We love a good bargain – don’t you?
If you like the idea of haggling like a pro and making out like a bandit, then buying souvenirs from Mexico is going to be one of the best times of your life!
Okay, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but shopping the local markets and stores is always one of the highlights of our Mexican vacations.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, there are tons of cool things to buy, from hand-crafted mezcal to colorfully decorated maracas.
You’ll come across many unique mementos you won’t find anywhere else.
Best Mexican souvenirs
We’ve enjoyed countless trips to Cabo San Lucas, the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende and elsewhere in Mexico.
So we’ve had the chance to discover what we love best when it comes to gifts and souvenirs.
From its unbeatable local cuisine to its rich cultural history, Mexico is a place you want to remember – which is why you’ll want to bring home some great souvenirs from your time there.
To help you take advantage of the best shopping opportunities during your Mexican travels, we’ve put together this handy list of the 23 best souvenirs from Mexico.
1) Mexican blankets
We love Mexican blankets!
They’re a bit bulky to pack, but it’s totally doable. We should know – we’ve done it!
We think they clearly deserve a spot at the top of any list of the best things to buy in Mexico, seeing that we have so many in our own home.
The blankets are perfect for using on the deck outside, to snuggle up in while watching TV or even as picnic blankets.
Totally worth haggling for!
2) Lucha libre mask
These masks are always fun souvenirs from Mexico – both to shop for and give away!
Lucha libre is Mexico’s wildly popular and entertaining form of professional wrestling, much like the USA’s WWE. Watching a lucha libre match is one of the most fun things to do in Mexico, actually!
You’ll find lucha libre masks everywhere in the street markets in a huge array of colors and characters.
If you’re a lucha libre fan, or know of a fan at home, bringing back a popular character like El Santo or Blue Demon will score you some huge points.
3) Talavera pottery
Talavera pottery is a traditional craft that was initially introduced to Mexico by Spanish artisans during the colonial period.
The bright colors and intricate patterns have since become a signature of Mexican design.
The best place to find Talavera pottery is in Puebla, located in central Mexico. This colonial era city is known for its deep-rooted tradition in pottery.
There are so many beautiful pieces to choose from – plates, bowls, cups, spoons, platters, salt and pepper shakers – and they make great gifts from Mexico.
You can pay top dollar (or should we say top peso?) for authentic pieces from well-established galleries that include the DO4 on the bottom, which signifies official Denominación de Origen status.
For more affordable pieces – if the DO4 status isn’t that important to you – you’ll find plenty of options at the markets and smaller ceramic shops.
Nothing trumpets “Mexican fiesta” louder than margaritas!
We promise you that your family and friends will not be disappointed to get a bottle of tequila – a gift of 100% agave azul tequila – as a souvenir from Mexico.
The prices are way better and the variety is much greater than what you’ll find at home.
If you prefer to keep the tequila as a Mexican gift to yourself, when you get home, share the love by inviting friends over for some of the best homemade margaritas using traditional recipes and your top-quality Mexican tequila.
Don’t be surprised if your guests end up sticking around a while for refills!
Clase Azul, Herradura and Don Julio are some favorite tequila brands.
5) Mexican glassware
And while you’re buying tequila, how about some margarita or tequila shot glasses too?
They come in various colors.
We have some of the most popular margarita glasses – clear Mexican glass with bright blue rims. But you can find them with green or red accents and many other different patterns.
Then you can truly feel like you’re back in Mexico while drinking your tequila gift to yourself once home.
And then there’s mezcal, which has a smokier flavor compared to tequila.
If you’re headed to Oaxaca, especially, browse the mezcal there, as the best bottles are found in the Oaxaca region.
Like tequila, mezcal also comes from agave plants.
But the artisanal way for making mezcal is to cook the hearts of the agave plant inside earthen pits, lined with lava rocks and filled with charcoal and wood – which lends the liquor that smoky flavor.
Mezcal is becoming more popular in the United States and Canada.
Bring home a bottle of good quality mezcal, and next time you have friends over, you can impress them with your sophisticated spirit selection by offering a shot of mezcal.
Quality labels include Del Maguey and Yola.
The most traditional Mexican clothing item a woman can buy as a souvenir from Mexico is the huipil.
These cotton fabric blouses stand out for their exquisite embroidery, usually in the form of flowers and other beautiful patterns.
You can find huipils at every local market – and you can haggle your way to some amazing deals!
The long blouses make great beach cover-ups for ladies if you’re looking for some traditional yet practical Mexican gifts to bring home.
