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Shopping for Art and Handicrafts

Acapulco is a great place to buy jewelry because it is near Taxco, the traditional silver mining town with a rich tradition of fine workmanship. Here you will find a wealth of great choices: the plaza across from the Zócalo, la Quebrada, the malls, the stores in the park near the docks, and Parque Papagayo are all good options for jewelry hunters. Remember, you find more bargains when you shop around.

La Casa de Cultura (Arte Para Siempre)

If you are in the Costa Azul area, the first place to visit for quality folk art and handicrafts is the "Casa de Cultura," operated by the Government of Acapulco (Family Development Agency). This "cultural center" is much more than a shop for folk art. There are botanical gardens, a library, a stage for plays and exhibitions, musical performances, poetry recitals, dance workshops, and much more. The crafts shop, called "Arte Para Siempre" or "Art Forever," has some of the finest examples of native art, with full information about each item. If they have on display the small, lacquered Olinalá boxes, be sure to get an explanation of how the aromatic wood is used to create these unusual pieces. (Olinalá is a town in Guerrero State whose name means "Earthquake Place.") Hand-woven shawls, brightly painted gourds, baskets and hammocks are on sale. Quality hand-crafted silver jewelry is also available. Sometimes the local craftsmen set up tables and ply their art right before your eyes. There is something special about a souvenir of Acapulco that you saw in the making. Costera Alemán 4834 (Costa Azul) 39850 Acapulco, Gro., México +52 (744) 484 2390.

Artesanias Finas de Acapulco

"AFA-ACA" is a local nickname for Artesanias Finas de Acapulco, a large store with a very wide selection of all sorts of Mexican folk art and handicrafts. Products come from all regions. Customers can select to have their purchases shipped to their homes, so they do not have to carry them around in luggage. The location in the cruise ship terminal makes the store very popular with the sea-going passengers. Prices are good bargains, though a bit higher and less flexible than those in the open-air markets. It is possible to buy all the requirements for a mariachi outfit, or a tooled riding saddle, or the fancy, flouncy skirts and dresses worn in native dances. Here one can buy rustic furniture, paintings and sculptures, ceramics and pottery, jewelry, masks, carved onyx and wood, and hand-embroidered clothing. On the Costera, in the marine terminal. near Sanborns. Daily, 9 am-6 pm (Sundays, 9 am-2 pm) Credit Cards: AE, MC, V

Alebrijes & Caracoles

Located within Plaza Bahía, Alebrijes & Caracoles is one of Acapulco's best locations both for fun and quality when buying gifts, toys and decorations. The "alebrije" is a brightly painted animal spirit figure from the indigenous culture centered around Oaxaca. A "caracol" is a spiral shell, literally of a snail, but also of a sea creature. The store is divided into two stalls, made to resemble those found in the open-air markets or "tianguis." Here you can find papier-mâché fruits and tree ornaments and unusual decorative items for home and garden. Costera Alemán 125 (Fracc. Magallanes), Acapulco, Gro. Mexico +52 (744) 485 1490.

El Abuelo

It's always time for ¡Fiesta! in El Abuelo. Anyone planning a party needs to go to El Abuelo for all the supplies, such as table cloths, napkins, glasses, hats, balloons, masks and noisemakers. Piñatas abound. Also available in this enormous retail operation are gifts and souvenirs of Mexico, ranging from simple party favors to much more serious works of handicraft. Calle Mina 389 (Centro), 39300 Acapulco ,Gro., México +52 (744) 484 2423.

ACA Bronze

Features original artwork realized in bronze and other metals. Address: Av. Costera M. Alemán 125 Acapulco, Mexico.

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