Buying souvenirs from your Cancun trip doesn’t have to be a simple errand — you can find a true city experience.
Set in the Downtown area is Market 28, a large open-air shopping area where you can purchase anything from t-shirts to traditional Yucatan clothing, and even grab a local lunch while you’re there.
Market 28 stays open until around sunset, and a visit here will give you a peek into Cancun local life during your stay in the city.
Market 28 covers a full square block, creating a maze of interwoven passageways lined with small shops and stands.
Each store specializes in a different product. You’ll find tables covered in handmade jewelry. Shelves are stuffed with leather purses and boots. Traditional Maya clothing, like flowy, flower-embroidered huipil dresses are on display. If you’re looking for vacation wear, you can find sarongs and Cancun t-shirts.
Other typical trinkets include silver jewelry inlaid with colorful stones and Mexican cultural icons like brightly-painted ceramic skulls. Whatever souvenir you seek, you can quickly find it among the many rows of Market 28 shops.
At the center of the market lies an open-air area lined with different restaurants. You can grab a quick lunch of tacos or local seafood during a day of Cancun souvenir shopping.
The northern corner of Market 28 is aptly named “Plaza Bonita.” It is styled to look like a traditional Mexican street, lined with colorful buildings. The Plaza Bonita area offers a mix of local and tourist shopping, with beach clothes, shoe stores, a few repair shops, and more. It’s an especially good place to buy guayaberas (traditional Yucatan men’s dress shirts).
Shopping at Market 28 can feel overwhelming if you’re unaccustomed to outdoor markets. But once you know what to do, it turns into a fun and easy experience.
First, you’ll want to take a look at several shops before making a purchase. Many places sell the same products, so you can easily compare prices on identical items. This will help you with our second tip: keep in mind that all of the salespeople will haggle with you over the price. Having an idea of other vendors’ prices will give you a general idea of the fair rate (and some bargaining power).
Third, as you walk through the market, you’ll have salespeople calling out to tell you what products they sell, or directly inviting you to come in. If you’re not interested, the polite thing to do is simply respond, “No, gracias” and continue walking. The more you respond, the more the salesperson will keep trying to make a sale (or crack friendly jokes).
Fourth, Cancun weather can get pretty hot, especially in the afternoons. If you need a few minutes to cool off, step into one of the indoor silver shops, which usually have air conditioning. You’ll be able to keep cool, but keep in mind that the salespeople will immediately be trying to sell you some jewelry while you enjoy the air conditioning.
Last, the neighborhood surrounding Market 28 has several wonderful options for lunch, dinner, or a coffee after a day of shopping. We love cafes like Café con Gracia and Rooster (both within a few blocks of the market), as well as Indian restaurant Patravali or the famous La Parrilla with its amazing margaritas and tacos al pastor.
Market 28 sits in the center of Downtown Cancun. If you’re staying in the Hotel Zone, take the R-2 bus and tell the driver to drop you off at “Mercado Veintiocho.” They’ll let you off the bus just a few blocks from the market. (Just keep a sharp eye out because there is a pink building called “Plaza 28” selling souvenirs right by the bus stop, but keep in mind this is not the actual market.)
If you’re staying Downtown, you can reach Market 28 by taxi or possibly on foot. Market 28 is walking distance from places like Parque las Palapas, the ADO bus station, Avenida Tulum, and the main Downtown Walmart.
If you’re looking for something a little more local than souvenirs, we also love Cancun’s other outdoor shopping option: Market 23! You can read our guide to Market 23 shopping here.