Contemporary art and design meet traditional Mexican handicrafts at the Playacar Center Shopping Mall.
Playacar is a sprawling, self-contained community that has a beach, ruins, and golf club minutes away from the bustling crowds of Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. In this minimalist haven, you can find Mexican folk art, contemporary art, fine jewelry, embroidered clothing, and a bit of kitsch for the friend who loves “Day of the Dead” skull necklaces.
Paint your own pottery is available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. if you want to make, as well as buy, your own art. Free workshops are offered daily in the back patio and open to all ages. You purchase the piece you want to paint. For events, you can check out the calendar on Facebook.
It’s also one of the few shopping malls designed with “selfies” in mind. Snap a selfie next to a ginormous wooden statue or a sandstone Mayan warrior on the outdoor terrace. Have a friend or someone nearby take a photo as you spread your arms in front of large, wooden wings and imagine yourself taking flight.
Closer to earthly concerns, the shopping mall also has free wifi so you can upload and post your selfies and a convenience store. You can also rent a car, book a local tour, or even have your teeth cleaned. Las Hijas de Tostadas (“Daughters of the Toast”) offers a range of tostadas to suit your taste and specialties like watermelon ceviche served with tuna, habanero skin and a touch of sesame oil.
Playacar Center Shopping Mall packs a diverse shopping experience in an intimate space.
Mundo Huichol (Huichol World) is a wonderland of vibrant, innovative, and playful arts and crafts. Lots of Huichol art with traditional themes such as the Day of the Dead skulls and Catrina figures are on display. Check out the cheeky mix of folk art ceramics with American pop-culture icons like a porcelain statue of Elvis and a Catrina skeleton dressed as Michael Jackson.
Grand Bazaar brings the lamps and decorative objects of the Turkish bazaar to Mexico. Dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries, ceramics play a prominent role in Turkish art and design. Turquoise, cobalt blue, violet and green glazes are imaginatively used to create stunning bowls, vases, plates, and coffee/tea sets. You can even buy mini, gold, lamps to rub and make your wishes come true.
Barra Artesanal boasts the “best draft beer” in Playa del Carmen. It has been known to feature IPAs, local and imported craft beers. Take a well-earned shopping break. Pull up a stool. Order a cold one and judge for yourself. Check with the staff to see if you can get a beer tasting. They also have tequila and mescal.
My Friend grocery store and mart is your pal if you need convenience store staples like chips, cold drinks, spirits, artisanal chocolate, and over-the-counter medicine. Walking the stairs temporarily transports you from snacks to paradise as the alcove is painted like the inside of a cenote, complete with turtle and fish figurines.
Discover the best souvenir shopping in the Riviera Maya in our comprehensive guide.