If you want to buy some things for your home or garden, or if you are a tourist looking for local crafts, this route can be good to drive. The road between Tulum and Coba offers visitors three villages full of artisans. The most interesting thing is that along the road you can find many hammocks, fabrics, baskets, furniture and even locally made costumes. So if you have a car and want to include some shopping, this is a good place to visit. Here is more information about this area.
What local things can you buy here?
The collection of cities and artisans here is a model for other areas of Mexico. They have fused culture and traditions into things that can be used for today’s homes. They also use locally found materials such as vines and tropical woods. Every year there are trends that start in this area and every year you will see new things. This is great because they are not the same old things that are sold year after year and in fact it makes the market move and people come back again and again. When you drive here, you’ll notice a lot of “Tulum-style” elements, as that’s where a lot of them come from.
Plants for your home
In the Riviera Maya you can find almost all the plants you need, but here, along the road, you can find different ones. For example, you can find some local orchids. Prices are decent and often a little less than in the Riviera Maya area. Be sure to bring plastic bags or newsprint for your car if you plan to buy some plants.
Pots and ceramic art
Pots are very popular these days and you will see many in Tulum. On this route you can find many concrete pots for sale, as well as clay pots painted with Mexican designs.
Hammocks, dream catchers and screens
If you are looking for a hammock or hammock chair, you are in the right place here. You will have many models to choose from. In addition to the basic hammocks, you can get them with lace sides and more decorative hammocks. The hammocks come in cotton or synthetic fibers. Cotton is usually for indoor use and synthetic fibers for outdoor use because they last longer. The quality of the hammocks comes from how many ropes there are and how woven they are. The sizes of the hammocks are single, double and large.
Dreamcatchers captured a few years ago and decorate many walls on the Riviera Maya. Although they are not really Mexican, they exude the atmosphere of Tulum.
You can find screens to hang lights along this local route. Light screens of cotton yarn, vine or other natural fibers are used. For real table lamps, you can’t find them here, as table lamps are hardly used in this part of the world.
Along this route you will find carpenters, wood sellers and artisans working with vineyards. Most of the furniture is simple and casual patio furniture. For larger items, they are usually custom made, so you’ll need to talk and plan with a carpenter if you want to do something.
Vine furniture and sun loungers have been a rage lately. This area is known for its vine art. Keep in mind that while they look great, they tend not to last too long. If you buy a chair, for example, it can last two years with little use. Most items are for patios and balconies and are not used daily.
For more information on furniture, check out our guide to shops in the Playa Del Carmen area.
- Some sites have credit cards, but cash is best. There are no official exchange sites on this route, so only weights.
- There are no set prices, so you need to ask for it. Sometimes stopping at some places and asking for prices will give you an average price for things.
- Things tend to be more expensive when closer to Tulum.
- There are some places to eat on this route. Some are basic places for roast chicken. There is more openness, giving people a few more options. We recommend eating in Tulum as you have many more options.
How this area has changed
Before 2010, this stretch of road saw tourists passing by on the way to the ruins of Coba or Valladolid inland. There were a few stops on the road, but nothing like today. As Tulum grew, so did the artisan community, which provided Tulum with plants, furniture, and decorations. This collection of villages grew to the local area to supply Tulum to all the new flats being built.
When the new Highway 305 was built, we were confident that this area would suffer from reduced traffic. The new road connected Platja del Carme with Valladolid and Mérida in a faster way, bypassing this stretch of road. In the end, it didn’t have much of an effect on artisans because people who wanted to go to the state of Yucatan didn’t really stop so much. In addition, Tulum’s rising popularity more than made up for any small business lost by the new road.
Other attractions in the area
How to get to this area
Most people leave Tulum driving towards Coba, but you can also start from the west and Valladolid. The three cities are Manuel Antonio Hay, Francisco Uh May and Macario Gómez. In these three cities you will find most shops. If you plan to buy, you may want to drive to the end, previewing what’s available, and then go back to the places that interest you.
degree: There are no gas stations on this route. So make sure you have enough for the trip. There are only petrol stations around Coba and Tulum. Check out our article on gas station scams so you don’t have any problems.
Have you been to this area? Do you have a favorite item or place to stop? Why not share it with others in the comments below?