. If you don’t want to leave the Hotel Zone you might prefer Coral Negro, an open-air market located in the Party Center.
Located across the street from Plaza Forum in the Party Center, this colorful flea market offers everything from the obligatory souvenir Cancun t-shirts, brightly painted pottery, silver jewelry, and traditional Mexican clothing to tattoos (both real and temporary), body piercing and adult videos. You are expected to haggle with the vendors. If that isn’t your style, stick with retail stores where there are fixed prices. Coral Negro can be a bit of an overload for the senses, but you’re on vacation so relax and have fun with it.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Coral Negro sells a variety of Mexican souvenirs and handicrafts and it’s located in the heart of the Hotel Zone.
Kristin’s expert tip: You are expected to haggle with vendors at Coral Negro. If that isn’t your style, stick with the big malls where you pay the price that is marked each item. Avoid this mall in the evenings. It often attracts some unsavory characters after dark.
Las Plazas Outlet is an open air discount mall located in downtown Cancun on Andres Quintana Roo Avenue. “Plaza Outlet” as locals refer to it, is home to a Cinemex movie theater, restaurants, a kids’ area and lots of discount shops. Have breakfast at Toks, see a movie, then grab a coffee from Starbucks and go shopping. Be sure to try authenic Mexican ice cream from La Michoacana. The best way to get to Las Plazas Outlet is to take the R1 or R2 bus from the Hotel Zone to the first stop downtown, and then grab a cab for 37 pesos (about 2 usd).
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Las Plaza Outlet is Cancun’s only discount mall and you can see a movie there as well.
Kristin’s expert tip: This is an open air mall, so it’s not the best for rainy days.
This quiet shopping mall is a lovely place to shop or dine. Plaza Kukulkan has clothing stores, jewelry stores and souvenir shops, as well as restaurants like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Tequila Grill, Taco Beef, Haagen-Dazs and Baskin Robbins. Harley-Davidson fans will enjoy shopping at the Harley-Davidson store. The plaza often holds special concerts and events, especially around the holidays, and every Saturday at 7 pm there is a really cool Mayan performance. Be sure to visit the Tequila Museum. More recent additions to the mall include a Forever 21 and Soriana supermarket. Luxury Avenue, located on the south end of the mall, boasts high-end boutiques like Coach, Burberry and Fendi.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Kukulcan Plaza is a great place to shop for gifts and it’s rarely busy.
Kristin’s expert tip: Check out the huge stained glass ceiling depicting Mayan history inside the main entrance.
Located in downtown Cancun on Tulum Avenue, Plaza Las Americas was once one of the only places for locals do their shopping. Clothing, sports, jewelry, shoe and department stores, a pet store, a nail salon, cafes and restaurants and even a supermarket can be found in Plaza Las Americas. The food court has been moved to Malecon Americas and new stores like Old Navy and H&M have appeared in its place. In the middle and at the end of every month, retailers set up tables outside their shops and fill them with sale merchandise. During the holidays musicians play on the weekends. The best way to get to Plaza Las Americas is to take the R1 or R2 bus to the first stop downtown and then walk or take a taxi to the mall.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Plaza Las Americas is home to large department stores and independent boutiques. It won’t be difficult to find a gift here.
Kristin’s expert tip: See at movie at Cineplis VIP. With fully reclining seats, delicious food like sushi and baguettes, and a full bar, it is without a doubt Cancun’s nicest movie theater.
Arguably Cancun’s prettiest and best mall, La Isla Shopping Village is located at km 12.5 in the Hotel Zone and is home to the Interactive Aquarium, a movie theater, outstanding restaurants, coffee shops, a drug store, upscale boutiques and souvenir shops. This open air mall has a charming canal running through it. There are quite a few waterfront restaurants, which are wonderful places to sit and watch the sunset. Local children can usually be found playing in the fountain close to Hooters, where spouts of water shoot out of the ground. This fountain is a great place to take vacation pictures.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: La Isla is a beautiful, open-air mall in the Hotel Zone that is home to hundreds of shops.
