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Shopping in Playa del Carmen: A Complete Guide

Shopping in Playa del Carmen: A Complete Guide

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Shopping in Playa del Carmen is a great way to pick up some local souvenirs on your trip to Mexico.

The activity of shopping is always essential on my list of things to do when I find myself in a new location.  Whether it be for groceries, souvenirs, or clothing, shopping is the best way to discover the city’s styles and trends.

I love the feeling when I return from a trip, styling your fabulous purchase from a place abroad and your friends say “Wow! Where did you get that?” Not only is it a great conversation starter, but a lovely way to reminisce about your fantastic trip. 

That brings us to Playa del Carmen. Located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Playa del Carmen is a vibrant beach town known for its stunning white sand beaches, blue waters, and incredible shopping.

From chic boutiques and designer stores to local markets and hidden gems, Playa del Carmen shopping offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, handcrafted goods, jewelry, or apparel,  you are sure to find it here. 

This article will be your guide to some of the best spots for shopping in Playa del Carmen, from little markets to upscale malls Playa del Carmen will have you covered. But first just a few tips.

Tips for Shopping in Playa del Carmen

One important thing to remember while market shopping in Playa del Carmen is to always bring the local currency, Pesos. Read about our tips for getting and using cash in Mexico here.

Some vendors will accept US Dollars and some won’t.  Something to remember if you are paying in US Dollars is that you might not always get the best conversion rate.

You will never get the best value for money if you are spending in Dollars in Mexico, that goes for anywhere on your travels.

Shopping malls, grocery stores, and retail shops will accept debit and credit cards.

If you are from the US, be sure to check out our guide to the best bank for international travelers here. They don’t charge international transaction fees and they give you money BACK from any ATMs used around the world.

If you are shopping in the markets along 5th avenue, you might be quoted price in US Dollars. Feel free to ask for the amount in Pesos so you can get the price that you will ultimately pay.

The subject of bartering at markets in Playa del Carmen is not the same as you would find in markets in Asia. Some vendors might be offended by you even asking for a discount at all.

If I find a piece that I absolutely love (but I think it is overpriced) I will ask, “Is that your best price?” From there you will know if the shop owner will come down in price or not. 

Also, keep in mind, a lot of vendors in the area will be selling the same items. Feel free to shop around block to block to find the best price and the best quality. 

One more important tip and I speak from personal experience, is that while perusing around stores with many breakables, please use extreme caution.

All of the souvenir stores on 5th Avenue have strict “you break it, you buy it” policies. The last thing you want to pay for on your trip is a turtle statue with a broken fin because you were being clumsy.  

woman in front of a mural skipping with shopping bags

Shopping in Playa del Carmen.

Buen Fin

An important shopping event to know about in Playa del Carmen is Buen Fin.

Buen Fin actually takes place over all of Mexico and is equivalent to Black Friday. Buen Fin happens in the middle of November and runs over an entire weekend (usually around Nov 24th).

A lot of stores even start their sales during the week leading up to the weekend of the event. Stores offer incredible deals and discounts. This is definitely the time of the year to purchase big-ticket items if you are visiting Playa del Carmen at this time of year.

Where to go Shopping in Playa del Carmen

Depending on what you are looking for will determine where you want to begin your search. 

In my opinion, the main attraction of shopping in Playa del Carmen happens at La Quinta Avenue. A long walking street loaded with stores and vendors of every style and budget. This is where many small markets are located. 

There are two malls located on La Quinta Avenue as well. Paseo del Carmen and La Quinta Alegria

Further away from downtown are two other malls. Centro Maya and Plaza Las Americas. 

Looking to furnish a home or restock your fridge? You can find Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Liverpool, Sears, and even Walmart for all of your basic day-to-day needs. This part of Mexico isn’t as foreign as it seems. 

Something very popular in Playa del Carmen is online stores managed through what’s-app and Instagram. Because a lot of products are handmade or imported from other places, this easily allows sellers to run their businesses without a storefront. 

The downfall is that finding the vendors is a bit tricky because learning about the products is mostly through word of mouth. That being said, I have purchased some amazing clothing through local vendors. 

Sometimes I find in the retail stores in Playa del Carmen you are limited to a small selection of styles. Quality yoga and gym wear are prime examples.

These online vendors offer a huge variety of quality items that you might not find in a Playa del Carmen shop.  

