Some things in life are truly priceless. Special moments that we share with loved ones, the accomplishment that we feel after completing a difficult task – these are things money can’t buy. Money can buy souvenirs, however, so if you’re wondering what to buy in Mexico City, just know that the city is full of amazing gifts and souvenirs for you to cherish after your trip!. Here are my suggestions for the best souvenirs from Mexico City.
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The Best Souvenirs from Mexico City
From musical instruments to cooking tools, Mexico City has a wealth of souvenirs to choose from. You’ll find people selling these items almost everywhere you go. It won’t be difficult finding trinkets to buy, but you might not be able to buy everything you come across. (You have to fit things in your suitcase, after all!).
When you’re searching for souvenirs from Mexico City, use this article as a shopping guide. If you are only in town for a day before dashing off to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Puerta Vallerta, you don’t have to lug all your bags with you. There’s a luggage storage service available while you go souvenir shopping so you have room to carry your new presents (even the ones for yourself).
And get creative while you shop! Mexico City gifts are more than just sombreros and t-shirts (though I love a good travel t-shit!). In this guide, I cover so many options for every kind of traveler. Don’t feel like you have to get what everyone else is getting!
Coffee Beans from Cafe Villarias
Mexico is a country that has a very unique geography. Portions of the nation are perfect for harvesting coffee beans. The right combination of weather and soil produces some of the tastiest coffee beans in all of North America.
While coffee beans are harvest in places like Veracruz, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, and Chiapas, there are tons of places that sell this traditional tasty treat in Mexico City. Cafe Villarias is one of the most popular coffee shops in the city. You can purchase a wide assortment of flavors and high-quality beans from this shop alone. You can also order a freshly made cup of Mexican coffee while you’re at it.
Chocolate from New Art Xocolatl
Historians have spent countless hours trying to figure out exactly who invented chocolate. While a quick internet search might tell you that a fellow named Joseph Fry created chocolate, records show that ancient civilizations ate this tasty treat long before Fry lived.
Some of Latin America’s earliest inhabitants were huge choco-fanatics. The Mayans, for example, were huge chocoholics. The Maya called it Xocolatl back in the day, the namesake of New Art Xocolatl. You don’t need a time machine to try this treat, you can find New Art Xocolatl in Mexico City.
If you don’t want a Mexican candy bar or artisanal chocolate, you can bring home Mexican hot chocolate instead!
I can’t think of a tastier Mexican souvenir. Can you?
Even if you’ve never set foot in Latin America, you’ve probably had Mexican cuisine before. Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and nachos all come from Mexico. These dishes are handcrafted by passionate cooks regularly. Back in the day, Mexican chocolate was prepared with a molinillo. This unique utensil is essentially a wooden whisk of sorts.
You’ll actually still find plenty of people using Molinillos today. However, most tourists purchase these items to keep them as souvenirs. Molinillos are sold all around the city and each one features dramatically different designs.
Mexico’s amazing weather isn’t just great for growing coffee beans. The “Land of Sunshine” is such a popular vacation spot because of how beautiful it is and how refreshing its climate feels. Mexico City in particular gets millions of visitors who want to experience the weather for themselves.
You’re going to need a genuine Mexican hammock if you plan on sun-basking once your trip is over. Most of these hammocks have a texture that’s softer than wool, yet just as sturdy as cloth or canvas.
Mexican hammocks are sold by everyone from street merchants to big-name retailers. We encourage you to take your time as you search for the perfect hammock.
Mole Paste from Mercado Medellín
I am this close to making a “holy mole” pun, but I’ve decided to walk a higher path. Some of you might not have a clue what mole even is. Simply put, it’s a thick sauce that comes in a myriad of flavors. Mole can taste sweet like barbeque or it can be spicier than hot sauce.
For the most part, people make mole fit their preferences using mole paste. You’ll find plenty of markets and street vendors to purchase this souvenir. Special mention goes to Mercado Medellín, one of Mexico City’s most popular supermarkets.
Dia de Los Muertos Souvenirs
Dia de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the Day of the Dead. If you’ve seen films like The Book of Life or Coco, you probably have an idea what this holiday is about. Despite all of the skulls that you might see, Dia de Los Muertos is all about honoring the lives of the deceased and the impact they’ve had on their communities.
Things get very festive when this holiday rolls in. Candied skulls go on sale and painters will happily give you a ghastly makeover. Best of all, you can take home plenty of souvenirs based on Dia de Los Muertos.
Just make sure to be respectful, as these are religious objects. Do not dress up in costumes, since it’s far more than just a “Mexican Halloween.”
