Save money by shopping in stores offering tax free shopping
Playa del Carmen, Cancun & Cozumel offer tax free products which makes shopping a must for foreigners and Mexican visitors.
TAXBACK (taxback.com.mx) is the leading provider of tax refund (value-added tax refund or sales tax refund) services for international travelers in Mexico. Just buy at any affiliated store or shop and bring photocopies of the following documents to their offices at the airport: your passport, immigration form (FMM), boarding pass, invoices and credit card vouchers from your purchases.
Shopping in the Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen
Are you wondering where to shop in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Riviera Maya and Cancun? If you decide to go shopping in Playa del Carmen, all regions of Mexico are represented on 5th Avenue, where you will find a whole host of Mayan art and handicrafts, Caribbean jewelry and beautiful accessories made by the local Mayan communities. You will also find arts and crafts from areas such as Baja California, Nayarit, Chiapas and many more. You will also find the typical Mayan women clothing.
Even more, the cosmopolitan character of Playa del Carmen shopping is reflected in the eclectic stores along the avenue. There are items from Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Africa, among other places.
Also, you will find several boutique clothing stores on 5th Avenue. You can find designer clothing, swimsuits, shoes and sandals, dresses, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and fashion accessories.
There are a lot of nice specialty shops too, selling handbags, jewelry, art, handmade Mayan crafts, Mexican tiles, hammocks, gourd lamps, beach bags, and artwork.
Souvenier Shops "The best junk in town"
There are more than enough souvenir shops to browse sarongs, blankets and sombreros. Leave extra room in your suitcase, as you'll surely want to stock up on shot glasses, ashtrays, and perhaps a plastic snow-globe or two.
Please note that if you see a Cohiba cigar sitting in a jar next to a cash register, it is probably a fake. Most cigars labeled as Cubans, even in cigar and tobacco shops, are counterfeits. If you are looking for genuine Cuban cigars in Playa del Carmen, La Casa del Habano on 5th Avenue between 26th and 28th is the place to go.
It is illegal for US citizens to take Cuban cigars to the US or even to purchase them in Mexico.
It is very easy to find small "mini-marts" where you can pick up items such as soft drinks, snacks, 6-packs and single servings of beer, suntan lotions, and other small sundries.
They are everywhere. Just about every block has a pharmacy, where you can buy certain medications, such as Retin-A over the counter, without a prescription. However, please note that if you purchase medication that would require a prescription in the US, you are supposed to have a prescription to present to customs if you decide to take these items home with you.
Narcotics and other drugs, such as Valium, do require a prescription, even in Mexico.
You will find plenty of those around town. Please note, liquor stores are closed on Sunday. You cannot purchase any off-sale liquor at the groceries or any other stores on Sunday.
There is a Sam's Club located on Highway 307 and Juarez, near Chedruai Supermarket.
Playa del Carmen now has a Walmart, which opened December 8, 2005. Walmart is located on 30th Avenue and Calle 8.
Playa del Carmen has modern stores with what you would expect in a US grocery store.
When shopping in Tulum and other towns in the Riviera & Costa Maya, you will find many things that people normally like to buy: local art, glassware, hand crafted pottery, silver, hammocks, Mexican Chocolate, and of course tequila.
Currency and Prices
When you shop in Mexico, you need Mexican currency (Mexican pesos) in shops, restaurants, hotels and national parks. However, many places accept USD, and there are many ATMs around all cities.
What do things cost?
All prices listed here are approximate.
Eating out in Playa del Carmen
Main course in a budget restaurant (Chinese or pizza restaurant): $10 USD.
Main course in a more upmarket restaurant: $15 USD.
A bottle of beer in a bar: around $3 USD.
A bottle of wine in restaurant: from $40 USD.
Transportation in Playa del Carmen
Taxis in local villages: $4 USD Downtown Playa del Carmen; $3 USD Downtown Tulum.
Car rental for a week: $360 USD with insurance (depending on season and location).
You can arrange transfers from your hotel or directly at mayanexplore.com
Groceries in Playa del Carmen
1l of milk: $2 USD.
Slice of pizza in a kiosk: $1.5 USD.
Newspaper: $1.5 USD.
Paying for goods and services
It is always a good idea to have a bit of cash on you, and you need Mexican currency to get by. You will find ATMs everywhere in towns, and in most rural areas there will be at least one place where you can withdraw money, such as a kiosk or a petrol/gas station.
Bank opening hours in Playa del Carmen
If you wish to withdraw money over the counter, bank opening hours in Mexico are usually 9 am to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday. Banks are closed Saturday and Sunday, and on bank holidays.
The use of credits cards is widespread in Playa del Carmen, and they are accepted almost everywhere. MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Diners Club are the most common.
Please note that some grocery stores/supermarkets do not allow foreign credit cards, although they happily take debit cards. If in doubt, ask before shopping.