For those who are planning to visit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, there are so many amazing souvenirs, gifts, and keepsakes you’re going to want to bring home with you! From authentic clothing worn by people who live in the Yucatan, to artisanally crafted food products.
The Yucatan Peninsula is an area in southeastern Mexico, comprising three states: Quintana Roo State, home to Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun, the off the beaten path Campeche State, and Yucatan State, home to Merida and Valladolid.
Of the three, Yucatan State is known as the cultural hub of the peninsula, and in fact, its capital city of Merida is considered the Culture Capital of Yucatan. While you can certainly find Yucatan souvenirs all over this area, the state of Yucatan often has the best selection.
Ready to discover all the souvenirs you’ll want to buy in Yucatan? Let’s get to this list with the Top 10 Yucatan souvenirs to buy in Mexico.
What to Buy in Yucatan, Mexico: Yucatan Souvenirs you’ll want to Bring Home
One of the most popular handmade items in the Yucatan Peninsula are hammocks. In fact, many locals even sleep in hammocks, rather than traditional beds. While you may not want to fully swap out your bed for a hammock, they do make a great place to nap. Artisans in Yucatan are known to craft the most beautiful, sturdy hammocks in Mexico.
Huipil Tunic-Style Dress
The Yucatan Peninsula is home to the largest population of people of Mayan descent in Mexico. When visiting, you will likely see Maya women wearing the traditional, embroidered huipil (pronounced wee-peel). This is a long tunic style dress, with colorful floral embroidery and white lace. They are both beautiful and will keep you cool in the tropical Yucatan Peninsula.
For men, the guayabera (pronounced why-uh-bear-uh) is the most traditional article of clothing. You can find these in shops all over town, and men may want to swap out their shirt for a guayabera instantly — as these shirts are designed to keep you cool. They are also stylish enough to be used as a casual-dressy nighttime shirt.
Habanero Pepper Salsa
The local chili pepper grown in the Yucatan Peninsula is the habanero pepper. These are very hot peppers, so you’ll want to use the salsa sparingly if you don’t like spicy foods, but it is central to traditional Yucatan food. When eating at restaurants in the Yucatan Peninsula, you will usually get habanero pepper sauce brought out to the table without even asking for it.
Local Mayan Honey
For those who like no spice whatsoever in their food, swap out your Yucatan food souvenir from habanero salsa to authentic Mayan honey. There are several kinds of bees that are local to the Yucatan Peninsula, including the stingless Melipona bee, which produces a unique-tasting honey that can be used for everything from cooking to homeopathic health remedies.
Mayan God Chaac Figure
One of the most important gods in the Mayan religion is Chaac. This was a rain god, who is said to control the lightning, rain and clouds in the sky. The god Chaac is often depicted in a reclined position, ready to accept offerings — as the Maya wanted to keep this important good appeased, so it would continue to rain and the crops would continue to grow.
Xtabentun Honey Liqueur
Xtabentun (pronounced shtab-en-tune) is an ancient Mayan liquor that’s been made for more than 1,000 years. It is made with local honey, and then fermented, often with anise and other spices. After the fermentation, the smooth, sweet Xtabentun liquor remains. Some add it to coffee, while others drink it straight up or served over ice.
Not everyone knows this, but the Maya were the first to cultivate the cacao tree — from which we get chocolate. While visiting the Yucatan, pick up some Mayan chocolate souvenirs, which can be found in products from hand soap to chocolate you can eat and drink. The chocolate you eat will have a nice grainy texture, as its hand-ground and made the old-fashioned way.
Molinillo (Wooden Whisk)
If you’re going to buy a large amount of Mayan chocolate, one of the best ways to prepare it is in a traditional Mexican hot chocolate made with a molinillo (pronounced moe-lee-knee-oh). This is a wood whisk that’s used to make hot and cold chocolate drinks, and gives the drinks a nice foamy consistency.
Mexican Folk Art: Pom poms, Lele Dolls, Talavera Pottery
The last few items on the list aren’t specific to the Yucatan Peninsula, but you can find them all here. Colorful Mexican folk art is different in different parts of the country, but in many shops throughout the Yucatan, you can find different art from different Mexican states. While souvenir shopping, be on the lookout for Tzotzil pom poms from Chiapas State, Lele Dolls from Queretaro State and Talavera pottery, from Puebla state — to name just a few types of folk arts you’ll see.
While this is a big list, there are so many other great souvenirs you can find in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Though a souvenir can really be anything that reminds you of your trip, this list contains several things unique to this part of the country, so you can bring an authentic Yucatan souvenir home with you.
Shelley is a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world! After traveling solo to 16 states in Mexico, she settled down in Merida, Mexico, and continues to travel the country. Shelley operates the Travel To Merida website, and you can catch up with her on Instagram or through her Mexico travel podcast, Dream To Destination.
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