Best Shops in Playa del Carmen - All you need to know
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If you’re visiting Mexico, make sure to go shopping in Playa del Carmen to find some unique local souvenirs. Shopping is always a must-do activity for me when I’m exploring a new place. Whether it’s for food, gifts, or clothes, shopping lets you discover a city’s unique styles and trends. I love the feeling of coming back from a trip and showing off my beautiful purchases from abroad. It’s a great conversation starter and a lovely way to remember my amazing trip.
Playa del Carmen is a lively beach town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast famous for its stunning white sand beaches and blue waters, as well as its fantastic shopping. You can find all kinds of stores, from chic boutiques and designer stores to local markets and hidden gems. Whether you’re in search of souvenirs, handcrafted goods, jewelry, or apparel, Playa del Carmen has something for everyone.
In this article, you’ll find a helpful guide to the top shopping destinations in Playa del Carmen – from small markets to high-end malls. Before we dive into the details, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind.
When shopping at Playa del Carmen’s market, it’s crucial to have Pesos, the local currency. Some vendors may accept US Dollars, but it’s not guaranteed and may result in unfavorable exchange rates. Check out our advice on obtaining and using cash in Mexico before your trip. Also, keep in mind that paying in Dollars will never give you the most bang for your buck while in Mexico or traveling in general.
You can pay with debit or credit cards at shopping malls, grocery stores, and retail shops. For those traveling from the US, we have a guide to the best bank for international travelers available here. This bank does not have international transaction fees and offers cashback for using ATMs worldwide.
When shopping at the markets on 5th avenue, you may be given a quote in US Dollars. To know the exact price you will pay, you can inquire about the amount in Pesos. However, in Playa del Carmen, bargaining may not be acceptable to some vendors unlike in Asian markets. Thus, some sellers might get offended if you ask for a discount. But if you really like an item but think it’s too expensive, you can ask the vendor if that’s their best price. This will help you know if there is any possibility of price negotiation.
It’s important to note that many vendors in the area will be selling identical items, so don’t hesitate to explore different blocks to find the best deals and highest quality souvenirs. When browsing stores with delicate items, please be extremely careful. It’s crucial to remember that all of the souvenir shops on 5th Avenue have “you break it, you buy it” policies. Accidentally damaging a turtle statue or any other fragile item could result in an unexpected expense during your trip.
Some of the most Popular Souvenirs from Playa del Carmen:
Ceramic: Explore the hand-painted items showcasing their charm that can enhance the beauty of your home. Don’t miss out on the sinks!
Alcohol: Alcohol can be purchased between 10 am and 11 pm from Monday to Saturday, and between 10 am and 2 pm on Sundays.
Leather Goods: A variety of footwear options including boots and sandals, as well as handbags.
Embroidery: If you are searching for embroidered items, you’ll discover numerous choices. The dresses for little girls are particularly charming.
Blankets: Select from the colorful blankets that can be used for a picnic at home or to add a pop of color to a room.
If you’re in Playa del Carmen, you should know about the shopping event called Buen Fin. It’s like Mexico’s version of Black Friday and happens in the middle of November, usually around Nov 24th, and lasts throughout the weekend. Many stores even start their sales during the week leading up to the event. You can find amazing discounts on big-ticket items during this time, making it the perfect time to purchase them if you’re visiting Playa del Carmen at this time of the year.
Where to go Shopping in Playa del Carmen
To locate what you need, you should start your search based on your desired product. Personally, I believe that La Quinta Avenue in Playa del Carmen is the best shopping destination. It’s a lengthy pedestrian street that’s brimming with stores and sellers from various styles and price ranges. Numerous small markets are found in this area.
There are also two malls located on La Quinta Avenue:
There are two other malls, Centro Maya and Plaza Las Americas, which are located further away from downtown. If you need to furnish your home or restock your fridge, you can find various stores such as Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Liverpool, Sears, and even Walmart to fulfil your day-to-day needs.
This part of Mexico may not seem as foreign as you think. Additionally, online stores managed through WhatsApp and Instagram are very popular in Playa del Carmen as many products are handmade or imported from other places. This enables sellers to run their businesses without the need for a physical storefront.