Kristin’s expert tip: Enjoy the sunset at one of the many restaurants facing the lagoon. Also, there is a nice movie theater in this mall, which is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Get out your credit cards. This upscale mall is attached to Plaza Kukulkan and like its counterpart in Los Cabos, is made up of exclusive high end shops such as Burberry, Coach, Tous, Mont Blanc, Swarovski, Cartier and Fendi. Take a break from shopping and have a cocktail or a tempting dessert at the bar. Complimentary child care is available for kids ages 3 to 11. The mall occasionally holds fashion and bridal shows and provides free valet parking to shoppers. There is also a tax free module where you can easily get a tax refund for all of your purchases over 1,200 mxn (about 62 usd). If Luxury Avenue is too rich for your blood try Kukulkan Plaza right next door.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Luxury Avenue is THE place to shop for designer merchanise in Cancun.
Kristin’s expert tip: Schedule time with a personal shopper to make the most of your luxury shopping spree.
This popular flea market is located in downtown Cancun. It’s actually called Mercado 28, but don’t worry, bus and taxi drivers will understand you if you call it Market 28. It is large and maze-like, filled with vendors trying to get you to enter their stores. It can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t used to such aggressive salespeople, but there are some bargains and unique Mexican handicrafts, silver jewelry, t-shirts, pottery and traditional Mexican clothing to be found. In the center of the market, there are many restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food and seafood at economical prices.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Market 28 sells Mexican handicrafts and souvenirs at the best price.
Kristin’s expert tip: If you dine at any of the restaurants in the market, ask for the menu in Spanish. Restaurants often charge higher prices on the English menus. This is not always the case, but it’s best to be aware of this unethical practice.
Located in downtown Cancun, Malecon Americas is connected to another very popular mall, Plaza Las Americas. Malecon Americas is partially indoors and partially open air. This mall features clothing, shoe and jewelry shops, as well as bookstores, furniture stores, a Liverpool home furnishings store, a children’s hair salon, a music store, Chapur (a large Mexican department store), and a huge food court upstairs in the indoor portion. There is also a Sky Zone, an arcade and numerous restaurants including Olive Garden, Starbucks, Johnny Rockets, Chili’s, McDonalds, Hooters and more. On weekends, especially on Sundays, the mall is packed with locals.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Malecon America and Plaza Las Americas have shops you won’t find in your local mall back home.
Kristin’s expert tip: Sky Zone is a good place to take the kids on a rainy day. It is on the third indoor level.
Located on the lagoon directly across the street from Cancun’s Convention Center at km 9 of the Hotel Zone, this expansive space of 20,000 square feet houses more than 100,000 different Mexican products including handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, tequila, leather goods, souvenirs, vanilla, spices, coffee, tequila and swimwear. There are Plaza La Fiesta stores in many of Cancun’s malls as well, including Plaza La Isla, Plaza Kulkucan, Plaza Flamingo, Marina Town Center and Forum by the Sea. Prices are reasonable, fixed and well-marked, so there’s no need to haggle. Plaza La Fiesta will wrap breakables for your journey home.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: If you’re looking for a Mexican-themed gift, Plaza La Fiesta is a convenient place to shop.
Kristin’s expert tip: If you don’t like to haggle, this air-conditioned store is a great place to shop for your souvenirs.
Marina Town Center is Cancun’s newest shopping hub. It is located in the Hotel Zone very close to downtown in the area called Puerto Cancun. This open-air mall and marina is home to a Cinepolis movie theater, including an IMAX theater, a food court, a nail salon, a barber shop, a gym and of course shops and boutiques, including many that are new to Cancun like Best Buy, Zara Home and H&M. Pets are allowed but they must be registered in the administration office. Most stores are open from 11 am to 11 pm. It is easy to get to Marina Town Center from anywhere in the Hotel Zone. Just take the bus north (the ocean side of the street) and tell the driver you want to go to Marina Town Center which is the last stop before downtown.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Marina Town Center is Cancun’s newest mall and is a great place to spend the afternoon shopping and dining.
Kristin’s expert tip: Don’t visit on Sunday afternoon when the mall and movie theater will be filled with locals who have the day off.