Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Soumya
Ready to buy the best souvenirs from Mexico?
Shopping in Mexico can be fun especially where there’s so much to buy.
From coveted Mexican souvenirs like a piece of Talavera pottery to fun buys like vibrantly-colored alebrijes and rattling maracas, the list of things to bring back from Mexico is endless.
To be honest, souvenir shopping is one of my favorite things to do in Mexico.
It not only adds to my Mexican memorabilia but also allows me to learn something new about Mexican culture every time I pick up a unique art piece.
If you’re wondering what to buy in Mexico, go ahead and read this epic guide on the best cultural and foodie souvenirs to buy in Mexico.
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Best Cultural Souvenirs from Mexico
Talavera pottery, with its intricate hand-painted designs, is a beautiful Mexican souvenir to purchase on your travels.
Its origins trace back to the Spanish town of Talavera de la Reina, but it has become a distinctively Mexican craft after centuries of local influence.
The vibrant glazes and unique designs make Talavera pottery an incredibly special gift to bring home from Mexico.
You’ll find Talavera pieces in local markets, galleries and artisan stands throughout Mexico.
In Cholula, you can also see numerous 16th-century churches adorned with magnificent Talavera tiles.
Tile factories produced so much Talavera at that time that they donated the extras to churches and convents, giving them a unique Cholula look in the process.
Barro Negro pottery
Barro Negro pottery is another quintessential Mexican souvenir, cherished for its unique, glossy black finish.
Originating from Oaxaca, a region rich in black clay, Barro Negro pottery has a history that dates back to the earliest times of Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Oaxaca. We are talking as far as 500 BCE here.
A potter named Dona Rosa introduced an innovative pottery firing process in the mid-20th century. That gives Barro Negro pottery its distinctive shine and black color and sets it apart from other traditional Mexican pottery.
This sleek, dark pottery is found in various forms, from ornamental pieces to functional kitchenware.
Barro Negro skulls and candelabras are especially popular during Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead celebrations.
For the best Barro Negro pottery, make a beeline to the town of San Bartolo Coyotepec in Oaxaca, where Dona Rosa’s workshop still operates. You’re welcome to take a tour and purchase a souvenir.
Lucha Libre Masks
Lucha Libre masks are a symbol of Mexico’s vibrant wrestling culture. They are definitely one of the best things to buy in Mexico.
Lucha Libre is a form of free-style wrestling that started in Mexico in the early 1930s.
It involves wearing lucha libre masks by the wrestlers, or “luchadors”, as a part of their persona.
Available in a riot of colors and designs, the lucha libre masks make for a unique must-have souvenir. They also make cool gifts from Mexico for friends and family.
Luchador masks are not only great conversation pieces but also a fun way to immerse yourself in the local culture.
You can find these masks at numerous market stalls and souvenir shops throughout Mexico.
But for an authentic experience, head to a Lucha Libre match in Mexico City’s Arena Mexico. There, you’ll get a mask souvenir and can enjoy the high-energy spectacle yourself.
✦ Pro Tip: Keen to learn more about Mexican wrestling and luchador masks? Join this exciting half-day Lucha Libre guided tour in Mexico City.
Calaveras – A Unique Mexican Souvenir
Calaveras, or painted skulls, are vibrant and symbolic Mexican souvenirs that have become synonymous with the country’s Day of the Dead celebrations.
These colorful, hand-crafted skulls are typically made of sugar or clay and intricately decorated with striking patterns and imagery.
Sugar skulls are often used as treats while the clay ones are part of decorations during “Dia de los Muertos” festivities.
A Calavera is a tangible reminder of Mexico’s appreciation for life, death, and the beautiful fragility that encapsulates both.
For Mexicans, Calaveras remind them of their dead and give them a feeling of always being with them.
Mexican flower crowns
Mexican flower crowns, an iconic accessory in Mexican culture, offer a vibrant and personal way to remember your trip.
These floral crowns aren’t just beautiful. They’re a wearable piece of cultural history.
Often associated with prominent artist Frida Kahlo, who regularly featured them in her self-portraits, these crowns are a symbol of Mexican pride and identity.
Made from a wide variety of colorful blooms – both natural and artificial – these colorful tiaras are a wonderful thing to buy in Mexico.
As you walk through the bustling markets of Coyoacan in Mexico City, you’ll find an array of these crowns, each one more colorful and intricate than the last. Coyoacan is where Casa Azul or Frida Kahlo’s House is located.