Although I have found some great clothing from local vendors, it can be difficult to discover them because information about their products is mainly spread by word of mouth. In Playa del Carmen’s retail stores, the selection of styles can be limited, especially for high-quality yoga and gym wear. However, online vendors provide a vast range of excellent items that may not be available in Playa del Carmen’s shops.
Further down in this article, I will provide you with details about the excellent thrift shopping options in Playa del Carmen.
One of the liveliest and most famous shopping destinations in Playa del Carmen is La Quinta Avenue, also known as “Fifth” Avenue in English. It offers a wide range of products and is a fun experience. Being in the center of town, you’re likely to walk down it many times during your trip for breakfast, top restaurants, or on your way to a beach club.
La Quinta has everything from souvenirs and knick-knacks to swimwear, hats, pottery, jewelry, artwork, tee shirts, and even tequila.There are several retail stores along the street where you can find popular brands like Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, Miniso, Steve Madden, Zingara, Pandora, Rayban and Sunglass Hut. In addition, there are also local stores selling handmade clothing, cigars, craft tequila, mezcal, sunglasses, and jewelry. These are great places to shop for souvenirs in Playa del Carmen.
Paseo Del Carmen
Paseo Del Carmen is a shopping mall in Playa del Carmen located at the south end of La Quinta Avenue. It is an open-air mall where you can find many popular brand-name stores such as Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Pull and Bear, Berksha, Rip Curl, Oakley, Guess, and more. The mall also features a Starbucks, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, a sushi restaurant, and a bar in the center where you can grab some refreshments and snacks while you shop. It’s the perfect place to take a break and get some energy before continuing your shopping in Playa del Carmen.
The mall is open from 7 am to 11 pm, but it’s possible that some stores have different hours. When shopping in Playa del Carmen, you can choose between an air conditioned shopping mall or a local market.
Quinta Alegria is a shopping mall in Playa del Carmen that can be found at the intersection of La Quinta Avenue and Constituyentes. It’s an open-air mall that houses several known brand stores like American Eagle, Mac Cosmetics, iShop, Pandora, Forever 21, Zingara, Marti Sports, and other stores. I visit this mall regularly.
You can find a Starbucks, pharmacy, Häagen-Dazs, nail salon, and wine shop with a deli. Each store has different operating hours. However, most of the shops are open from 10 am until 8 pm, or even later.
The operating hours of Centro Maya are from 7 am to 10 pm and it is located on the outskirts of the south end of the city. It is a local-style mall with shops like Wayan, Tel Cel, Elektra, and Coppel. Inside Centro Maya, there is a good grocery store called Soriana, which is similar to the grocery store in your locality. You can also find a Sally Beauty store here that offers high-quality hair and body products that are not available at regular drugstores.
Sally Beauty carries quality hair products with lower prices compared to designer hair products due to importation rules.
Plaza Las Americas
As a tourist, I enjoy spending time exploring Plaza Las Americas. This mall has a lot to offer, including a large Chedraui store (similar to Walmart), a gym, a movie theater, Sears, and numerous local shops and restaurants.
One store that I would highly recommend checking out is Coppel. It’s similar to Marshalls or TJX, but on a smaller scale. Coppel sells a wide range of items like cell phones, Nike shoes, home goods, clothing, luggage, bicycles, and more, all at affordable Mexican prices. Additionally, the mall is a great spot for people-watching while also shopping.
Vendors set up tables in the walkways of Plaza Las Americas to sell an array of products such as candles, candies, wood products, incense, wallets, and jewelry. It is entertaining to browse the tables due to the variety of products available, all at local prices. Playa del Carmen markets are ideal for purchasing produce, fresh flowers, clothing, and other items.
Thrift Shopping in Playa del Carmen
Thrift shops offer a chance to discover incredible bargains on unique items at affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for new-branded clothes or vintage-style apparel, you can find unexpected treasures. There is always an element of luck involved when browsing second-hand stores. My preferred consignment boutique is Segunda Vida, situated on 30th avenue between Calles 32 and 34.
There is a thrift shop called Tienda Cielito situated on Avenue 20, positioned between Calle 10 north and Calle 10 bis. You can find it across from the OXXO store.