Huichol Beaded Jewelry from Nierika
When it comes to aesthetics, Mexico has a style all its own. Whether we’re talking about architecture that’s inspired by the Mayas of the Aztecs or if we’re talking about contemporary clothes, this statement applies. Huichol jewelry is the product of one of Mexico’s indigenous people.
The Huichol people take great pride in the work they produce. That’s why their beaded jewelry is so special and distinct. The best place to buy a Huichol necklace or wristband is from members of the Huichol community. Nierika is also a fantastic option.
Luchador Masks (Lucha Libre Masks)
There’s a wrestler inside every one of us. Most of us lost touch with our inner wrestlers when we stopped suplexing our siblings. We kinda had to since we aren’t pros or anything like that.
Luchadors are. Lucha Libre is so much more than just the inspiration for Nacho Libre in the US. These athletes are famous for their high-flying antics and death-defying stunts. There’s no better way to reconnect with your inner wrestler than to snag a luchador mask in Mexico City.
This next entry ought to be a real treat for any reader with a sweet tooth. Mexican Candy has some of the tastiest and most distinct flavors that you will ever taste. A lot of treats incorporate chili or some other kind of spice, giving them a unique kick.
Mexican Candy runs the gamut from Mango Lollipops to bottles of Lucas. These are some of the easiest souvenirs to find since most markets have them on sale. You can even snag some in the airport as you leave!
Special mention goes to Dulceria de Celaya in the Centro Historico, one of the most popular candy shops in the city.
These make great Mexican City souvenirs for children if you are looking for a gift from Mexico City for kids!
Mexican Folk Art
Do you remember that diatribe I gave earlier about the uniqueness and creativity of Mexican aesthetics? Well, it easily applies to Mexican folk art. Some paintings frame famous events in the country’s history as well as portraits based on myths and legends – sculptures and statues too.
Adding some Mexican folk art to your home’s decor can really liven up your living space. That’s why we can’t recommend these types of souvenirs enough.
You can find it all over the city, but two great places to start are the Coyoacan Artesans Market and the Sunday market at the Jardin de Arte in Colonia San Rafel.
To say that music is an important part of Mexican culture would be the understatement of the century. After all, this is the country that pioneered Banda, Cumbia, Mariachi, and Ranchera. Numerous instruments are used in all of these genres, including maracas.
These simple instruments are essentially wooden rattles that make very specific, melodious sounds. Maracas are also used as ceremonial instruments. Just about any music shop in Mexico City has maracas for sale.
Handicrafts from Mercado De Artesanías La Ciudadela
A common trait among Mexico City’s souvenirs is that they’re mostly handmade. After seeing so many intricate statues and beautiful paintings, it’s hard not to get a little inspired at least. That where Mercado De Artesanías La Ciudadela comes in.
This market is practically overflowing with hand-crafted trinkets and souvenirs. A lot of the items that we’ve already spoken about can be found at this one venue. Moreover, you can also buy the necessary supplies and make your own souvenirs. From Barro Negro pottery to rosaries to Mexican tiles, so many of the best souvenirs from Mexico City are found right here!
Embroidery from Peletería Continental
Little details can make a big impact. This isn’t just true for court cases, it also applies to decorating. Embroidery is the art of adding designs to pieces of fabric with just a needle, some thread, and your imagination.
Mexican embroidery can only be described as visually stunning. It often incorporates imagery inspired by Mexico’s native flora and fauna. Peletería Continental is one of our favorite places to go for embroidery. They have numerous different items on offer and they can also do custom jobs.
Candles from Velas Cerería de Jesús
An eventful dinner, a soothing bath, a special ceremony – candles can enhance all of these occasions. In fact, we’d argue that they’re must-haves. You have to take several things into account when searching for the right candle.
What sort of wax is the candle made of? Is it scented? How long will it burn? Velas Cerería de Jesús is a candle shop that will happily answer all of your questions. They have a rainbow of products for sale – each with its own smells, colors, and functions.
Fragrances from Xinú Perfumeria
We’re often told to dress for success when we have something important to do. Makes sense. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression. That’s why the fragrances we wear (or don’t wear, to be more accurate) are so important.
That’s also why you should stop by Xinú Perfumeria. They have a carefully curated selection of premium fragrances for every occasion. This is a great romantic souvenir if you want a Mexico City gift for her or for him!
Books from Cafebrería El Péndulo
A wise person once said that “all of life’s secrets are hidden between the start and end of a book”. Okay, not really – that’s a slogan we just made up (and one that we kinda hope catches on). Regardless of that, books really do make fantastic souvenirs. They’re gifts that keep on giving if you think about it; they add another piece of literature to your collection and you usually find something new each time you re-read them.
