World ? Caribbean & Central America ? Mexico

Mexico: One Week of Shopping

There's a lot of good shopping in Mexico, but this trip takes you to the most varied sites in the country. All the stops on this route are interesting for more than just shopping, so there will be plenty to keep everyone interested.

Days 1 & 2: Arrive in Mexico City

The happy hunting grounds for curios, antiques, decorative objects and one-of-a-kind handicrafts are concentrated in the Centro HistɃrico and the Zona Rosa. But just for kicks, check out the Saturday shopper's special at the Bazar del Sȥbado in the San Angel neighborhood. You never know what you'll find there.

Days 3 & 4: San Miguel de Allende

This comfortable town in the highlands 3 1/2 hours north of Mexico City is a pleasure to walk around in, with a great variety of sophisticated shops. Work you way though the streets in and around El Jardȷn, and make sure not to neglect the shops on Zacateros and Hernȥndez Macȷas streets. If you're willing to extend your trip another day, hire a car and driver for a trip to Dolores Hidalgo to load up on inexpensive talavera pottery, and to Guanajuato to see the creations of local famous ceramists, Capelo and Gorky Gonzȥlez. From San Miguel you can have your things shipped back home.

Days 5 & 6: Guadalajara

Take the deluxe ETN bus for the 5-hour trip. Your objective will be the craft towns of Tlaquepaque and Tonalȥ for all manner of furniture, handicrafts, art, jewelry, and decorative objects. Walk up and down pedestrian-only Independencia and enter whatever shops strike your fancy; there are plenty to choose from, and everyone is helpful and low-key in approaching customers. If you want to be more methodical, get a list of shops from the tourism office. For bargains and to have something custom made, go to Tonalȥ, where nearly 400 local talleres (workshops) work with all manner of materials.

Day 7: Arrive in Puerto Vallarta

Come for the galleries and the Huichol art; stay as long as you want to rest and relax. Then, when you're ready, fly back home.

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