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Best Acapulco Shopping

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Sleep, eat, shop—sleep, eat, shop. This is a mantra that powers many visitors to Acapulco. If you feel like interacting with another person instead of a price tag, head for one of the markets, where you can haggle and bargain to a Mexican standoff. Acapulco shopping can mean brand-name hunting at Baby'O’s, or high-end super shopping in either a Golden Zone or Diamond Zone mall. You can sip a Starbucks and buy some Tommy Hilfiger, an experience that probably has more appeal for Mexicans on holiday and less for visitors down from the U.S. In Acapulco, you’re not going to find the country’s finest handicrafts, the biggest selection of literature or an especially intriguing antiques shop. What you will find are consumer goods—very fine consumer goods, but consumer goods nonetheless. And tons of souvenirs. 

El Mercado de Artesani­as El Parazal

Neighborhood: Golden Zone
If your gift list wouldn’t fit on Sarah Palin’s palm, this is the place to go. Loads and loads of T-shirts, key chains, coffee mugs and practically every kind of tacky Mexican souvenir you could imagine—from onyx chessboards to Aztec sacrificial knives. There are lots of bargains to be had at this open-air mall, but you’ll have to bargain for them. You won’t see any prices on items for sale. If you’re quoted $12 for an embroidered blouse, shoot back with $4. If you end up somewhere near the middle, both sides will have a measure of happiness. You can also score a cheap meal at one of the market restaurants and food stalls. El Mercado de Artesanias is directly across from Plaza Bahia, and open daily from 9AM to 9PM. 

Mercado Municipal

Neighborhood: Traditional Zone 
It takes a bit of effort to get to the Mercado Municipal, since it’s nowhere near the tourist strip. No one will consider you reckless for heading to the Mercado Municipal, but you’re heading into an urban area of town, so either go with a local or have a cab driver wait for you. This is true shopping in Acapulco, and once you’re there you’ll roam past stalls of produce overflowing with tropical fruits, heaping displays of cut-rate housewares and past shops selling herbal remedies and love potions. It’s an eye-opener if you’ve never seen a Third World market, complete with pungent odors, flies and live roosters crowing—a reminder of where our meat actually comes from. You won’t see many tourists and no one will go into overdrive trying to hustle you. Go in the morning for the peak experience, since the market winds down in the afternoon. 

Plaza Bahia

Neighborhood: Golden Zone
While it appears more impressive at four stories, Plaza Bahia is La Gran Plaza’s poorer cousin. You’ll find a lot of shops specializing in clothing, if not housewares. Pluses to note at Plaza Bahia are the movie theater and shops offering a better selection of Mexican goods. You can also score quality Cuban cigars, shoot a rack of pool, bowl a frame or two, or even place a bet in the bowling alley’s sports book. Now that’s an Acapulco mall. 

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Plaza Bahia  

La Isla Acapulco Shopping Village

Neighborhood: Diamond Zone
Are you looking for a $200 bikini? Or a pair of Manolos to go with that? If designer-brand goods in an immaculately groomed setting get your motor running, then an Acapulco shopping venture demands time at La Isla Shopping Village. Unlike a run-of-the-mill claustrophobic mall, this is a spacious, open-air destination for shoppers, with a canal and fountains. Lots of big, familiar names are represented, from Calvin Klein to DKNY to Prada. There’s also a movie theater with 10 screens, plenty of restaurants and two nightclubs. 

La Gran Plaza

Neighborhood: Golden Zone
You have a beautiful beach, the main drag of La Costera, and lots of hotels and restaurants. What’s missing? An Acapulco shopping mall. La Gran Plaza Bahia is right in the middle of things. Lots of stores, a multi-screen cinema, and frigid blasts of air-conditioning make it a perfect climate for those content to consume. La Gran Plaza is as popular with locals—especially teens—as it is with visitors. If you’re homesick for your hometown mall, come here and you’ll feel better in no time. La Gran Plaza has 135 stores on two levels, but it’s light on bargains and authentic handicrafts, and heavy on chain store brand name goods. 

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