Los Cabos (often called simply "Cabo") is actually two different towns...Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

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Finding the good deals in Los Cabos, Mexico

 

Once you've been to Los Cabos, it should come as no surprise that many of Cabo's visitors are here mainly to SHOP. We offer incredible original art, beautiful handicrafts, stylish clothing, and of course lots of silver jewelry! This is your guide to find what you're looking for.

 

The shopping scene in Cabo generally takes place in small independently-owned stores, but there are several modern malls. Downtown (‘El Centro’) Cabo San Lucas is the primary center of commerce, and downtown San Jose del Cabo to a lesser extent. Although downtown offers more authentic Mexican gifts, the Puerto Paraiso Mall caters to shoppers with more ex-pensive and sophisticated taste. Unique silver jewelry and pottery made from local artists are popular items for tourists to take home. After spending a little time here you’ll find that each store and vendor has a unique variety of novel gifts.

 

Boulevard Marina and the nearby streets that back up to the main square make up Cabo San Lucas' main downtown shopping district. Since the opening of Puerto Paraiso Mall, this area has been referred to by some as “Old Town” and offers just about every gift that one could imagine. Located by the harbor, Boulevard Marina is a magnificent area to browse as you walk through the plazas past little boutiques that line both sides of the street. You can (and should!) spend an entire day wandering about and finding all the goodies you never knew you couldn’t live without! There are so many wonderful home furnishings, Mexican art pieces, clothes, and other decorative merchandise to bring home, so remember to pack light so as to leave room in your suitcases for all the beautiful things you’ll want to bring home!

 

SILVER and JEWELRY: You’ll find an abundance of silver here…Mexico is a leading producer of ‘plata’ and the beautiful jewelry that can be made from this wonderful metal, so you’ll find lots of bargains to be had. True silver is stamped “.925”, but beware that much of the ‘silver’ sold on the beach is actually ‘alpaca’, a lower-quality silver metal, even though it may have been stamped “.925”. This doesn’t mean you won’t find beautiful rings, bracelets, and necklaces from the beach vendors…they just might not last as long and will require more frequent polishing to maintain their shine.

 

The highest quality silver jewelry is sold in the stores. Prices typically are not marked, but instead based on the weight of the piece. Your prospective selection will be placed on an electronic scale, and the weight multiplied by the store’s price-per-gram. Most stores will allow a little ‘wiggle room’ for negotiation, especially if you are buying multiple items or a single large piece. Native gemstones included in jewelry typically include jade and polished coral or onyx. You’ll find silver stores all over town.

 

THE FLEA MARKET: Come with your beach bag empty so you will have extra room for goodies when you go home. Typical handmade Mexican crafts can be found here, few really unique items, but many nicely made textiles, straw hats and silver jewelry. Pick a soft shawl or a bracelet to go with your dinner outfit, or think ahead a bit further and select some pottery to take home. Credit card acceptance varies by vendor. All will accept United States dollars but beware of poor exchange rates. Boulevard Marina in Cabo San Lucas.

 

ART GALLERIES: Cabo San Lucas ‘art scene’ has been growing over the past 5 years with new galleries opening all over downtown and in or near the marina. Plaza Paraiso shopping center is home to half a dozen nice galleries featuring everything from local paintings and sculptures to fine art imported from around the world.

 

In San Jose del Cabo, local galleries include Pez Gordo, located in San Jose del Cabo's historic district. Pez Gordo has become the area's home for contemporary art. Owner/Artist, Dana Lieb, began the gallery after realizing the dearth of exhibition spaces available to emerging artists. Since opening in 2000, the gallery's roster has grown from 15 to more than 40 artists based in Los Cabos and throughout Mexico.

 

CLOTHING, LEATHER, SANDALS: Cabo will offer you a wide variety of clothing options for sale. Of course there are lots of silly T-shirts available nearly everywhere, but higher forms of fashion are appreciated here too. Notable: Very popular is ‘manta’, a light and airy cotton fabric that makes perfect warm-climate clothing. Mexico is famous for hand-worked leather goods, and Los Cabos is no exception. You’ll find leather belts, bags, sandals, and clothing from jackets to pants to hats to dresses everywhere, downtown and around the marina.

 

TALAVERA POTTERY: The beautiful multi-colored pottery you may know as ‘Mexican style’ is actually called Talavera, and Cabo has plenty of it. From flower pots to dinnerware, vases to platters, figurines, and even sinks and toilets…you’ll see it all over town. Look for pieces marked ‘lead-free’ on the back of bottom to insure that’s what you’re getting. Talavera is pretty sturdy stuff…still, you want to pack it carefully to get it home in one piece, and wash it carefully once you arrive.

