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Bartering all day for authentic Mexican souvenirs and trinkets only to later see the ‘Made In China’ emblem stamped inside can be frustrating. Buying souvenirs can become a daunting task, especially under the scorching Mexican sun. Don’t be discouraged, however as Mexico has an eclectic array of beautiful treasures just waiting to be taken home. Distinguish the junk from the gems and leave with a piece that allows you to tell your own Cancún story.
Boho chic is perennially in style and handcrafted jewellery pieces add that extra flair to any outfit. Instead of buying imitation pieces from expensive stores that order them off a conveyor belt, hand-pick one that is unique and tells a story. Handmade bracelets and necklaces from Cancun have their own special qualities and no one piece is identical to another. Coral bracelets are crafted into colourful emblems, structures and shapes, each one with its own unique backstory. Take note, black coral is protected by the government due to its levels in endangerment, so steer clear of these pieces.
Walk through any of the open-air markets in Cancun and leather is in abundance. Satchels, handbags, cross-body bags, backpacks, laptop sleeves and even sandals are among the wares on offer; choices are endless, but choose with caution. Look for a leather grade that is soft to the touch and flexible. Most of the stiffer leather is the lowest grade of hide available. Not only is this a souvenir that will last over time, it will actually be put to good use. Compared to a giant margarita cup that flashes neon lights, leather goods are a trendier and more practical choice.
Leave room in the carry-on for that vibrant, floral pottery piece that will look fantastic on the kitchen table. Adorned with bright colours, positive images and even Mayan-influenced characters, the clay pottery from Cancún is a wonderful addition to any home’s décor. Pottery souvenirs range from vases, pots and plates to ceramic mugs. Instead of grabbing that ‘Someone who loves me went to Cancun and all I got was this lousy cup’ mug, track down a handmade ceramic mug with aztec emblems painted along the side.
Nothing is proof of an amazing vacation more than returning home dressed in the local garb. Huipil is a traditional blouse that can be spotted in the Mayan zones of the region; these pieces are usually decorated with blooming flowers. Stitched colours pop from the seams of these traditional pieces making a fashion statement all their own. When roaming through the rows of varying patterns of blouses, skirts and pants, ensure that the pieces are in fact locally sourced and created.
Although tequila is an absolutely amazing product of Mexico, you can probably find it at home. Grab instead a bottle of something that is a bit more unique to the area; Xtabentun is a liqueur that is actually made in the Yucatan region. Made from the honey of Mayan bees, this rum liqueur has a long-standing presence in the area and is representative of Cancún culture. As a beverage few have heard about, let alone tried for themselves, it makes for the perfect elusive souvenir.