During the summer last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Cancun. My job had offered me a free 3 night stay at an all inclusive resort and being a huge travel junkie, I couldn’t say no.
My arrival to the airport was like any other experience. I looked around, read a few signs and made a few friends – friends that would give me Tequila, Kahlua and discounted tickets for taking a tour of a brand new resort. Okay, so it wasn’t like any other experience, but I did the same things – looked around, observed the people and read the signs.
I was staying in the strip of hotels and beaches, the most touristic side of Cancun, but my desire to escape the tourist trap led me to the center of the city. It led me away from the perfectly blue beaches, unlimited cocktails and comfortable room.
I took a bus to the center, which is about a 30 minute ride and there I saw how the beautiful beaches full of fancy hotels turned into dirty streets full of hard working people.
The streets reminded me of Peru, a place I learned to love, but Cancun has more to offer than just dirty streets and beautiful beaches. Cancun has Mercado 28 a.k.a Market 28.
Mercado 28 is an open air market full of Mexican souvenirs for a very low price. When you are in the tourist areas of any country, the souvenirs are overpriced and things such as shot glasses can be quite expensive. My visit to Mercado 28, however, was quite pleasant. Not because I had people greeting me and trying to lure me into their shops, but because of the prices.
While a shot glass over in Coral Negro Market cost about 200 Pesos (12.93 Dollars), a shot glass only cost me about 25 Pesos (1.62 Dollars) in Mercado 28.
In my opinion, that is a huge difference and quite frankly I was glad to leave touristic Cancun. Whenever I travel, I go to many different touristic sights. However, after years of traveling, I learned that being in the tourist parts of a country was not always a good thing. Especially, if people were trying to take advantage by doubling the prices of their items. So when I learned about the prices over in Mercado 28, I had to check them out myself and true enough the souvenirs were cheaper in a non-touristic area of Cancun.
There are plenty of other shops in the center of Cancun and I ended up buying a few cheap tops, but if you are looking for Mexican souvenirs, head on over to Mercado 28. You will not regret it.
Stay tuned for my next post on Tulum and the 9 lb Iguana!