8) Mexican chocolate
Everyone knows a serious chocolate lover – even if you are that someone!
And Mexican chocolate is among the finest in the world. In Mexico City, we savored the best hot chocolate ever at Café Tacuba. Yum!
Actually, here’s a fun Mexican food fact: Mexico is the birthplace of chocolate.
We highly recommend adding chocolate to your list of things to bring back from Mexico.
Powdered chocolate mix, hot chocolate chunks and other chocolate delights also make much-appreciated Mexican gifts for folks at home.
9) Taxco silver jewelry
Taxco (aka, the “City of Silver”) is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Mexico.
And it’s renowned for its silver jewelry, exquisitely crafted by skilled local artisans.
The jewelry originates from the silver mines in Taxco, but you can find Taxco jewelry throughout Mexico.
Silver jewelry is one of our favorite things to buy in Mexico.
The items are beautiful and unique – plus, they’re small and easy to pack – making them one of the best Mexican souvenirs to transport back home.
Whether you actually use it in the kitchen to make something or not, molinillos are great things to bring back from Mexico.
A molinillo is a Mexican culinary tool that resembles a wooden whisk. It’s used to create that beautiful froth in their traditional hot chocolate.
If you’re bringing back hot chocolate bars (blocks) or powder as a Mexican souvenir (see #8), why not grab a molinillo to complete the package!
11) Mexican vanilla
Did you know that real Mexican vanilla is considered the best in the world, right up there with vanilla from Madagascar?
This makes it among the most coveted Mexico souvenirs, especially with cooking and baking enthusiasts.
Warning: Do not buy the vanilla you find on grocery store shelves and in souvenir shops. That bottle of vanilla extract you’re eyeing there is not the real thing.
In fact, cheap vanilla in most of these shops is made of synthetic ingredients, like coumarin, which is banned in the U.S.
To make sure you get the real stuff – pure vanilla from beans grown from orchids – you’ll need to poke around a trusted specialty shop.
You’ll pay a lot more for real vanilla, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a premium product (and the real deal).
12) Mexican musical instruments
Wooden flutes. Colorful maracas (Mexican music shakers). Even hand-painted guitars!
These are also fun mementos of Mexico to bring home. Hey, you can even form your own mini mariachi band!
13) Mexican salsa
Salsa is by far the best Mexican condiment ever – but you probably already knew that.
And what better place to find the best Mexican salsa than in Mexico? So naturally, this should definitely be on your list of what to buy in Mexico.
There’s a wide variety of salsas to explore, from mildly spicy to habanero hot. The most popular are salsa verde (made with tangy tomatillos) and the classic tomato-based salsa roja.
For a real treat, spoil yourself with an exotic Mexican fruit variety, like delicious mango or pineapple salsa.
Bring some back as Mexican souvenirs and make your friends really happy too!
14) Mexican coffee beans
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you’ll appreciate the fact that Mexico is the world’s largest producer of organic coffee beans.
A batch of small-farm organic coffee is something you can enjoy for many mornings after you’ve already said adios to your vacation.
Coffee is also one of those much-loved Mexican gifts that you can bring back easily for anyone on your gift list, from family members to co-workers – you really can’t go wrong.
15) Barro negro pottery
If you’re looking for a truly unique souvenir from your Mexican travels, be on the look-out for barro negro (black clay) pottery.
These highly polished, black clay pottery pieces are stunning.
There are also other traditional varieties that are more colorful, like barro verde (green clay) and barro rojo (red clay).
If you know any avid Mexico food lovers and cooks, achiote is one of the best souvenirs from Mexico you could give them.
Achiote is a red spice extracted from the seeds of the achiote tree (aka annatto seeds). It’s a staple of Mexican cuisine, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula and Oaxaca regions.
A common use is to make achiote paste – a blend of the seeds with vinegar and herbs – to marinate meat and fish.
To make your own traditional Mexican-style dishes, achiote will definitely kick the flavor up a notch!
17) Leather goods
When souvenir shopping for small Mexican items that are easy to pack and transport back home, leather goods do the trick.
You can find artisan leather goods like bracelets, bookmarks, coin pouches, belts and other small items that are inexpensive and make wonderful gifts.
Get a discount by buying in bulk and have extra goodies on hand – in case you get home and realize you forgot to buy a souvenir for someone!
Though bigger, you can also find one-of-a-kind leather sandals, hand-tooled boots, even saddles.
