Cozumel's main souvenir-shopping area is downtown on or near the waterfront; tourist-trap malls at the cruise-ship piers sell jewelry, perfume, sportswear, and low-end souvenirs at high-end prices.

Most downtown shops accept U.S. greenbacks, and many goods are priced in dollars. But to get better prices, pay with pesos and stick to cash—some shops tack a hefty surcharge on credit-card purchases. Shops, restaurants, and streets are always crowded between 10 am and 2 pm, but slow down in the evening. Traditionally, stores are open from 9 to 9, although most do close on Sunday morning.

When you shop for souvenirs, be sure you don't buy anything made with black coral. Not only is it overpriced, it's also an endangered species, and you may be barred from bringing it to the United States and other countries.