Because of its connection to one of Mexico’s most beloved artists, a Mexican flower crown is a meaningful and stunning souvenir to bring home as a gift from Mexico.
Frida Kahlo souvenirs
Now, that we have already spoken about Kahlo’s flower crowns, let me tell you about some other Kahlo souvenirs that you can buy in Mexico.
Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most revered artists, and her influence is evident in the variety of gifts and everyday things available.
These range from colorful prints of her paintings to Frida-inspired jewelry, clothing, and household items.
Her face, often adorned with her signature floral crown and bold unibrow, is a common motif on T-shirts, mugs, and tote bags.
At the Casa Azul, Frida’s former home and now a museum dedicated to her life and work, you can find a wide selection of Frida-themed memorabilia.
In Mexico City’s La Cuidadela market, vendors sell handmade Frida dolls dressed in her iconic Tehuana clothing style.
Also, in the artsy neighborhood of Coyoacan, artisan boutiques offer beautifully crafted Frida-inspired silver jewelry.
Honestly, a Frida Kahlo souvenir isn’t just a memento of your Mexico trip. It’s a piece of history that carries the spirit of an extraordinary woman who braved all odds to become the best artist of her time.
✦ Pro Tip: Are you a diehard fan of Frida Kahlo like me? Then you must visit the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City. But the tickets sell out months in advance.
Check out my ticketing guide for Frida Kahlo Museum where I let you in on a trick on how to get your tickets even when sold out.
Otomi dolls, or Mexican rag dolls, are among the most charming souvenirs you can take home from your trip to Mexico.
They are also the most ubiquitous ones. You’ll find them everywhere – in large markets as well as with small street vendors.
Steeped in history, these cute rag dolls are meticulously handcrafted by the Mazahua-Otomi people, a native ethnic group in Central Mexico.
These dolls probably originated in the state of Queretaro which has a large Otomi population. Queretaro locals call these dolls “Marias”.
Each doll reflects unique cultural stories and traditions, often embroidered with vibrant threads. They are usually made from old clothes of family members, thus adding a very personal touch.
For a true collector’s item, head over to the Artisan Market in San Miguel de Allende or La Ciudadela in Mexico City. Here, you can find a diverse range of Otomi dolls, each one with its distinctive character.
📖 Related Read: Keen to learn more about Central Mexico? Check out our article on the 10 best Central Mexican cities to visit and all about their art & culture.
Arbol de la Vida Souvenirs
Arbol de la Vida, or “Tree of Life”, souvenirs, are one of the most symbolic items you can buy in Mexico.
These captivating clay sculptures are typically hand-painted in a riot of colors and meticulously detailed. They often depict scenes from Mexican folklore and religious traditions.
Originating from the magical town of Metepec, the Arbol de la Vida souvenir is as a stunning representation of Mexican beliefs.
It displays the interconnectedness of life and the universe, tying in elements of creation, nature, and spirituality.
What makes Arbol de la Vida souvenirs coveted is their intricate craftsmanship and deep cultural significance.
Each Arbol de la Vida is a unique work of art, often involving weeks of labor to mold, paint, and fire the clay.
To find the most authentic and high-quality Arbol de la Vida sculptures, visit the numerous artisan shops in Metepec, or explore the bustling markets in Mexico City.
Sombreros are perhaps the most iconic Mexican souvenir to buy on your travels here.
From revolutionaries like Emiliano Zapata to the lively bands of Mariachi music – sombreros have always defined the spirit of Mexico.
Originally designed to shield farm workers from the sun, these broad-brimmed hats have become a symbol of Mexican culture around the world.
Made from straw or felt, sombreros are beautiful representations of Mexican craftsmanship. Each hat is often embellished with beautiful embroidery or intricate beading.
Sombreros protect you from the sun especially when you’re busy exploring Mexico’s ancient pyramids and open-air ruins.
In my opinion, these stylish Mexican hats are one of the most useful things to buy in Mexico.
Tequila & Mezcal
Tequila and Mezcal are more than just spirits in Mexico.
They are a piece of the country’s rich heritage and tradition, making them one of the best Mexican mementos to bring home.
Derived from the agave plant, Tequila is synonymous with its namesake town in the state of Jalisco. Tequila lovers can tour distilleries, witness the production process, and sample varieties straight from the barrel.
On the other hand, Mezcal, with its distinctive smoky flavor, originates from Oaxaca. It’s crafted from several types of agave, including the wild varieties, giving it a unique, rustic taste.
