Hecho en Mexico: 10 Souvenirs You Can’t Leave Mexico Without

by Peggy Sijswerda

Like many popular tourist destinations, Mexico offers a variety of souvenirs for travelers who want to bring home a memento of their vacation. From brilliant alebrijes — those fantastical creatures brought to life in Disney’s Coco — to elegant earthenware, Mexico’s souvenirs connect you to the proud people who inhabit this rugged, yet beautiful land.

Mexican Souvenirs

And behind every Mexican souvenir, there’s a story that helps you better understand Mexico and its ancient culture. Look for the words Hecho en Mexico, and your souvenir will most likely be a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind creation made with love by a Mexican artisan. So, let’s go shopping!

You’ll find alebrijes made of paper and plastic, but seek out those carved from copal wood. The tradition started in Oaxaca among the Zapotec people, but today artists across the country create these colorful, imaginary creatures which can appear playful or scary.

These Mexican sandals handmade from woven leather straps date back to pre-Colombian times. Their simple design and durable constructions make them a popular and practical souvenir — plus they’re super comfortable.

Used by Mesoamerican cultures, the traditional mortar (molcajete) and pestle (tejolote) remain a fixture in kitchens and restaurants across Mexico. Made from basalt, or lava rock, the circular vessels are perfect for grinding spices, making guacamole, and melting cheese.

Paper Flags
Known as papel picado (perforated paper), these colorful flags flutter above towns and villages during holidays and festivals. During Day of the Dead festivities, it’s said the flags serve as a reminder of the fragility of life. String up these pretty flags at your next Cinco de Mayo party or birthday celebration for a colorful touch.

While you’ll likely find Mexican pottery at your nearby garden center, buying it in Mexico is more meaningful. Plus, there’s a huge variety available, and each region has its own unique designs and styles. For example, in Oaxaca, look for Barro Negro pottery, characterized by its black color and metallic-like sheen and created using ancient techniques.

Silver Jewelry
Silver mining became an important industry in Mexico in the 1700s, and today the allure of this precious metal continues in the city of Taxco, known as Mexico’s silver capital. You’ll find the best selection of sterling silver jewelry in Taxco, but the city’s high-quality silver is sold throughout the country. Look for .925 stamp which means the silver has a 92.5% purity.

Tequila is synonymous with Mexico for good reason. The highly regulated spirit is only allowed to be produced in certain parts of Mexico. Styles include blanco, reposado, and añejo. Mezcal, tequila’s smoky cousin, is also growing in popularity. Tip: Check the label – 100% agave ensures you’re getting the best quality.

Sweet treats from anywhere are always a popular souvenir item, especially chocolate. Centuries ago in the land of the Mayans, a spicy chocolate drink using cocoa beans became known as the Food of the Gods. Today, small-batch artisanal chocolate can be found in most large cities. Another sweet Mexican souvenir is cajeta de Celaya – a thick, creamy caramel made of goat’s milk — the perfect topping for crepes.

From traditional huilpil — cotton embroidered tunics rich in symbolism — to Oaxacan rugs woven on looms, anyone who loves textiles will swoon over the choices in Mexico. My personal favorite is Otomi wall hangings, which depict flowers and animal designs in bright colors, hand embroidered on muslin fabric.

Western Wear
You may think cowboys are icons of the American West, but they originally came from Mexico. The vaquero culture is still alive and well in Mexico, and cowboy hats and boots are ideal souvenirs for fans of western wear. The best part is you’ll find great quality leather boots and accessories for affordable prices.

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