Although Chetumal is a rather young city, in recent years it has made considerable progress. The fact that it was a duty free zone for many years generated an economic boom and it became the state capital.
Nowadays, Chetumal is no longer duty free; it has just become a border city, which means taxes are lower than in central Mexico. Prices here are reasonable, not only for the local population but for national and foreign tourists as well.
Chetumalean artists make original handicrafts with clay, wood, and textiles, using the same techniques employed by their Mayan ancestors. Creatively using colorful dyes, they express ideas, feelings, and even religious beliefs in their work.
On the Belizean side of the border, you can purchase an array of items, such as fashionable clothes, canned goods, wines, liquors, electronics, and appliances. Everything you buy here is duty free and most items are imported from Asia.
Traditional music, countless archaeological sites, language and handicrafts emphasize the population's Mayan ancestry and maintains a legacy that refuses to be forgotten. Selling theirhandicrafts is an important source of income. The manufacture of textiles dyed with natural pigments, jewelry boxes made of carved animal bones shaped to look like ostrich eggs, and exotic lamps made from pink conch, being the most popular.
Like in other parts of Mexico, the markets in Chetumal provide an ideal place to get to know the colors, aromas, flavors and textures of the region. Take advantage of your stay here and visit one of the markets, where the air is thick with the scent of fresh herbs and flowers and the local folk will offer you flavorful traditional foods, colorful clothing, and unique handicrafts.
This indoor, air-conditioned mall is the largest and most important in Chetumal. It has an array of stores, including shoe shops, restaurants, a supermarket, movie theaters, and boutiques.
While vacationing in Chetumal, you might want to consider visiting the duty free border zone in Belize, just a few minutes from downtown and the perfect place to buy all your souvenirs. Many tourists cross on a daily basis and it can get very busy on the way back in the evenings. Make sure you ask "what" and "how much" you are allowed to bring back to Mexico.