For the finest Tequila, head to La Rojena or the Jose Cuervo Distillery. This is the oldest distillery in Latin America in Tequila, Jalisco. Several guided tours of Tequila like this one also include the Jose Cuervo Distillery.
To explore the diverse world of Mezcal, the local markets and Mezcalerias in Oaxaca are your best bet. Consider joining a distillery tour like this one and learn all about the production process and sample some before buying.
Huichol Beaded Jewelry & Mementos
Huichol jewelry, adorned with vibrant beads, is a beautiful reflection of Mexico’s indigenous Huichol tribe’s rich cultural heritage.
Every piece of Huichol jewelry tells a story of ancestral traditions and spiritual beliefs.
The craftsmen meticulously arrange tiny, colorful beads into intricate designs, often representing sacred symbols like cactus, deer, and eagles.
The Huichol tribe resides in the Sierra Madre Occidental range, primarily in the states of Nayarit, Zacatecas, and Jalisco, where this stunning craftwork originates.
Authentic Huichol jewelry can be found in local markets across these states.
For a curated collection, consider visiting the Museo Zacatecano in Zacatecas City, where you can explore a vast range of Huichol art, including their signature beadwork jewelry.
Huarache shoes are a useful Mexican souvenir that can be easily carried.
These are hand-woven leather sandals that have a history rooted in pre-Hispanic Mexican culture.
What makes them different from traditional shoes is their unique design that offers both comfort and durability.
Originally, they were made by farmers and peasants due to their practicality and versatility.
Today, huarache shoes have evolved into a popular fashion statement. Various styles are available, ranging from casual slip-ons to more sophisticated designs.
Visit the bustling markets of Mexico City to find a wide range of huarache shoes.
Embroidered huipils are one of the most beautiful souvenirs to buy in Mexico.
They are vibrant, hand-embroidered dresses that are decorated with intricate floral and geometric patterns.
Huipil designs typically have cultural or even spiritual significance and are specific to the region where each huipil is made.
With origins in the highlands of Central Mexico, huipils are a symbol of identity of indigenous communities.
Visitors can find a wide range of these traditional dresses in local markets throughout Mexico, particularly in regions like Oaxaca and Chiapas, known for their rich textile tradition.
If you want to shop in Mexico City, the La Ciudadela market also offers a vast array of huipils.
Mexican Blankets or Saltillo Serape
Mexican blankets, also known as “Serape” or “Saltillo Serape” make for an excellent souvenir from Mexico.
These vibrant, woven blankets showcase rich, colorful stripes, often with intricate patterns that go all the way back to Mexico’s pre-Columbian history.
Initially used as ponchos, Mexican blankets have evolved into versatile items, serving as stylish home decor or warming cover-ups.
During our early morning boat tour in the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, our host offered us the serapes that kept us warm and comfy.
Originating from the city of Saltillo in the northeastern state of Coahuila, the Saltillo Serape blankets have become emblematic of Mexican craftsmanship.
Visit the local markets in Saltillo for a genuine experience.
You can also find a vast selection of these beautiful blankets in most tourist markets across Mexico, including the numerous markets in Mexico City.
Maracas or Mexican Musical Souvenirs
Maracas, commonly associated with Latin and Caribbean music, are among the most popular musical souvenirs to bring back from a trip to Mexico.
These percussion instruments, typically made of hollow gourds filled with beans or seeds, produce a distinctive rattling sound when shaken. Therefore, they are also called shakers.
With origins in the indigenous cultures of Central America, maracas were initially used for religious ceremonies and traditional music.
However, now in Mexico, they have become a symbol of the country’s vibrant musical heritage.
They prominently feature during many Mexican festivals such as Christmas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
Travelers can find a variety of maracas in Mexico City’s markets or in the artisan markets of Guadalajara and Morelia.
Often done as a day trip from Mexico, the Silver Town of Taxco is a must-visit destination for those seeking high-quality silver souvenirs.
The city’s reputation for silver production dates back to the colonial era.
Even today, it continues to be a leading silver producer on the global stage.
The allure of Taxco silver lies in its superior quality and intricate designs.
Skilled local artisans meticulously handcraft each piece, resulting in unique and authentic Mexican souvenirs.
Whether you’re looking for jewelry, utensils, or decorative items, Taxco silver guarantees a memento that marries traditional artistry with modern aesthetics.
Head to Taxco’s bustling silver markets, such as the Mercado de Plata, to find an array of such treasures.
