Cancun, Mexico

jewels Cancun, MexicoCancun, Mexico is great for the sun and the beach, yes. But, being a shopaholic myself, I just had to sniff out the local markets, too. I asked around the JW Marriott for best places to shop for authentic Mexican goods, and Mercado Veintiocho (Market 28) was the most highly suggested. So I hopped on a bus, road into downtown Cancun and had a blast strolling around the stalls jammed side by side in a huge four block radius. After ducking under tents, weaving down alleyways between stalls, and dodging pushy Mexican salesmen, I had scoped out the market and made my choices. Fifty-five dollars later, I had myself a little stash of the sweetest handmade Mexican gifts, all light and small enough to fit in a carry-on.

Shell and Hemp Jewelry

Cancun is the queen of jewelry. I felt like a kid in a candy store here—chunky bracelets, necklaces, turquoise, opals, strung-together shells and carved wood! Total jewelry-bliss. After a lot of browsing, I settled on a large shell pendant necklace and a thick shell bracelet. I couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a small, wood-beaded hemp bracelet (traditional to Mayan design) so I grabbed one of those too.

coconut bag Cancun, Mexico

Coconut Bag

I found a little table of bags (in all shapes and sizes) actually made out of coconut shells. The interior polyester lining is built against the rigid shells that are woven together with strong hemp-like cord. Pick up a small one of these for a perfect evening bag!

Homemade Paper/Bark Address Book

I love to write down things in little notebooks, so when I came across a table full of handmade address and notebooks from Cancun tree bark, I scooped one up. This is practical and useable, and a small, hand carved plaque on the outside of the book won’t let you forget where you got it from. The texture of the pages feels grainy and imperfect in your hands, and the soft, hemp-twine tying the binding together gives it a rustic look.


Patty Hodapp
Patty Hodapp
Patty Hodapp has set up shop and racked up mileage all over Europe. Her addresses include a rural cottage on the West Coast of Ireland, a cramped apartment in central London, and a stained glass Italian villa in Florence. After a summer under the Tuscan sun writing about Italian men, disco-tecs, pasta, wine, and the renaissance culture in Italy, she backpacked solo to the Greek islands and Spain. She landed in the US with a fully stamped passport, a Mediterranean tan, and a thirst for more travel.On the road, she rediscovered her passion for writing abroad that began with her first freelance gig for The Mayo News, an Irish newspaper, in 2006. She is a deputy editor for The Lost Girls World, an online travel website geared toward women travelers in their 20′s and 30′s. Because she couldn't just pick one, she’s wrapping up her degrees in Magazine Journalism, Medieval Renaissance Studies and Religion & Media from Syracuse University, NY. She's also freelancing on the side, and of course, looking forward to her next big adventure.

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