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Topics include Transportation, Mexico: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Shopping in Cozumel is really an experience. There's an array of items from Kahlua and tequila to t-shirts, pottery and gold and silver jewelry. The store owners in Cozumel are more respectful of the visitors than in some other destinations. They expect you to barter, but they don't hassle you too much.
There's the main strip where the cruise ship visitors tend to gather near the ferry docks, but you can go deeper into the town to visit some of the less commercialized shops and stands. Bargains are to be found in Cozumel, especially if you are looking for silver. Then you can buy a nice hammock chair to relax in and dream of Cozumel when you get back home!
The downtown core has many small tourist shops, as well as several large grocery/variety chain stores. Of these, Chedraui was Cozumel's largest -- before the Mega opened in 2008. Chedraui stocks food, beer, liquor, prescription and OTC medicines, household and personal care products, clothing, and most anything else you may have forgotten to bring on vacation, and at reasonable prices considering how far many of the items travelled to be on the shelves. Besides the Chedraui there is a small shopping mall behind the store which contains shops and Cinepolis cinemas with 6 very modern cinemas.(some in English with sub-titles and some in Spanish) All in all, the Chedraui has really helped correct blunders made by travelers that left something at home they now need. It doesn't have everything but it's worth checking out.
The store is located about 15 minutes walk south of the town center along the waterfront street, General Rafael E. Melgar. It is right across from the Cozumel Palace and about 3 blocks north of the Hotel Cozumel and Scuba Club Cozumel.
Cozumel’s newest grocery store (11/2008), Mega, opened to rave reviews. It's larger the older Chedraui supermarket and is owned by the largest supermarket/variety store chain in Mexico. One nice feature here is that they have a cashier lane where English is spoken -- almost impossible to find in Chedraui. For condo and apartment owners looking for a "USA" like shopping experience, Mega should be your first choice for grocery shopping. You will also find a large selection of famous-brand shampoos, soap, razors, etc. It has a sheltered, shaded parking (a real plus in Cozumel) and a deck in the rear. Mega has almost anything you will need as it is very similar to what Target is like in the U.S. The produce is fresh and the selection is good. They have a great selection of meat. They even have frozen bagels and pizza from the USA . There are independent retailers, such as GNC, Telcel and an ice cream shop on the first floor and MEGA occupies the second floor. ATM machines are located near the check outs. There is a cab stand out front so a rental car isn't needed and you don't need to flag a cab.
Located on General Rafael E. Melgar at Calle 11 Sur just south of Punta Langosta Mall; across the street from Jeannie's Waffle House.
One of the advantages of condo vacation stays is being able to eat (and sleep) on your own schedule. The drawback is making the food and beverage run to Mega or Chedraui. Te Lo Llevamos has solved that problem by offering grocery deliveries straight to your condo.Te Lo Llevamos will deliver groceries a 10% markup and delivery fee (fee varies on location-el centro, north end, south end). You place your order at least a week or two in advance of arrival.
Their website has a list of food staples for the “American” shopping experience and what one might need over the course of a week. Of course, you can add to this list as you need to. This is a great great time-saver so you can spend more time at the pool. If you forget a few things, you can always pick them up later.
The preliminary order is completed via their website. JC puts together the estimated cost. You then put down a 50% deposit via PayPal. When the food arrives, JC presents the receipts and you pay the balance at delivery in either dollars or pesos.
Be sure to specify whether substitutions are acceptable if you specify a brand name and it is not available.
Grocery lists on their website at: www.telollevamos.com.mx Their phone number is 987-872-5200 but you can do almost everything over the web. Juan Carlos and Adriana are the owners. You will also note they offer delivery services from various restuarants.
Among Cozumel's growing number of jewelry and souvenir shops, Cinco Soles is a real find! It showcases quality Mexican crafts and art objects. Everything from silver jewelry, pottery, paper mache, onyx, fine tequilas and other liquors, wearable art, and children's toys can be found there. Very nice women's clothing boutique hidden inside (keep heading north when you reach the tequila.) Costumed sales women are always available to help you choose your purchases which can be mailed stateside as well. No bargaining for price here but the prices are very fair for the better-to-best lines of products it stocks.
Pancho's Backyard restaurant behind the shop is available for a shopping break, a refreshing cold drink or a delicious meal.
Located on General Rafael E. Melgar at Calle 8 Norte.
The Magic of Design is run by professional interior designer Luh McDevitt. Luh has over 25 years of commercial experience in interior design, including 7 years as a Director at prestigious Carole Korn Interiors in Florida, USA.
There's jewelry everywhere in San Miguel at good prices but much of it is the same. One place with a unique selection at reasonable prices is "Cozumel Bling", the windowed kiosk attached to the back of Wet Wendy's on Ave. 5 between Juarez and Calle 2. The stock is larger than what's on display, so be sure to ask to see more pieces. No bartering.
You should take the time to visit the work shop of Luis Calaca. This man has worked black coral all his life in Cozumel and his house/workshop its a must visit. Take your time and bend down to study all of the sculptures in his showcases. He also has a lot of silver jewelry for sale at good prices and the shop is a great place for earring and bracelet collectors. He furnishes certificates for his coral pieces, which are legal for export/import. Located on 20th Ave. between Juarez & Calle 2, west side of the street.
Regarding black coral purchases, as of Sept., 2009, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property has registered the trademark “Cozumel Black Coral” to a group of black coral craftsmen, to prevent fraud in the industry. Look for this trademark when you' are shopping for black coral jewelry and sculptures.
