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Shopping in Mexico

A Mexican visit is not complete till you bring back some of the delightful souvenirs of the country. Carved wooden animals, silver jewelry, weaves and the most unusual ceramics and pottery are just waiting to be picked up.

Mexican markets are a kaleidoscope of colour. Mexican artists and craftspeople are famous for their brilliant artistry and inventiveness. Craft in Mexico is a vivid culmination of ancient Indian culture. The vibrant use of colour, material and traditional techniques results in some of the most amazing handicrafts in the world. Each region in Mexico is famous for a particular kind of craft.

Mexico boasts of the best quality leather products such as shoes, bags and belts at low prices. Mexico is the world’s largest producer of silver and you can pick up beautiful silver jewelry here. Watch out for products stamped with the “.925” assurance of purity. Traditional Indian weaves are brought to you in the form of hand-woven products and textiles – scarves, shawls, dresses, blankets, baskets and reed-mats.

Mexico’s ceramic crafts are delightfully unique and artistic. There is quite a variety, from trinkets and masks to the finest artwork of renowned artists like Sergio Bustamante. Oaxaca is famous for its woodwork, especially for the carved animals called alebrijes which make wonderful souvenirs. Carved masks, furniture, guitars and lacquered products are also popular. Hand-painted pottery is available in some exotic and imaginative designs, notably the green and black pottery of Oaxaca.

You can shop for designer labels in clothes at most beach resorts. European and Mexican labels such as Valentino, Guess, ACA JOE and Polo are available.

Your most enduring memory of shopping in Mexico will certainly be of market day. This is a fascinating, festive experience. The array is bewildering, from leather, pottery, weaving, ceramics, silver, woodwork and textiles. The markets take place both indoors and outdoors. Traders and artisans vend their wares in a frenzied medley, calling out to you for “bargains”. You will be safest dealing with reputed merchants, especially if you are looking for a quality purchase.

Bargaining is admissible in the open-air markets and with local vendors at beach resorts. But it is considered inappropriate in resort shops and stores. A 10% Value Added Tax is normally added to the price.

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