You find yourself at the local marketplace on your Mexican holiday and wonder, “What in the world should I buy as a souvenir?” While souvenir shopping Mexico style a sombrero and a bottle local tequila are always an option. However once the tequila is gone you may find that your wardrobe back home really doesn’t suit a sombrero on a day to day basis.
Best Souvenirs to Buy in Mexico
The Spanish word for souvenir is recuerdo translating to reminder. The tequila sombrero combination may bring you back to that crazy night in Cancun, but Mexico has a long tradition of artisans creating beautiful pieces which will leave lasting memories of the colors and traditions of Mexico.
At most every market and store in Mexico you will find silver items for sale, often religious in nature. It may not be everyone’s idea of a perfect souvenir to have a 3 foot crucifix in the suitcase but often small intricate pieces can be found. Be sure it look for .925 stamp which indicates quality sterling silver.
Mexico’s geology includes a variety of clays with red being most common. Take home a small dish or a casserole, whatever your luggage might be able to handle. Keep an eye open for clay souvenirs made from the much less common clay barro negro. You will recognize it by it’s pearly black shine.
Leather work in Mexico is tied to the history of the charro/vaquero, the cowboy tradition. Historically it was belts and boots but frankly I am far more interested in the unique Mexican handbags, purses and wallets. Such colorful accessories will more likely to be a hit with that teenager you are shopping for than a ceramic donkey. No offense to the ceramic donkey.
Souvenir Shopping Mexico for Fabrics and Clothing
Shop for cotton or traditional linen items which are cooler than the newer polyester options. Vibrant embroidery on shirts, dresses and shawls may not work for the office but can be a fun casual look. Mexican blankets come in every shade imaginable. On our first trip to Mexico many years ago it was the souvenir we chose and acted as a couch cover, picnic blanket and was particularly useful when our then young children made forts.
Mexico and music go hand in hand so it will be no surprise to find maracas and wooden flutes in abundance. If shopping for children of friends, consider that noise making souvenirs are not always a desired option. Depends on how much you like your friends.
Quieter options include marionettas (puppets), dolls in traditional Mexican dress and who wouldn’t love a mini skull necklace?
Wood Carvings and Artifacts
Mexican folk art holds a rich tradition of items made of various materials with multi purposes from decoration to creations used for celebrations and religious rites. The traditionally made items are referred to in Mexican Spanish as ‘artesania’. The term refers to arts and crafts created with traditional methods rather than off an assembly line.
Watch for unique items not seen in other stalls in the market. Hand made or not these colorful Mexican souvenirs are easy to get back home and great conversation starters with guests.
Jewelry the special find of souvenir shopping Mexico
Turquoise, leather and silver jewelry can be found in abundance in Mexico. The pretty items are popular souvenirs. In some areas of Mexico black coral is sold and a word of caution to not buy any as it is endangered and you may have adventures with the customs agents should it be found in your possession. Avoid tortoise shell for similar reasons and for the sake of the poor tortoise.
Until not so long ago, I avoided shopping when traveling like the Bubonic plague. Then I found Kristin who has the most amazing travel site called Souvenir Finder. Kristin can tell you the best thing to buy in most any country, what is legal to purchase, where to get it and best of all how to get home. You can find this must have travel resource here.
Do you have a favorite souvenir you like to bring home from your travels?
Now a souvenir from me to you for those of you on Pinterest.