When you grow tired of talavera iguanas, paper mache fruit and catrinas, this new shop may be just the ticket. Blue Mar provides most of the pareos and batik dresses that you see in the tourist shops and stocks, oh, so much more! The store overflows with a broad selection of Indonesian home accessories, teak furniture, bedding and accent pillows, lamps, mirrors, jewelry, cotton clothing for men and women -- and huge Mexican Eagle kites! A good place to find charming and inexpensive gifts. One great item is their small wood palm tree that's designed to hold an earring collection. Located in the chalet-style house on the south side of Calle 11 Sur, immediately east of Ave. 10.
This new shop stocks fashion clothing and accessories as well as a proprietary line of hand made jewelry known as MoDa -- named for the Mother-Daughter team who make it. An ecletic and interesting mix of items. On the web at oulalaboutique.com Open 10am-4pm and 6-9pm Mon-Sat. Located in a pink building on Calle 7 Sur between Melgar and Ave. 5.
Monica and Lulu from the Humane Society have opened a store called "Funky Bazaar", located on the north side of Corpus Christi park. It features reasonably-priced, funky clothes, furniture, art and gifts. They also carry Humane Society t-shirts and pet accessories. Both Monica and Lulu speak English fluently and are happy to help you select an outfit. There is also a nice selection of men's shirts and shorts. Located on Calle 1a Sur in the pedestrian area of the plaza, a few doors east of Casa Denis.
Galleria Azul offers cut and etched blown-glass objects, paintings and photographs by local artists. Open Mon.-Fri. 11am - 7pm. First floor of the owner's home, #449 15th Ave. between Calles 8 & 10 Norte.
The painter Galo Ramirez Lopez welcomes visitors to his home/studio. Website Galo Studio Corner of Ave. 25 and Calle 1 near the mercado.
Kim Ham Garcia makes decorative and utilitarian metal works on the island -- napkin holders, lamps, wall decorations, signs, etc. Her work is very reasonably priced and makes great gifts. Available for sale at Galeria Azul, Rock N Java, Aqua Safari and Blue Angel resort. W
At the very high end are carved shell cameos by Miguel Angel Mejia Martin. These are difficult to describe -- extremely beautiful and detailed. Check his website atLocated on Calle 5 between Aves. 10 & 15.
Mexico produces lots of high-quality textiles but most of the tourist shops only stock basic cotton blankets and open-weave hammocks.
Traditional Mayan crocheted nylon (outdoor) and cotton (indoor) hammocks in a variety of sizes are available at the Hammock Shop inside the Plaza Del Sol artisan building in the main square. These are beautiful, diamond-patterned hammocks that don't have wood spreaders and are made for comfort and durability, so they're a bit more expensive than the standard fare. Easy to pack for home, too. The shop's owner can get most colors and sizes quickly if you don't see exactly what you want. Bargain for the best deal.
Wool blankets are another great bargain. Hand-loomed in a huge range of colors and designs (or plain) in sizes from throw to king. Cinco Soles sometimes has them but for best selection check out the warehouse on Ave. 5 across from Rentadora Isis. (Closed for siesta; bargaining necessary; cash only.) You'll also find fine cotton tablecloths, runners and place-mats here as well as cotton blankets and many other products there.
Yard goods: If you sew, there are usually many bolts of Mexican cotton fabric at the large fabric store inside the Chedraui mall. Another traditional Mexican fabric is oil cloth in wild prints and solid colors. Chedraui usually has it in their fabric department. Another large fabric store to check out is located on A.R. Salas between Aves. 15 & 20, north side of the street.
This is all over the place, but for a little fun off the beaten path, check out the No Name Talavera Shop on Calle 1 Sur between Aves. 20 and 25. This is a rabbit-warren type place full of talavera style and terra cotta items as well as baskets (look up) and assorted other "stuff." Bargaining is OK. Bringing pesos and speaking some spanish will improve your bargaining. The quality of the design on the Talavera style pieces was only matched at the Viva Mexico store. These two stores carry raised dot and extremely detailed designs. Stores like Cinco Soles had larger selections of exact match pieces, but the designs were definitely more simplified and more expensive.
Another good place for Talavera accessories as well as other ceramics (especially for home decoration) is on Ave. 65 just north of Calle 11 Sur.
Vanilla extract is available in tourist shops throughout the island... Now the ground gets a little shakey as product labeling is by no means standardized. Vanilla is native to Mexico and Mexican extract is esteemed for its high quality and spicey flavor -- pure extract, that is! It would be nice if bottles were labeled "100% extracto de vainilla pura" and "Vainilla imitacion" but that isn't always the case.
Pure extract may be dark or white (for all-white items like wedding cakes) in color and will contain at least 35% alcohol plus any of the following: water, sugar or dextrose, corn syrup, caramel, colors, glycerin, propylene glycol and other stabilizers. Imitation extract will have significantly less alcohol. The vanilla at Los Cinco Soles is pure but tourist priced. The small grocery at the corner of the airport road and the malecon, Sedena, carries Tlilxochitl pure vanilla -- a 4oz bottle costs under 20 pesos.
Or you may want to skip this stuff and head for the salsa picante...
Cozumel shopping section on This is Cozumel - an up-to-date directory of stores in Cozumel, from pharmacies to jewelry to ceramics and more.