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Shopping opportunities abound in Cancun, with a vast variety of shops ranging from modern malls and designer stores, to open-air markets and the trays of insistent street vendors. It's a city built on tourism, so Cancun's shops invariably accept credit cards and the opening hours tend to run from about 10am to 7pm during the week, and all morning on weekends.

Silver jewellery, traditional wooden statues (Alebrije), pottery, and fleece or cotton blankets are all popular souvenirs from Cancun. Visitors should ensure that they don't buy anything containing black coral, which is an endangered and protected species and could land you in some trouble at the airport.

Within the glitzy Hotel Zone, the Plaza la Fiesta is a popular shopping venue, and the El Zocalo bazaar is a great option for locally-produced arts and crafts. The main shopping strip of Paseo Kukulkan is lined with shops and souvenir stalls selling all the usual tourist trinkets and a few unexpected treasures. The Hotel Zone offers great quality and variety but the shopping experience can be somewhat soulless, in the sense that the stores tend to be international and there is little authentic local flavour on offer.

Mainland Cancun, commonly just called 'downtown', is less glamorous but much more affordable. Yaxchilan Avenue is a good place to start, and the market on Tulum Avenue is wonderful for those seeking out local crafts, particularly silverware. Travellers will be expected to bargain in the local markets.

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