 

Much of the Talavera in Los Cabos comes from Guadalajara, Puebla, or the little town of Delores Hidalgo. Notable: Necri has a large assortment colorful Talavera pottery that make lovely gifts and take up precious little suitcase room, located on Blvd. Marina across from Plaza Nautica in Cabo San Lucas and on Boulevard Mijares, No. 16 in San Jose del Cabo.

 

CIGARS: While you can enjoy genuine Cuban cigars here (Mexico is still on friendly terms with Cuba), don’t discount those that originate here! Mexico has fine tabacco producing regions as well, and you can find fine cigars hand-rolled to your specifications here. Several shops in Viejo Vallarta along Vallarta Street just south of the Cuale River will make a custom box of cigars to your desires. You’ll find Cuban cigars as well, but if you’re a resident of the USA (or changing planes in the USA on your way back home), these are forbidden by outdated regulations, and will be confiscated by U.S. customs, and possibly incur you a hefty fine if found in your luggage. Canadian and citizens of other countries have little to worry about as long as their flight plans do not include a stop on U.S. soil.

 

TEQUILA: Tequila is Mexico’s gift to the world of the distilled-spirits drinker, and Los Cabos has plenty of opportunities for enjoying this classic Mexican liquor which is distilled in a small part of the Mexican mainland. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo you can sample the best of this magical liquor at a variety of stores around town, and of course in every bar, restaurant, cantina, and club. Although tequila is not distilled on the Baja, rocker Sammy Hagar and his Cabo Wabo nightclub offer their own special blend of tequila, called appropriately enough, “Cabo Wabo”. (For the full story on Tequila, see “Tequila!” on CaboSource.com)

 

HOME DECORATIONS: Cabo is a dream for those looking for unique home furnishings, art, and accents. Downtown Cabo San Lucas and the Marina are two places where you’ll find every type of home furnishing and decoration imaginable, from small accent pieces to entire furniture sets.

 

GLASSWARE: Everybody loves the fabulous blue-rimmed glassware famous in Mexico, but how do you get it home? Not to worry, the vendors of this beautiful Mexican art are also experts at packing so you’ll get it home all in one piece. Cabo San Lucas is home to one of the only glass factories on the Baja peninsula. At the Vitrofusion Glass Blowing Factory recycled glass is used to make beautiful vases and other glass items…if you arrive before 2pm, you can watch the artists at work. Located out on the bypass road to Todos Santos…any taxi driver can take you there.

 

THE MERCHANDISE COMES TO YOU ON THE BEACH! When you’re on the beach, all manner of merchandise will come to you in the form of the Cabo beach vendor. These wandering salesmen and women will offer you wood carvings, jewelry, blankets, shirts and wraps, lace, temporary tattoos, wind chimes, hair braiding, and more. It’s a great way to do business!: You with your cold drink in your hand, and the vendor doing his best to convince you why you need the particular item in question. Thus begins the bargaining game!

 

Here’s how it works: You start admiring an object, and the vendor asks you if you like it. You ask how much it costs, and he replies that it is 200 pesos. At this point you tell him that this is far too much money, and he replies by explaining about the fine quality of the item, how many days it took the craftsman to create this piece of art, and then asks how much you want to pay. You suggest that you might like to take it home with you if it were 75 pesos. He chuckles and tells you that this is simply not possible, as he has a wife and children to feed, but allows that he could bring his price down to 180 pesos. You in turn offer to pay 100 pesos, and on and on.

 

This can, if you like, go on for quite some time, until you reach a price at which you can both agree. Or, you can simply put the item back in his hands at any time and say that it’s just more than you can afford. Be aware that the vendor may agree finally to sell it to you at your last-offered price (which you are now rather obligated to accept), but to “please don’t tell anybody else”. This can be a way for both of you to save face and complete the transaction. This is the way business is and has been done in Mexico for years and years, and how friends are made as well!

 

Bartering should never be insulting. For the Mexican it is part of life and business; if it is not fun for you, stick to the stores with price tags on their merchandise. To insult someone's merchandise is down-right rude, and will only make you, and your fellow countrymen, look bad.

When you are not in the mood to do business, simply waggle your finger or shake your head at passing vendors when they ask for your interest…they will politely nod and move on.


 

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