Playa del Carmen has some fantastic thrift shopping as well, I will get you those details further down in this article.

Map of the best Shopping

Follow this map to find some great Playa del Carmen shops and ready? Set! Let’s go shopping!

La Quinta Avenue or “5th” Ave

Lively and famous La Quinta Avenue, or translated to English “Fifth” Avenue. 

This will probably be your first exploration of shopping in Playa del Carmen as it has a wide range of literally everything and is really a fun experience.

It’s also right in the center of town, so you are likely to walk down it many times on your trip to Playa del Carmen in search of good breakfast, top restaurants, or on the way to a beach club.

Souvenirs, knick-knacks, swimwear, hats, pottery, jewelry, artwork, tee shirts, and tequila.  You name it La Quinta probably has it. 

Along the street are retail stores. You will find brand names such as Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, Miniso, Steve Madden, Zingara, Pandora, Rayban, and Sunglass Hut. 

Situated in between these big-name stores are local stores selling their goods. You will find beautiful handmade clothing, cigars, craft tequila, mezcal, sunglasses, and jewelry.

shopping for souvenirs in Playa del Carmen

Shopping for souvenirs in Playa del Carmen.

Tips for silver shopping in Playa del Carmen

Mexico is very well known for its silver and has great pricing on quality silver jewelry.  You can read our full guide to souvenir shopping in Mexico here to learn about the different regional crafts to look for on your trip to Mexico.

When shopping for silver jewelry in Playa del Carmen, it’s important to take your time and shop around.

Most of the shops are small, family-run businesses that specialize in silver jewelry and precious stones. The prices are usually very reasonable and you can often barter for a better deal. 

When you are ready to buy your desired piece of silver jewelry, it’s important to look for quality craftsmanship and be sure to ask questions about the silver content.

You’ll also want to make sure the jewelry is stamped with a Mexican purity mark, such as 925, which indicates the silver content. 

In the late afternoon, off a few of the side streets of La Quinta Avenue, vendors set up tables to create market-style shopping. Here you can find beautiful hand-painted sun hats, hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, and many other locally crafted goods. This is the right place to put your bargaining skills to the test.  

You will find these “markets” on Calle 6 Nte Bis, Calle 14, and Calle 34.

One of my favorite clothing stores along 5th avenue is “Cuidado con el Perro”. I would describe it as Mexico’s version of Forever 21. They sell trendy clothing, but at great prices, and the clothing is made in Mexico.

It is the perfect place to find a cool printed tee or a fun outfit for a night on the town.  

Paseo Del Carmen

Paseo Del Carmen is an open-air Playa del Carmen shopping mall located at the south end of La Quinta Avenue. 

Here you will find Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Pull and Bear, Berksha, Rip Curl, Oakley, Guess, and many other brand-name stores. 

In the center of the complex are a Starbucks, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, a sushi restaurant, and a bar offering refreshments and snacks. The perfect place for a pick-me-up while shopping in Playa del Carmen. 

Operating hours of the mall are from 7 am – 11 pm but some stores may vary. 

shopping mall in playa del carmen.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen can be in an air conditioned shopping mall or at a local market.

Quinta Alegria

Located at the crossroads of La Quinta Avenue and Constituyentes you will find Quinta Alegria.

This is a mall in Playa del Carmen that I visit frequently. Quinta Alegria is another open-air shopping mall and is home to brand-name stores such as American Eagle, Mac Cosmetics, iShop, Pandora, Forever 21, Zingara, Marti Sports, and more. 

As well you will find a Starbucks, Häagen-Dazs, pharmacy, nail salon, and wine shop with a deli. 

All of the stores have different hours of operation but the majority of the shops are open from 10 am until 8 pm, if not later. 

Centro Maya

Centro Maya is located on the outskirts of the south end of the city with operating hours from 7 am until 10 pm. 

Centro Maya is more of a local-style mall offering local shops such as Wayan, Tel Cel, Elektra, and Coppel. 

There is a good grocery store located inside the Centro Maya called Soriana, comparable to your local grocery store at home. 

Cento Maya also has a Sally Beauty. This is a good spot to find quality hair and body products that aren’t drugstore brands.

Because of the importation rules, designer hair products come with a big price tag. Sally Beauty offers a great selection of quality products at lower prices. 

man carrying shopping bags in one hand and a camera in the other.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen.