You can even read a book on your trip home from Mexico City. In our opinion, Cafebrería El Péndulo is the best bookstore in Mexico City. It’s a bookstore and a library rolled into one great location. So whether you’re looking for a great book to read on vacation in Mexico City or something to bring home with you, this is a great place to start!
Records from La Roma Records
There are few things in life as timeless as music. Seasons come and go, cities may change, but music – even music from other time periods – can resonate with anyone. We’ve already gushed about how important music is to Mexico when we were talking about Maracas.
That’s why stores like La Roma Records are so popular. This venue in particular is one of our favorite places to buy vinyl records. Genres of all kinds are on offer – even music from other cultures and countries.
Most of Mexico’s citizens adhere to the Catholic faith. This much is reflected in the numerous churches and cathedrals that you’ll find in Mexico City alone. It’s also reflected in the rosaries that many citizens wear. These simple accessories consist of beads held together by a cord.
Some rosaries have pictures of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Others bear crosses made of wood or glass. In Mexico City, Mary is venerated as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Keep your eyes out for rosaries that bear this name.
While I didn’t purchase rosaries in Mexico City, some of my favorite souvenirs from Latin America are rosaries! While in Mexico, you can also find other religious items like hand-painted Talavera-style crosses and paintings of religious figures.
Tequila & Mezcal
I did most of my tequila tourism on the Yucatan peninsula, but Mexico City is a great place to go on a tequila or mezcal tour. Made from agave plants but using different techniques, both drinks are quintessentially Mexican.
You can go on a tequila tasting or a mezcal tasting (or both!) and shop at the end of your tour, or you can pick up a bottle from a local shop.
Mexico is known for its beautiful tiles and tilework, and some of my personal favorite Mexican souvenirs are Mexican tiles made in Puebla across the valley.
Other handcrafted souvenirs that I think you should consider picking up are Mexican textiles. From handwoven blankets to beautiful bags, you can find expensive artisanal versions to cheap souvenir blankets. Of course, I’ve cherished by $8 blanket from Mexico for the past seven years, so you don’t need to always pay more to love your souvenirs!
If you want a specific traditional textile, Huipil shirts are popular Mexican gifts to bring home, especially to young girls. Huipiles are traditionally saved for special occasions like weddings and fiesta. Personally, if I brought one home I would use it for decor rather than wear it, to make sure I stayed respectful of the culture.
Last but not least (and definitely not the cheapest!) is Taxco Silver. Mined in Taxco and crafted into beautiful pieces, there is a long history of silversmithing in the region. These make great traditional Mexico City souvenirs to give to a wife, husband, or partner. The best part? They will last forever and take up practically no room in your suitcase!
Tips for Shopping in Mexico City
Don’t start shopping without these tips!
Haggle but Be Respectful
While some markets expect you to haggle, don’t be a jerk about it! Be respectful and treat the shopkeepers and sellers with kindness and respect.
Don’t Flash Your Pesos
Beyond tipping your hand as to how much you could potentially spend, you will most likely be shopping in touristy areas where you need to keep an eye out for pickpockets. Start by keeping your cash and valuables out of sight at all times.
Cash is King
Some stores do take credit cards, but there are many places where you will want to have cash. Beyond making it easier to haggle, you will find times when cash is the only way to pay.
Buy from Local Artisans
Whenever possible, buy as close to the producers as possible so you know that as much of your money as possible is going to the artisan or creator. This is especially important in places like Mexico where companies try to separate the tourist experience from the actual people of Mexico. Stay in touch with the real Mexico as much as you can, and one way is to buy local.
5 Things to Pack for Mexico
Lonely Planet Mexico which is available as a paper copy or in a Kindle edition.
Mosquito Repellant is the single most important thing you’ll want on you as soon as dusk hits. Have enough to at least get through the first night.
Full-Sized Travel Towel This is the best travel towel in the world. It’s pretty enough for the beach, large enough that you forget it’s a microfibre towel, and quick-drying, which is crucial in super humid Mexico.
Sunscreen – sunscreen is vital from the minute you arrive if you’re pale like I am. If you can bring some with you, then do. If you’re flying carry-on only, then at least grab a travel-sized to get through your first day before getting to a store.
A GoPro for underwater and action photography. Why go all the way to Mexico and not be able to capture some of the most exciting parts of your trip?
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Palm Beach make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home.
I’ve had friends whose phones were stolen, luggage was lost, and my sister even had her passport stolen at a hotel once. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for four years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.