Shopping in Mexico City is a fun experience promising authentic local crafts as well as all the major brands and stores one might expect in any big capital. The best Mexican souvenirs tend to be Talavera tiles and ceramics, embroidered garments, sterling silver jewellery and accessories, and hand-woven rugs and blankets.
One of the most popular shopping areas in Mexico City is the Centro Historico, home to most of the city's original stores, while La Zona Rosa is also well established and the popular shopping centre Reforma 222 can be found there. Avenida Insurgentes and Avenida Jaurez also offer a wealth of shopping opportunities. Most recently, the La Condesa and Polanco areas have developed as strong retail centres. Centro Santa Fe, in the western part of the city, is the largest shopping centre in Latin America, while the upscale Perisur shopping mall to the south is also a good stop.
Malls are essentially the same all over the world, but the city's markets reveal more character. There are many markets in Mexico City offering handicrafts, including the San Juan Market of Mexican Curiosities and the Mercado la Ciudadela in Centro Historico, as well as the Bazar Sabado (Saturday Bazaar) in San Angel. Fonart outlets throughout the city also sell local crafts such as hand-painted crockery and blown glass.
Most shops in Mexico City are open from 9am to 8pm, with smaller shops taking a break between 2pm and 4pm. The 15 percent VAT charged on goods can be reclaimed at the airport on purchases exceeding 1200 pesos. Travellers must present a completed reimbursement request form, banking information, passport, immigration form (visa, tourist card), plane ticket, purchase receipts and goods purchased.
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