Until several years ago, tattoos on the skin were a symbol of margination and a motive for discrimination. You’re probably from that generation in where you had to decide whether you wanted to mark your skin with something unique and permanent turning yourself into a “slag” or a social outcast or take “the correct path, the successful one” that was linked to getting an office job, normal, simple and well looked upon by society, because living both options sounded almost impossible, even today it catches your attention when the kind store manager, who is older than you and seems to be the biggest goody two-shoes on the planet, shows one or several of his creepy but fascinating traces.
The history of tattoos go back to ancient history, and even though it’s said that egyptians were the first to utilize the technique to mark the skin in a permanent manner, it is known that different cultures also developed their own techniques. In the egyptian’s case, it is said that it had something to do with divinity (marking the skin was a privilege to few) meanwhile in other cultures, it was used to tell the warriors apart from the rest or to symbolize the passage to adulthood. In many other cultures, like the roman one, the skin of the slaves were marked, like it’s done to cattle, to distinguish who they belonged to. In the end, tattoos were a graphic representation of something bad.
Nowadays, that ancient custom of some cultures to mark the skin with religious, spiritual or of class distinction purposes, have been left behind and tattoos have now become collectible “bio-accessories”. They stopped being a rebellious representation in pop culture and became ordinary, something we find on anybody, not caring for genre, social condition or race.
There has been an escalating boom of tattoo culture since several years ago in Playa del Carmen. We’re not exaggerating when we say that in every corner you can find a tattoo studio, and the names of the local artists are known by many, there are even locals who collect traces by various of these artists. The streets and beaches seem like runways with models displaying the latest tendencies in traces. What once was a motive for discrimination, today is part of our culture and a symbol of admiration in some cases.
The style diversity in Playa del Carmen is also noteworthy, there are more than 30 studios in the area, every artist has their own style, depending on the necessities of their clients. From tribal to minimalist, the traditional tattoos like american or pirate style, the fans pick they’re most suitable option on their stroll through Playa del Carmen. There’s even those frequent tourists that every time they visit Playa they leave with some new lines as a souvenir.
Advice for getting tattooed in Playa del Carmen
Getting tattooed in Playa del Carmen is more frequent every time and that’s why we suggest that if you visit the heart of the Riviera Maya and you want to take a little “memory on the skin” with you, be careful and decide well how you’re going to spend your vacation, take note on the following:
- You won’t be able to sunbathe much less go swimming in the ocean or swimming pools, so you won’t affect your tattoo’s process of healing.
- Don’t rush your decision to get inked, a good tattooist won’t pressure you and should be patient until you’re completely sure of the design you want for your tattoo.
- Talk to as many tattooist as you think is necessary. Decide on the one that gives off a good vibe towards you; remember that he will be in contact with your body and the result will be permanent.
- Playa del Carmen is a tourist destination, which makes the prices a little more expensive than other cities. We recommend to also visit studios found not only on the main tourist areas.
- Be extra careful with your skin after you get tattooed, follow the instructions given and if you’ll be in exteriors, aside from the famous Bepantene that you will have to use, also use some sunblock.
- If you get a tattoo while you visit Playa del Carmen and you can’t have fun at the beach or at cenotes, it’s not your companion’s fault, let them have fun!
Pictures by: Manu Padilla