There are more than 80 craft and souvenir stores in the downtown area (Quinta Avenida and surroundings) in Playa del Carmen, that in its majority shows products that may seem attractive to the tourists that visit the Riviera Maya, but inside this sea of things you don’t need, there are some that go against their origin and some that you’ll just plainly regret you bought. (Including emblematic Mayan ashtrays, countless keychains and refrigerator magnets or the typical t-shirt with the bikini print on it, and other creative ways to leave with a reminder of the Caribbean).
Although in many other cities around the world souvenirs are produced in batches at an industrial level, in Mexico there is still a big market for crafts that in cost and time of production they lose terrain next to those products in series that are cheaper and some even made in China. Forget about the typical bracelet with your name in bright colors on it, there are worst things:
- Bad tequila. That’s right, instead of taking three bottles of tequila, take one of a better quality, they will thank you later during the hangover.
- NFL logos on crafts. Not only on Mayan masks or on wooden skulls, but on metal helmets made by hand and other varieties. (I don’t know what our pre-hispanic cultures would think about this commercial position of their masks with American football logos on them).
- Senseless things with the print “Playa del Carmen” on it. Contamination, visual and toxic. (It’s not going to last forever on your friends fridge, but it will in the dumpster where it will be deposited).
- Cartoon figures or mixed creatures. The Bart Simpson/Spiderman or the Predator/Mayan are not going to help your kids “behave” while you do your shopping in the 5th Avenue and much less benefit their education. Avoid future regrets or possible bullying for believing that these characters once existed.
- Fake jewelry. Take precautions on this subject, no one is exempt, especially when you think you’re taking a craft home with you and they sell it as such. Always look for a certificate of authenticity or buy directly from the craftsman, who can tell you about the piece with great detail.
So now, which can be the ideal pieces you can take home with you so you can remember your visit to Playa del Carmen? Or what to buy in Playa del Carmen? We know that as a tourist or visitor, time, location, and money is very important because these are key elements for making a decision on what to buy. In spite of that, we suggest you purchase products that represent our culture, roots, and Mexican colors like the fabrics created by indigenous people, cacao, ceramic, hammocks, coffee and/or regional sweets. In spite of the high demand for the cheap stuff, there are still very creative and representative products of whichever region of our country that will always stand out more over bad taste.
It’s clear that souvenirs are made in batches and crafts are the work made individually by the hands of the craftsmen. Based on that, and knowing that there is still high demand for these 5 worst souvenirs, this article wants to spread the word on these products that as Mexicans, do not represent us, and persuade those new visitors to support the chain of supply between producer and final client, for those crafts to be well valued for their work, its quality and authenticity.