Whether you’re a shopaholic or just looking to pick up a few special souvenirs or gifts, you’ll find plenty of retail therapy options on your cruise to Cozumel. In fact, Cozumel shopping is some of the best in the Caribbean, with a wide variety of stores, markets and items to choose from.
To help cut through the clutter, we’ve created a list of 10 best bets for your shopping list in Cozumel. The stores themselves are easy to find, from the port shops on Punta Langosta Pier, to Plaza Del Sol in the town square. And don’t forget, many places only take cash (or charge significant credit card fees), so bring your US dollars as well as pesos.
In-the-know cruisers stock up on bottles of organic vanilla when they’re in Cozumel, and it makes for a unique gift, especially for the avid bakers in your life. Fans love it for its strong flavor, which tends to be more robust than the vanillas available in the U.S. Look for vanilla beans in the list of ingredients.
Mayan culture prized chocolate as much as the biggest chocaholic you know and Cozumel is a great place to learn your Mexican chocolate 101 and try different flavors. One of the most popular spots is The Mayan Cacao Company, where you can see the chocolate-making process first-hand and enjoy an all-important tasting before you stock up on your favorites.
It’s hardly surprising that coral is a popular item on Cozumel, home of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. You’ll find coral jewelry and gifts at many price points in different stores across the island. Take note that black coral is endangered and likely to be confiscated by customs officials when you return home, so look for other colors to be safe.
Lots of stores in Cozumel specialize in sterling silver jewelry and silverware. Look for pieces made in the silver workshops of the small Mexican city of Taxco.
Whether you’re looking for a unique local piece, something handcrafted or a traditional piece of jewelry from a big-name brand (at a more reasonable price than you would pay at home), you’ll find lots of options in Cozumel. Those higher-end shops will be at the port, and you can usually get info on the best deals while on your cruise, or as you disembark.
We’re not talking touristy t-shirts, although they are abundant and easy to find. For something more authentic, look for Mayan-style embroidered cotton dresses and embroidered tropical shirts known as guayaberas. The Yucatan is famous for its lace, so also keep your eyes peeled for clothes with intricately designed lace features. If you’re planning lots of outdoor time, hit the markets for a stylish straw hat.
The hammock makes such a wonderful keepsake of your time in Cozumel, not just because it’s light and so easy to pack, but because using it once you are home will hopefully bring back vivid memories of the lazy afternoons and island breezes of your cruise. Look for home-made hammocks from smaller, local shops, especially those who seem to sell hammocks and little else.
A bottle of Xtabentun (pronounced “ish-ta-ben-toon”) makes a great souvenir for those who don’t like clothes and accessories. Made from honey, this liqueur has a strong anise flavor and is said to be rather potent.
9. Cooking Utensils
Sampling local food is one of the joys of visiting Cozumel, but how can you take home a culinary memory? The best way we know how is to pick up some local Mexican cooking equipment, such as a Molcajete bowl (the Mexican mortar and pestle) or a molinillo, which is used to whip hot chocolate. Packets of Mexican hot sauce and spices can also make great gifts.
10. Electronic Essentials
Let’s face it: there comes a time when you’ve taken so many photos on your cruise that you’ve maxed out your memory card. Or, maybe you left your phone charger at home. A bustling port like Cozumel is a good place to pick up one of these tech essentials when you’re in a bind, as it has more stores than many of the smaller island ports in the Caribbean.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.