Indigenous arts and crafts from all over Mexico abound in this resort beach town. Festival masks, Oaxacan wood carvings and Indian yarn paintings are just a few of the folk art treasures to be found in this colonial town. Puerto Vallarta offers the best such shopping among all the popular resort areas in Mexico. Short of traveling to specific inland cities, you’ll find the best offerings in PV.
This two-part article series presents four of the best shops tucked amongst the cobblestoned streets. A walking map of less than a mile arranges the shops to best advantage, starting north and working south.
Galeria Indigena, the granddaddy of native art shops
The most comprehensive gallery showcasing 54 different tribes and regions, this is the place to get a crash course in the Mexican design aesthetic from antique to contemporary. The display space sprawls over two floors of more than 5,300 square feet. Talavera ceramics, Day-of-the-Dead dolls and dioramas, Taxco silver jewelry, Mata Ortiz pottery, ceremonial masks, Huichol bead and yarn work and colorful carved animals are among the unique items.
The owner offers complimentary beer and soft drinks while you peruse the aisles with no pressure to buy. Consider this first stop to be your introduction to Mexican art before moving on to some more specialty shops.
Peyote People, the most authentic shop for Huichol art
True to its name, this shop treats the Huichol (pronounced WE-shole) as a people, not a product. These local Indians live in the nearby Sierra Madre mountains and are one of the most intact pre-Columbian tribes in the Western Hemisphere. The art they practice represents their view of the cosmos and is fueled by their sacred peyote rituals.
The work consists of glass beads or acrylic yarns, pressed into bees’ wax to create paintings and objects of vivid, intricate designs from the natural world, presented as fantastic visions. The Huichol are frequently seen around town in their native dress as they bring their artwork to market.
Continue reading about this gallery walk.
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