One of the charming aspects of Playa del Carmen is the prevalence of handmade items. Many boutique shops offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including beachwear, swimwear, jewelry, and art.
In Playa del Carmen, there is a local market called Tianguis that takes place every Sunday. Tianguis is a traditional Mexican market that visits a neighborhood once a week. The term Tianguis comes from the Nahuatl language, which was spoken by the Aztecs, and means an open-air market.
The market is located on the street starting from the intersection of Avenue 10 and Calle 54 and runs for several blocks, making it easy to locate.
This market has a local style and numerous vendors selling a variety of items including home goods, fruits, vegetables, street tacos, birds and fish, pet supplies, new and used clothing, backpacks, tools, shoes, cosmetics, plants, ice cream, and crema de coco, among others. The prices are affordable and targeted at locals. It’s important to note that most vendors only accept cash, so make sure you come prepared. Browsing the tables and experiencing the local shopping scene is a great way to spend your time.
A Tianguis is a great place to find both delicious street food and unique souvenirs.
Instagram stores run by local entrepreneurs in Playa del Carmen have gained significant popularity. These small businesses offer a variety of goods without the need for a physical storefront. This trend is particularly popular for workout clothing and swimwear where customers seek variety beyond what traditional stores may offer. Apart from these, there are also stores selling bread, cheese, lingerie and many more that I may not even know about.
If you want to find thriving businesses in Playa, check out these Instagram shops that provide personalized items and deliver to your home or hotel. These recommendations are based on positive feedback from others.
Please reconsider before supporting merchants who sell items taken from nature such as starfish, coral, and endangered animals. The animals you might see for photo opportunities on 5th Avenue are often kept in captivity under poor conditions. You came to Playa del Carmen to enjoy its natural beauty, and your choices as a consumer can either promote or discourage respect for animals and the environment. Please make informed decisions.
Avoid the sales gimmicks
While walking on Fifth Avenue, you will encounter various sales strategies that can be humorous but also bothersome. One technique that is commonly used involves vendors pretending to recognize you as a server from your resort, when in fact they are merely identifying your hotel wristband to determine where you are staying. Be wary of this approach and don’t be easily fooled, as they are often harmless but always exercise caution.
Don’t use the ATMs on 5th Avenue.
For a safer option to withdraw cash, it is advisable to use a local bank’s ATM as the ones on 5th Avenue are known to have card skimmers or be tampered with.
Bottom Lins: Best Shopping in Playa del Carmen Guide
I hope the shopping guide for Playa del Carmen was helpful in understanding more about the bustling 5th Avenue. By knowing what items to purchase and what to expect during shopping, you will be ready for the energetic atmosphere and marketing tactics.
However, please be cautious of your belongings at all times. Once you finish shopping at the 5th Avenue stores, you can head to one of my preferred eateries to recharge or visit one of Playa del Carmen’s exciting bars for a drink. Trust me, after your shopping trip, you’ll want a cool beverage! Enjoy your shopping experience!
How much do the souvenirs cost in Mexico?
The prices of souvenirs in Mexico vary widely depending on the type of item. For instance, small items like toys, tortilla baskets, and woven crafts can be bought for $200 pesos (~$10 USD) or less. On the other hand, handmade clothing, backpacks, and leather goods can cost more than $1000 pesos (~$50 USD). However, it’s important to note that prices are usually open to negotiation so be sure to try haggling for a better bargain.
What time do most shops open in Playa del Carmen?
The opening hours of souvenir shops may vary, but typically larger ones open around 9 or 10AM.
Can you haggle with the shops on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen?
Sure! When shopping on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, it’s a good idea to bargain with the shop owner to get a better price since the initial price they offer is usually high and negotiable.
How long is 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen?
The length of Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue is around 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and it consists of more than 20 blocks.
Is shopping and shops in Playa del Carmen cheap?
Yes. Comparatively, shopping in Playa del Carmen is less expensive than shopping in the United States. Though prices at major clothing retailers may be similar, souvenirs are often very affordable, and bargaining is typically possible.
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 CancunAirport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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