The word "souvenir," from the French verb for “to remember” connotes something truly memorable. Returning from vacation, many people bring back items they feel will remind them of a sense of place –especially from locations and destinations they feel are special and a bit exotic.
For those soon boarding flights to Cancun, Mexico, here are some ideas for souvenirs that will help you capture –and preserve—good times in the sun and sand.
Sombreros: Any handwork, particularly made out of straw, from baskets to placemats to sombreros, make for good souvenirs. You don’t have to wear a sombrero –although go for it if the occasion calls for it. Many Cancun sombreros are Stetson style, with beautiful embroidered bands for colorful display.
Woodcrafts: Cancun is also a good place to hunt for authentic woodcrafts. Woodcarving, especially brightly painted and whimsical ones, were important to the local arts and crafts development of Cancun. Some good areas to shop for wood carvings and souvenirs in general include the El Centro neighborhood, as well as the shops in Playa del Carmen.
Alebrije: These are brilliant and often fantastical looking sculptures that are really inspired by Mexican Folk Art. Originally made out of cardboard and paper mache, they are now made with wood. Collect the brightly painted sculptures of wild, unnaturally colored creatures and you can turn your home into a museum that everyone will want to visit.
Pottery: There’s no question—Cancun is a delightful place to shop for brightly colored pieces of pottery. Some are bowls, big pots, catchalls—whatever strikes your fancy, these are often hand painted with some of the brightest designs of flora and fauna. Be sure to carry them carefully and never check them in on flights since they are apt to break.
Blankets: These are very popular souvenirs, and some are made of cotton, some of fleece. Flamingo Mall is a cheap place to get souvenirs in Cancun. Most blankets are very colorful, with bright stripes of contrasting shades running side to side.
CC Flickr photo credit: Eduardo Robles Pacheco