Additionally, many of the city’s small shops, particularly those along the cobbled streets of the Centro district, offer a vast collection of silver pieces.
Make sure to browse a few different places to find the perfect piece, and remember, bargaining is part of the shopping experience in Mexico!
✦ Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the best silver jewelry, I recommend that you head to Taxco from Mexico City. Join this guided tour that’ll allow you to visit a certified silver workshop in Taxco and chance to buy authentic silver jewelry.
Alebrijes are vibrantly colored toys of mythical creatures.
Representing fantasy creatures, these alebrijes were first created by Pedro Linares Lopez in Mexico City during the 1940s from papier mache.
Later, a wood sculptor Manuel Jimenez Ramirez created Oaxaca alebrijes from copal wood and hand-painted with vibrant patterns.
Over time, alebrijes became an integral part of Mexican craft scene.
Alebrijes can be found throughout Mexico, but the best place to buy alebrijes is in the state of Oaxaca.
The Oaxacan town of San Antonio Arrazola is where the craft originated.
Here, you’ll find artisan workshops and markets overflowing with these brightly-colored wonders, making alebrijes a must-buy souvenir to remember the magic and vibrancy of Mexico.
Obsidian artifacts are one of the best souvenirs to bring home from Mexico due to their historical significance.
A naturally occurring volcanic glass, obsidian was highly valued in pre-Hispanic cultures like the Aztecs and the Mayans for its sharpness and durability.
It was one of the most traded items in ancient Mexico.
Obsidian was commonly used for crafting weapons, tools, and ceremonial objects.
Today, obsidian is fashioned into a variety of souvenirs, from intricately carved sculptures to beautiful jewelry pieces.
The town of Teotihuacan, located near Mexico City, is renowned for its skilled obsidian craftsmen.
Visitors can explore the local artisan workshops and markets, where they can witness the crafting process and purchase some stunning obsidian souvenirs. Teotihuacan tours like this one often include obsidian workshop visits.
Apart from all these amazing Mexican souvenirs, you can always pick the usual knick-knacks such as fridge magnets, keychains, and bookmarks.
Honestly, I have lost count of all the magnets and keychains that I have purchased on my all my trips to Mexico. But I am always looking forward to buying more!!!
Foodie Souvenirs from Mexico
There are tons of food souvenirs to get from Mexico. However, depending on where you live, your country may or may not allow you to carry some of these.
Be sure to check the US Customs and Borders Protection page for prohibited and restricted items that you cannot take back home to the US.
Dulce Tipicos from Puebla
Dulce Tipicos, or traditional sweets, from Puebla are delightful goodies to buy in Mexico.
Puebla, known as the gastronomic capital of Mexico, preserves traditional candy-making practices that date back to the colonial period. These practices are heavily influenced by both indigenous and Spanish cuisines.
Dulce Tipicos encompass a wide array of sweets.
Some of my favorite ones are camotes (sweet potato candies), tortitas de Santa Clara (shortbread cookies topped with a sugar glaze), and jamoncillos (a delightful milk fudge).
This “Sweet Street” is lined with candy shops selling Dulce Tipicos. This place is a candy lover’s paradise where you can sample to your heart’s content and pick your favorites to bring home as gifts for friends and family.
✦ Pro Tip: If you’re visiting Puebla, then you really have to try all the amazing Puebla foods and drinks. Dulce Tipicos included.
Mexican chocolate is a must-buy for any chocolate lover because the history of chocolate began in Mexico!
With the coming of the Spaniards, chocolate spread to the rest of the world.
Unlike traditional chocolates, Mexican chocolate is celebrated for its unique texture and complex flavors.
Its grainy texture is due to the sugar crystals that remain in the chocolate, giving it a distinctive mouthfeel.
The chocolate is often infused with spices like cinnamon and sometimes even chili, which adds an unexpected kick to the rich, cacao flavor.
La Soledad in Oaxaca is a great place to sample various blends and pick up blocks of fresh, aromatic Mexican chocolate to take home.
Mexican vanilla is another treasured food souvenir to take home when visiting Mexico.
Prized for its rich, creamy flavor and a mysteriously earthy aroma, it’s a world away from the generic vanilla essences you might find elsewhere.
The Totonac people from the Gulf coast region in Mexico were the first to cultivate vanilla. This practice was later adopted and enhanced by the Aztecs.
Visit the markets of Veracruz, the birthplace of vanilla, for the finest quality Mexican vanilla.