18) Children’s toys
Mexico has some of the coolest, most original toys we’ve ever seen. We let our imaginations run wild at the very whimsical toy museum in San Miguel de Allende.
Marionetas (puppets), spinning tops, little wooden trucks, hand-stitched dolls and animals – plenty of interesting toys will catch your eye!
If you’re not sure what to buy in Mexico as great souvenirs for kids, or for anyone’s inner child, Mexican children’s toys are your best bet.
19) Mole sauce
It’s those flavors of Mexico that you really need to capture while you can and bring back with you.
Any mole sauce or mix that doesn’t come directly from Mexico just doesn’t taste the same.
Made from chiles, spices, tomatillos, chocolate and nuts, mole is used for sauces in traditional Oaxacan cuisine.
It comes in delightful varieties, like mole poblano (red mole) and mole negro (black mole) – which are the most popular chocolate-based varieties.
There’s also mole verde (green mole) made with pumpkins seeds, mole amarillo (yellow mole) that doesn’t include chocolate at all, and many more.
You can buy mole paste or mole powder from local vendors or markets.
If visiting Oaxaca city, especially, don’t miss the opportunity to pick up some mole.
20) Day of the Dead figurines
Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is world-renowned for its unique colorful celebrations in honor of those who have passed – as well as for its depictions of Day of the Dead skeletons and figurines.
A Disney movie, Coco, even draws its cultural inspiration from this poignant Mexican tradition.
The best part of buying Day of the Dead figurines is their authenticity. We love them as iconic Mexican home decor items, and they make wonderful Mexican-themed gifts.
21) Prescription drugs
Maybe prescription drugs aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of souvenirs in Mexico.
But once you see how much you can save, stocking up on some prescription drugs will definitely be top of mind on your Mexican holiday. They’re a really good buy in Mexico!
Just be sure to check the rules or restrictions for clearing Canadian or U.S. customs (or your country’s customs) with prescriptions that you buy in Mexico.
22) Beach wrap
Just like you can never have too many beach sandals, you can never have too many sarongs in different colors to tie up over your bathing suit as a bohemian beach cover-up.
And with the incredible deals you can get in Mexico, this is where you’re going to want to stock up.
The beach vendors in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo always have lots of colorful wraps to choose from.
While you’re at it, bargain for a few extras and bring them back as gifts for folks at home.
They’re so lightweight that you won’t have any trouble fitting several into your luggage.
23) Huichol beaded jewelry
Need even more Mexican gift ideas?
Well, another lovely souvenir idea for what to bring back from Mexico that’s not too expensive and easy to pack is Huichol beaded jewelry.
The Huichol, an indigenous group of Mexican people who mostly live in the Sierra Madre Mountains, specialize in intricate creations made from tiny colorful beads.
The traditional designs and precise craftsmanship make Huichol beaded bracelets and necklaces particularly attractive.
Now you know about the best souvenirs from Mexico!
So there you have it, amigos – this brings you up to speed on Mexican souvenirs.
When you’re looking for things to buy in Mexico, there’s no shortage of authentic unique items that you’ll want to take the time to haggle for.
Once you land your first killer bargain, we guarantee you’ll be hooked. You’ll be packing away more precious Mexican souvenirs and gifts than you can imagine – just make sure you can close your suitcase!
Have we missed any authentic souvenirs or gifts from Mexico?
Are there other items on your Mexico list of must-have best souvenirs?
We’d love to hear about them! Tell us what they are in the Comments below!
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About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Tuesday 10th of January 2023
I'm heading to Mexico on Sunday and loved your articles on Mexico. But I'd like to see more thought given to "haggling" for hand-made products. In my experience, most people who make these items are hard-working, very skilled and trying to make a living with their work. Relative to what we have, a few dollars makes a huge difference to them. I would love to see travel writers talk less about bargaining and more about the quality of work and how everyone should have a living wage. (The same is true with checking if there's a service charge on bills and not leaving a tip.) Anyway, keep up the good work!
Janice and George
Friday 13th of January 2023
Thanks, Marie, for taking the time to comment. You make a great point. With increasing automation, hand-made crafts and products are becoming more of a rarity. We personally value the time and care that local artisans put into making their crafts - and they make very special mementos. (We've collected quite a few from our travels around the world!)
Saturday 29th of May 2021
I bought little turtles where their heads go up and down. I have them in my car. Love them. Wish I could buy more. Brought some back for kids on my bus too.
Janice and George
Sunday 30th of May 2021
Those head-bobbing turtles sound very cute :-). You'll just have to plan another trip to Mexico to buy more of them!