Plaza Las Americas

Plaza Las Americas is a full mall to explore as a foreigner. I love to come here and people-watch as well as shop. 

Plaza Las Americas is home to a huge Chedraui (the Mexican version of Walmart), a gym, a movie theatre, Sears, and many local stores and restaurants. 

Coppel is a cool store to check out. I would compare it to a small-scale Marshalls or TJX. They sell everything from cellphones, Nike shoes, home goods, clothing, luggage, and bicycles, and the list goes on. All at low Mexican prices.  

In the middle of the walkways in Plaza Las Americas, vendors set up tables selling goods like candles, candies, wood products, incense, wallets, and jewelry.

Browsing the tables is quite entertaining as there is so much to look at. And of course, all of these products are marked at local prices. 

shopping at a market in mexico.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen markets is great for produce, fresh flowers, clothing, and more!

Thrift Shopping in Playa del Carmen

Thrift shops are a great way to find amazing deals and cool articles all at great prices. You never know what you will find either. Brand name clothing new with tags or traditional vintage pieces. You never know what the luck of the day will bring you.  

Segunda Vida Consignment Boutique is my personal favorite. Located on 30th avenue and in between Calles 32 and 34. 

Another thrift shop called Tienda Cielito is located on Avenue 20 and between Calle 10 north and Calle 10 bis, across the street from the OXXO.

souvenirs in mexico when shopping at a market including mugs and plates.

Souvenir shopping in Mexico.

Boutique Shops

A beautiful thing about Playa del Carmen is that so many products are handmade. You will find an abundance of boutique shops selling their handcrafted goods. Beach attire, swimwear, jewelry, and art are the main focus of these stores. 

I have to give my favorite swimwear store AlasOlas a mention because of the fantastic quality swimsuits and amazing customer service.

They even do custom orders to suit your needs. When I first moved to Playa del Carmen I was having a hard time finding bikini bottoms to fit my more curvaceous bottom half. 

The store owner at AlasOlas, Alin, suggested that I bring her a pair of bottoms that I currently owned and she could replicate them in and of the materials that she had available. My new bottoms turned out great and were made with such great quality. 

Since then I have forever been returning to the store for all my swimwear needs. The store has a super cute selection of bikinis, one-pieces, coverups, hats, jewelry, kids’ swimwear, and even attire for men! 

Tianguis Market

Every Sunday in Playa del Carmen, you can find a local market called Tianguis. Tianguis are traditional Mexican markets that tend to come to a neighborhood one day a week. 

The word Tianguis comes from the Nahuatl (the Aztec language) word tiyānquiztli, which means open-air market.

It begins on Avenue 10 and Calle 54. This market runs on the street for blocks and blocks, so it’s quite easy to find. 

This is a very local style market with many vendors. You can find home goods, fruits, and vegetables, street tacos, birds and fish for sale along with pet supplies, new and used clothing, backpacks, tools, shoes, cosmetics, plants, ice cream, and crema de coco, and the list goes on. 

All the pricing at this market is geared toward locals and is incredibly affordable. Most places only accept cash, so come prepared. It is really an enjoyable time browsing the tables and experiencing some local style shopping. 

Tianguis market in Playa del Carmen.

You can usually get some great street food at a Tianguis as well as cool souvenirs.

Instagram Stores

Local Instagram stores have become so famous across Playa del Carmen. Many entrepreneurs have started small companies beginning to sell their goods without storefronts. 

I find this very popular for workout clothing and swimwear as sometimes the variety offered in stores is quite limited. But there are many other stores such as bread, cheese, and lingerie. I am sure that there are many more that I don’t even know about!

These businesses grow through word of mouth and eventually turn out quite successful. The owners of the businesses custom order, custom create, and even deliver their products to your house of hotel. 

While in Playa, check out these local Instagram shops.

The following listed below are a few of my favorites:

@tacotuesday.pdc  – for activewear, bikinis, and beach clothing

@shopfit_playa – for activewear

@buenaplayadelcarmen – for caps and sunhats

@cumpanisplaya – for Artisan Sourdouh Bread

@la_frencheese – for imported French cheese 

@lafrenchtouch.pdc – for quality imported french lingerie

@labikineriaoffical – for bikinis, and women’s beach attire