As Sinatra sang, “Baubles, bangles and beads…”
Pack light if you’re visiting Acapulco. Vacation enhancing purchases are sure to tempt you and chances are you’ll need an extra suitcase to haul the bounty home. Acapulco has it all, from high end shops in the Diamante Zone, where you’ll see tiny bikinis priced at $300 and up, to out of the way markets where a few pesos will get you a kitschy Mexican-style love potion. Wherever you happen to be at any moment in Acapulco, a shopping opportunity will be close by.
You’ll find a mix of Acapulco crafts fashioned from regional materials, including colorful wooden masks, basketwork, coconut carvings and objects fashioned from palm leaves. Locally made gold and silver jewelry shines bright, while some works of artistry utilize materials from the sea, such as vivid shells, starfish and seahorses. For unique regional objects, search out molcajetes, which are stone mortars cut from basalt, and mutates, carved stones used for grinding corn.
Mexicans like to look good and they are serious brand name shoppers. A visitor may wonder if it’s the law to wear Aeropostale or Hollister. If you feel the same way about brand name goods, make tracks for one of the Golden Zone or Diamond Zone malls.
You could spend a whole day at La Isla Acapulco Shopping Village, located in the Diamante Zone. Strolling through the dozens of shops, you’ll find everything from Tommy Hilfiger to Prada. You’ll also have plenty of restaurants to choose from; there’s even a Starbucks if you need a caffeine fix. The spacious open-air mall is beautifully designed and landscaped, with lovely canals and fountains. Take a break at the movie theater with ten screens or come back in the evening to party at two onsite nightclubs.
La Costera along the Golden Zone is lined with shops, as well as two malls. Gran Plaza’s 135 stores are a major magnet for teens. The mall’s multi-screen cinema and refreshingly frigid air-conditioning is another big draw. The four-story Costera 125 is a step-down in quality but a step-up in local color. There are lots of shops selling clothing; you’ll also find quality Cuban cigars, a pool hall and bowling alley, where you can even place a bet in the venue’s sport’s book.
The open-air El Mercado de Artesanias is also on La Costera. This is the place to stock up on all kinds of Mexican souvenirs and gifts for the folks back home, from onyx chessboards to tacky T-shirts. Don’t be afraid to bargain and try to get the vendor to settle on a price somewhere around half of the original asking price. One rule of etiquette: if the vendor accepts your offer, it’s considered bad form to not follow up and make the purchase.
City markets offer a burst of local color. Aficionados can view stalls upon stalls of fruits, live roosters, fresh herbs – you name it – at a pair of markets: the mercado located at Colonia Progreso in the Progreso Neighborhood and the Mercado Campesino (Farmer Market). Schedule your visit to the markets in the morning, when activity is it’s at its peak.