Souvenirs from the Yucatan
Maybe we shouldn't use the word souvenir, a word that has such negative connotations and in many cases makes many people think of cheap trinkets. So, let's call them gifts, local products, or Yucatecan things. The word in Spanish for souvenir is recuerdo - reminder.
In Mérida and the Yucatán, you will find many things that are unique to the area and others from other parts of Mexico. Price ranges for reminders vary from $5 pesos (for pens, for example) to hundreds of dollars (for gold or art.) Let's begin with things that are unique to the Yucatán. These include finely exquisite gold or silver filigree jewelry, the traditional Yucatecan hammock, honey, X-tabentun anise and honey liqueur, artwork, sculpture, clay replicas of Mayan gods, chili habanero sauce, wood carvings of Mayan gods, Ticul pottery, embroidered huipiles or ternos (native dresses), and the traditionally famous Yucatecan guayabera shirt.
Things from other areas of Mexico that can be found here include vanilla, coffee, serapes, folk art, masks, Day of the Dead curios, Talavera ceramics, Oaxaca black pottery, miniatures, embroidered clothing, silver from Taxco, pewter, and Mexican blown glass, to name a few.
100% Mexico in the Hotel Casa San Angel offers a fine selection of handcrafts, folk art and some clothing. Also MedioMundo Gift Shop at MedioMundo Hotel has articles from all over Mexico.
The Lucas de Galvez market is always a great place to find spices that are fun to cook with when you get home. Nowadays, you will also find a cute presentation of chile habanero – three or four bottles in a little basket with a small piece of serape material, making it the perfect Mexican gift. In the market, on the second floor you will find the artisans/handcraft section and Curios Lucy made up of many stalls, where they have a bit of everything. Here it is very important to bargain - an accepted part of being in the market.
For finer handcrafts and gifts in an air-conditioned environment, check out Plaza Americana in the downstairs lobby of the Hotel Fiesta Americana. Here you will find silver and other jewelry, clothing (both embroidered and "regular"), Yucatecan food goods (vanilla, achiote, chile sauces, liqueurs, etc.), Talavera ceramic plates, Mexican blown glassware, chaskis, t-shirts, etc.
A Yucatecan guayabera shirt or blouse is always a wonderful, useful item. While sold in the markets and on the streets, we highly recommend you check out Guayaberas Jack or Presuel. At either of these shops, you will receive a quality product. You don't want to buy a cheap guayabera.
While at the beach and on Calle 62 between 59 and 61 in Mérida, you will find the women and girls from the Mexican state of Chiapas. They stand out in their traditional wear which is a floor length black wool skirt and a satin blouse (that look so hot in our climate), carrying a large bundle over their backs where they carry a wide variety of merchandise that include cotton, hand embroidered blouses, embroidered purses that can be used as camera cases or eye glass cases, belts, ankle or wrist bands, and eye glass chains (which aren't chains but colorful yarns.) It is OK and expected to barter with these vendors.
Some of the stores hire “hawkers” to stand on the street and encourage you to enter their stores; they receive a commission for this. It only becomes a problem when they stand outside one of their competitors’ businesses and tell you NOT to enter because of high prices, low quality, etc. Don’t let them deter you from shopping wherever you like!
Remember, you get what you pay for. If something seems so incredibly cheap, it very well could be. Buying from street vendors can be iffy in that they can be here today and gone tomorrow. Happy shopping and remember – when you shop you are helping the Yucatecan economy!
- Alma Mexicana: Calle 54 x 55, Centro.
- Artesanaria: Calle 60 x 55, Centro.
- 100% Mexico: Remate Paseo de Montejo y Calle 49
- Casa de las Artesanías: Calle 63 entre 64 y 66 , Centro.
- Casa de los Artesanos: Calle 60 entre 59 y 61 , Centro.
- Guayaberas Jack: Calle 59 entre 60 y 62 , Centro.
- Guayaberas Presuel: Calle 66 entre 47 y 49 , Centro.
- Hecho a Mano: Izamal
- MedioMundo: Calle 55 entre 64 y 66 , Centro.
- Plaza Americana: Hotel Fiesta Americana, Paseo de Montejo y Calle 60