Cancún

The centros comerciales (malls) in Cancún are fully air-conditioned and as well kept as similar establishments in the United States or Canada. Like their northerly counterparts, they also sell just about everything: designer clothing, beachwear (including raunchy T-shirts aimed at the Spring Break crowd), sportswear, jewelry, music, electronics, household items, shoes, and books. Some even have the same terrible mall food that’s standard north of the border. Prices are fixed in shops. They're also generally—but not always—higher than in the markets, where bargaining is a given. Perfumes in Cancún are considerably less expensive than at home (and even than at the duty-free shops at the airport). Of course tequila is a bargain here as well, but make sure you buy at the supermarket rather than at a souvenir shop.

There are many duty-free stores selling designer goods at reduced prices, sometimes as much as 30% or 40% below retail. You can find handwoven textiles, leather goods, and handcrafted silver jewelry, although prices are higher than in other cities and the selection is limited.

Monday through Saturday, shopping hours are generally 10–1 and 4–7, although more stores are staying open throughout the day rather than closing for siesta. Many are now opening on Sunday afternoon as well. Centros comerciales tend to be open daily from 9 or 10 am to 8 or 9 pm. If all that shopping leaves you feeling frazzled, you’re in luck. With wall-to-wall resorts lining Cancún’s coastline, competition among spas pushes the limits on pampering. From gemstone-treatments to hydrotherapy circuits and wine-and-caviar facials, expect to be treated like royalty.

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  • 1. Plaza Flamingo

    Zona Hotelera

    Around 80 shops that sell mainly clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs fill this small mall, but the Outback Steakhouse and Bubba Gump restaurants are the main...Read More

  • 2. Dorfman's Art Gallery

    Zona Hotelera

    Dorfman's Art Gallery features Mayan-inspired and environmentally-themed sculptures and paintings by local artists and brothers Renato and Adán Dorfman....Read More

  • 3. El Pabilo

    El Centro

    This downtown café showcases Mexican painters and photographers on a rotating basis. It's open only in the evening, Monday through Saturday from 5 pm to...Read More

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