Smart Souvenirs

Arts and Crafts

Puerto Vallarta is an arts and crafts paradise, particularly if you're fond of ceramics, masks, fine art, and Huichol folk art. Indeed, there are several shops in and around Puerto Vallarta that specialize in or carry a good selection of Huichol works, including Galería Tanana, Peyote People, and Hikuri. A few shops sell stunning pieces of Huichol beaded jewelry. You'll also find stylish clothing and better-than-average bathing suits; vivid handwoven and embroidered textiles from Oaxaca and Chiapas; and comfortable, family-size hammocks from Yucatán State. Handmade or silk-screened blank greeting cards make inexpensive and lovely framed prints.

Glass and Pewter

Glassblowing and pewter were introduced by the Spanish. A wide range of decorative and utilitarian pewter items are produced in the area. The glassware selection includes distinctive deep-blue goblets and chunky, emerald-green-rimmed drinking glasses. All are excellent buys, although breakable and heavy to ship.

Jewelry

Many PV shop owners travel extensively during the summer months to procure silver jewelry from Taxco, north of Acapulco

Pottery

After Guadalajara and its satellite towns Tlaquepaque and Tonalá—which produce ceramics made using patterns and colors hundreds of years old—Puerto Vallarta is the best place in the region to buy pottery, and at reasonable prices. PV shops also sell Talavera (regular or tin-glazed majolica) pottery from Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Unusual Gifts

For less-than-obvious souvenirs, go traditional and consider a molinillo, a carved wooden beater for frothing hot chocolate; you can find these at street vendors or traditional markets for about $1.50. A set of 10 or so tiras de papel (string of colored tissue-paper flags) in a gift shop will set you back only about $2. Handmade huaraches, or traditional sandals, are hard to break in (get them wet and let them dry on your feet), but they last for years.

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