Guided tours from Veracruz to the Vanilla Factory in Papantla are a popular way to experience the vanilla-making process.
Mole paste is another must-buy souvenir when you’re in Mexico.
This rich, vibrant paste forms the base of the renowned Mexican sauce – mole.
An amalgamation of chilies, spices, nuts, and chocolate, mole paste is a true representation of Mexico’s multicultural history.
Originating from the states of Puebla and Oaxaca, mole is often associated with celebrations and festive meals.
The bustling markets of Puebla and Oaxaca are widely known for their range of mole pastes. My favorite spot was the San Pedro local market in Cholula from where I picked up a couple of bottles.
You can choose from a variety of mole pastes, including Mole Negro, Mole Rojo, and Mole Verde.
Each jar of mole paste you bring back will serve as a savory reminder of your Mexican adventure.
Mexican coffee is known for its distinct flavor profiles ranging from nutty and chocolatey to fruity and floral.
High-growing elevations and rich volcanic soil contribute to the unique taste and aroma of Mexican coffee.
The coffee culture in Mexico originated during the late 18th century and has grown substantially since, particularly in the states of Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Puebla.
These regions are considered the heartland of Mexican coffee production, offering a rich diversity of coffee varieties.
For the best Mexican coffee, explore local markets and coffee shops in the coffee-producing regions.
Mexican Hot Sauces
Mexican hot sauces are a fiery delight for food enthusiasts, making them a must-buy gift from Mexico.
These sauces, known for their robust flavors and varying degrees of heat, can range from mildly tangy to tear-inducing spicy.
Their origins can be traced back to indigenous cultures that used different types of chili peppers, the main ingredient in Mexican hot sauces, as a staple in their diet.
Today, hot sauce is an integral part of Mexican cuisine, enhancing the flavors of local dishes.
Popular hot sauce brands include Valentina, Cholula, Huichol, and Yucateco, each offering a unique taste experience.
You can find an extensive selection of hot sauces in local markets across Mexico. Don’t miss the Mercado de San Juan in Mexico City, known for its wide range of authentic Mexican sauces.
Beans & Flours
If you’re someone who loves to replicate international flavors at home, then you have to buy beans and flours from Mexico.
Beans, a staple in Mexican cuisine, are highly nutritious and come in many varieties such as pinto, black, and kidney.
Mexican flours, particularly corn and wheat, are fundamental ingredients in local dishes such as tortillas, tamales, and enchiladas.
Their origins date back to ancient civilizations like the Aztecs and Mayans who cultivated beans and corn as their primary crops.
To buy the best Mexican beans and flours, head over to local markets such as Mercado San Juan in Mexico City, Mercado de Abastos in Guadalajara, or Mercado Benito Juárez in Oaxaca. In these markets, you’ll find a vast range of locally produced, high-quality offerings.
Tortilla warmers, or ‘tortilleros’, are a wonderful gift for any food enthusiast.
Tortilleros have long been used in Mexico to serve tortillas soft and warm at every meal. They come in a variety of materials, from cloth to intricately hand-painted ceramics.
For the best tortilleros, visit the Mercado La Ciudadela in Mexico City, where you can find a wide array of artisans selling these beautiful pieces.
Food markets in Puebla, Cuernavaca, and Oaxaca also offer handmade tortilla warmers, making them an authentic and functional memento of your Mexican journey.
Mexican souvenirs FAQ
I would bring back Talavera pottery, Lucha Libre masks, Otomi dolls, Frida Kahlo crowns, Huipil dresses, Dulce Tipicos, and lots of Mexican coffee and hot sauces from Mexico. Each of these Mexican souvenirs has a unique story to tell and provides an insider scoop on local culture.
Mexico’s famous products include coveted Talavera pottery from Puebla, glossy Barro Negro pottery from Oaxaca, colorful Lucha Libre masks, vibrant Calavera skulls – a unique connection between life and death, silver jewelry from Taxco, sombreros, and huarache shoes.
Some things that you can only get in Mexico are colorful Lucha Libre masks, hand-crafted skull artifacts that form an important part of Day of the Dead celebrations, Otomi dolls with indigenous origins, beautiful jewelry made of Huichol beads, and quirky toys called Alebrijes.
Yes, Mexico is the best for shopping. You can buy so many wonderful things in Mexico including traditional jewelry, ceramics, wall plates, pottery, hats, blankets, and food items without burning a hole in your pocket.