I don’t usually buy much on my trips, because the stuff I really want — hand-made crafty items — are usually too expensive. But that wasn’t the case in my recent trip to the Yucatan. While good quality, hand-made items aren’t exactly cheap, they were well within my price range. Plus you can bargain for a lot of things. I’m not a good haggler, but I still don’t feel like I overpaid. I came away with a real swag bag of stuff. Such as…
- A hand-embroidered bag made in Chiapas for about $30. I loved the colors and pattern. I got it in a craft store in Valladolid, where you can’t really haggle.
- A cedar mask from a vendor in the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, for about $30, but I may have overpaid. These vendors are everywhere in Chichen Itza. You can often see them working right next to their tables. It’s kind of annoying to have the vendors calling out to you while you’re looking at some of the most famous examples of Mayan architecture, but there’s no getting around it.
- A jaguar whistle, also from Chichen Itza. I got it for about $5, but I may have underpaid. When you blow into it and move your hand over the hole on the bottom, it makes a sound like a jaguar roaring. But I can’t do it nearly as well as the vendors did. You hear them making this sound constantly in Chichen Itza.
- Maya chocolate. Cost about 100 pesos from a store in Valladolid. The Maya basically invented chocolate, so I wanted to try this more “authentic” version. It’s pretty good — a little chalkier than I’m used to, but good. Comes in many different flavors.
- Shells. Okay, so I didn’t buy these, but I thought I may as well include them. I found them on a deserted beach in Cozumel, which is a shell-collector’s paradise. I brought home a small conch, a light pink cowrie shell, and some other beauties.
Have you ever bought anything in the Yucatan?