There is a lot to think about when planning a trip to Mexico. And thinking of what to buy in Mexico should be something to think about as well. But do not worry, once you get to the bottom of this list, you will have plenty of ideas od the best things to buy in Mexico during your vacation.
I always love visiting a souq or market or even browsing a grocery store when I travel. It gives a big insight into the culture of the people who call Mexico home, from the fruits and vegetables they eat, to the trinkets they sell, there is much to be learned when shopping in a foreign country.
Keep reading to find out what you should buy in Mexico.
What to Buy in Mexico
Mole Paste Mexican Souvenirs
Mole is a classic paste that has featured in many Mexican dishes for centuries. It is made with different tomatillos, sugar, and dried fruits, spices, and thickeners. These ingredients are flame-roasted and then ground until they are reduced to a powder, which can then be made into a paste. There are many variations of this staple delicacy and it can be found in stores even in the West. But if you are in Mexico you can find a more authentic Mole paste at any of the city’s markets. You can buy different varieties, including some with chocolate, from local vendors.
This is where you can get the good stuff! Grocery stores are full of artificial vanilla and if they do have real vanilla it is quite expensive. Grab yourself a couple bottles of Mexican vanilla, but remember to put them in your checked luggage because of liquid rules on planes.
Mayan Wooden Mask
Mexico’s culture and historical heritage are deeply tied to its works of art. Among the Mexican people once lived the Mayans, who flourished in the Yucatán peninsula for at least a millennium. Part of the artistic heritage of the Mayans are the wooden masks that they carved to depict different deities, prey, and predatory animals and other mystical symbols that gave meaning to their lives. There are still a number of Mayan villages that tourists can visit. In these villages, you will be able to purchase Mayan wooden masks if you wish to add one to your collection of Mexican souvenirs.
Lucha Libre Mask
If you want to get a mask in Mexico but do not have the luggage space for a wooden one, the Mayans are not the only ones in Mexico with a flair for artistic face-covering.
Lucha Libre (translated as “freestyle wrestling) is pretty big in Mexico and all the fighters have unique mask designs that are sold en masse on the streets. You can choose from the masks of legendary fighters like El Santo or Rey Mysterio, or simply buy whichever catches your eye. Unlike the Mayan masks, Lucha libre masks are pretty inexpensive and you can buy a few for your squad of friends back at home.
While the molinillo may be one of the weirdest looking on this list of things to buy in Mexico, it is actually a very practical and useful souvenir. This hand-carved implement is typically used to make hot chocolate on a stovetop. With this tool, you can throw away the store-bought chocolate powder and get some drinking chocolate to put in a stove. With a molinillo between your palms, whip the melting chocolate into a state of creamy perfection. When not being used to make chocolate it works as a conversation starter and you can buy one in most Mexican markets.
If you were wondering why the Mexicans have a tool specifically for making hot chocolate, it is because Mexicans have a deep love for chocolate and make some of the most delicious bars in the world. Mexican chocolate is mostly produced in Tabasco, Chiapas, and Oaxaca, but most of the true chocolate artisans reside in Mexico City. There, you can pick up lush bars from chocolate makers like New Art Xoxolati and Que Bo! Original Mexican chocolate is versatile and works for cooking, drinking, and baking, not just for everyday munching and makes a great souvenir gift.
For the fashionable tourist wondering what to buy in Mexico, a huipil is a classic piece of clothing worn by most Mexican women. It is a simple blouse made with common fabric that is covered with breathtaking embroidery. This embroidery comes in an array of different patterns and is one of the ways Mexicans express their art. If in Mexico, you can find the huipil at any of the local markets. Mercado de la Ciudadela is frequently visited by tourists and if you are not sure where else to go, it can be a good place to pick up some huipil.
Taxco Silver Jewelry
Buying jewelry as souvenirs is great because they can be worn regularly, thus keeping the memories of a great experience alive. Mexicans made and still make fascinating jewelry but from among them, Taxco jewelry stands out. This is jewelry made from silver mined in Taxco – an ancient mining site of Mexican legend. Taxco silver is made into different forms of jewelry for men and women, from earrings to anklets. It is relatively affordable for a precious metal and can be purchased at most boutiques in Mexico. If you are buying souvenirs as gifts for your friends, Taxco silver jewelry is a worthy option as they can wear it pretty much forever.
When considering possible Mexico souvenirs, alcohol is definitely a go-to option. And while you may have heard of Latin-American alcoholic beverages like tequila or mezcal, Xtabentún Liqueur is underrated and an excellent alcoholic drink. It is a delicious anise liqueur produced in the Yucatán area, using honey which is derived from xtabentún flower nectar and then fermented. This mix of fermented honey and anise mixture is further mixed with rum to add real spirit to the drink. Although indigenous to Yucatán, you can find Xtabentún Liqueur in liquor stores all over Mexico.
Figurines For Día de Los Muertos
In Mexico, those who are dead are celebrated once a year in a nationwide holiday. Every year on Dia de Los Muertos – or the Day of the Dead – friends and family members come together to remember those who have passed from the living into the land of the dead. On this day, offerings and prayers are made to help the dead along their journey. In remembering those who have passed, figurines are often made to keep their memories alive. These are usually made in the shape of skulls to remind those still alive that death awaits even them.
Most people spend a large part of their time in Mexico enjoying the delicious delicacies that Mexican cuisine offers. They are usually enthralled by the rich array of spices that go in the food and love the idea of taking back some spices as souvenirs. A particularly noteworthy spice is Achiote; a regularly used Mexican spice that gives many Mexican meals their distinctively Latin-American flavor. Achiote can be found in most Mexican markets in powder or paste form and is a great souvenir for a Mexican food lover who also enjoys cooking.
What to Buy in Mexico Conclusion
Hopefully, this list will help you choose which Mexican souvenirs you wish to bring back from your holiday. If I missed on of your favorite things to buy in Mexico, I would love if you let me know in the comments and I can add to the list.
One other thing to be mindful about traveling in Mexico is to ensure you have travel insurance.
Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel every day.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
Popular Tours in Mexico
While you are planning your trip, check out some popular tours in Mexico.
Where are you Staying in Mexico?
If you are looking to book an AirBNB, use this link to save $45 off your booking
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.