Cozumel Mexico

 

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Finding the good deals in Cozumel, Mexico

Once you've been to Cozumel, it should come as no surprise that many of Cozumel's visitors are here mainly to SHOP. We offer incredible original art, beautiful handicrafts, stylish clothing, and of course lots of silver jewelry! This is your guide to find what you're looking for.

 

The shopping scene in Cozumel generally takes place in small independently-owned stores. Downtown (‘El Centro’) Cozumel is the primary center of commerce. Unique silver jewelry and pottery made from local artists are popular items for tourists to take home. After spending a little time here you’ll find that each store and vendor has a unique variety of novel gifts.

 

 

SILVER and JEWELRY: You’ll find an abundance of silver here…Mexico is a leading producer of ‘plata’ and the beautiful jewelry that can be made from this wonderful metal, so you’ll find lots of bargains to be had. True silver is stamped “.925”, but beware that much of the ‘silver’ sold on the beach is actually ‘alpaca’, a lower-quality silver metal, even though it may have been stamped “.925”. This doesn’t mean you won’t find beautiful rings, bracelets, and necklaces from the beach vendors…they just might not last as long and will require more frequent polishing to maintain their shine.

 

The highest quality silver jewelry is sold in the stores. Prices typically are not marked, but instead based on the weight of the piece. Your prospective selection will be placed on an electronic scale, and the weight multiplied by the store’s price-per-gram. Most stores will allow a little ‘wiggle room’ for negotiation, especially if you are buying multiple items or a single large piece. Native gemstones included in jewelry typically include jade and polished coral or onyx. You’ll find silver stores all over town.

 

THE FLEA MARKET: Although Cozumel is geared for tourists who embark from their cruise ships daily, once you get off the main shopping street and head a couple of blocks in, you find everything alot cheaper and a lot more "Mexican". Most of the shop owners speak English but you may encounter a few who doesn't understand what you want. Remember to brush up on your "bargaining" skills. And don't let the over zealous shopkeepers bother you--it's all part of your Mexican experience! Cozumel's Flea Market is a must if you want to find those great souveniers.

 

CLOTHING, LEATHER, SANDALS: Cozumel will offer you a wide variety of clothing options for sale. Of course there are lots of silly T-shirts available nearly everywhere, but higher forms of fashion are appreciated here too. Notable: Very popular is ‘manta’, a light and airy cotton fabric that makes perfect warm-climate clothing. Mexico is famous for hand-worked leather goods, and Cozumel is no exception. You’ll find leather belts, bags, sandals, and clothing from jackets to pants to hats to dresses everywhere.

 

TALAVERA POTTERY: The beautiful multi-colored pottery you may know as ‘Mexican style’ is actually called Talavera, and Cozumel has plenty of it. From flower pots to dinnerware, vases to platters, figurines, and even sinks and toilets…you’ll see it all over town. Look for pieces marked ‘lead-free’ on the back of bottom to insure that’s what you’re getting. Talavera is pretty sturdy stuff…still, you want to pack it carefully to get it home in one piece, and wash it carefully once you arrive. Much of the Talavera in Cozumel comes from Guadalajara, Puebla, or the little town of Delores Hidalgo.

 

CIGARS: While you can enjoy genuine Cuban cigars here (Mexico is still on friendly terms with Cuba), don’t discount those that originate here! Mexico has fine tabacco producing regions as well, and you can find fine cigars hand-rolled to your specifications here. You’ll find Cuban cigars as well, but if you’re a resident of the USA (or changing planes in the USA on your way back home), these are forbidden by outdated regulations, and will be confiscated by U.S. customs, and possibly incur you a hefty fine if found in your luggage. Canadian and citizens of other countries have little to worry about as long as their flight plans do not include a stop on U.S. soil.

 

TEQUILA: Tequila is Mexico’s gift to the world of the distilled-spirits drinker, and Cozumel has plenty of opportunities for enjoying this classic Mexican liquor which is distilled in a small part of the Mexican mainland. In Cozumel you can sample the best of this magical liquor at a variety of stores around town, and of course in every bar, restaurant, cantina, and club. (For the full story on Tequila, see “Tequila!” on CozumelSource.com)

 

HOME DECORATIONS: Cozumel is a dream for those looking for unique home furnishings, art, and accents. You’ll find every type of home furnishing and decoration imaginable, from small accent pieces to entire furniture sets.

 

GLASSWARE: Everybody loves the fabulous blue-rimmed glassware famous in Mexico, but how do you get it home? Not to worry, the vendors of this beautiful Mexican art are also experts at packing so you’ll get it home all in one piece.

 

THE MERCHANDISE COMES TO YOU ON THE BEACH! When you’re on the beach, all manner of merchandise will come to you in the form of the Cozumel beach vendor. These wandering salesmen and women will offer you wood carvings, jewelry, blankets, shirts and wraps, lace, temporary tattoos, wind chimes, hair braiding, and more. It’s a great way to do business!: You with your cold drink in your hand, and the vendor doing his best to convince you why you need the particular item in question. Thus begins the bargaining game!

 

Here’s how it works: You start admiring an object, and the vendor asks you if you like it. You ask how much it costs, and he replies that it is 200 pesos. At this point you tell him that this is far too much money, and he replies by explaining about the fine quality of the item, how many days it took the craftsman to create this piece of art, and then asks how much you want to pay. You suggest that you might like to take it home with you if it were 75 pesos. He chuckles and tells you that this is simply not possible, as he has a wife and children to feed, but allows that he could bring his price down to 180 pesos. You in turn offer to pay 100 pesos, and on and on.

 

This can, if you like, go on for quite some time, until you reach a price at which you can both agree. Or, you can simply put the item back in his hands at any time and say that it’s just more than you can afford. Be aware that the vendor may agree finally to sell it to you at your last-offered price (which you are now rather obligated to accept), but to “please don’t tell anybody else”. This can be a way for both of you to save face and complete the transaction. This is the way business is and has been done in Mexico for years and years, and how friends are made as well!

 

Bartering should never be insulting. For the Mexican it is part of life and business; if it is not fun for you, stick to the stores with price tags on their merchandise. To insult someone's merchandise is down-right rude, and will only make you, and your fellow countrymen, look bad.

When you are not in the mood to do business, simply waggle your finger or shake your head at passing vendors when they ask for your interest…they will politely nod and move on.


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