Cancún’s best-known mall offers travelers an easy-to-reach location in the heart of the Hotel Zone. Known to locals simply as Plaza La Isla, this outdoor shopping center is a lovely spot to beat the heat thanks to its Venetian frippery (think winding canals), playful fountains, and ice cream parlors. The Marina area, with a restaurant row overlooking Nichupté Lagoon, is a top photo op. Reached via the designer shops in the Fashion Harbor section, it faces west and is ideal for catching the sun setting over the water.
La Isla Luxury
Luxury shopping is one of the perks of a vacation in Cancun’s downtown, and La Isla Shopping Village is the place for quality goods (be sure to stop in at Liverpool for duty-free designer products). La Isla isn’t just for shopping though: there is an interactive aquarium, a chocolate factory, a Mayan artisan center and a selection of great restaurants. My favorite items at the Maya artists center were the cotton hammocks, handmade silver jewelry, and traditional smocked Mayan blouses. When you go to any of these destinations, bring your credit card to get the best exchange rate and don’t forget to bring your camera—the views of Cancun’s interior lagoon are stunning.
Ketchup Smiley at Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets, a 1950’s style restaurant at La Isla Shopping Village in Cancun, is famous for its burgers all imperfect and cracked around the edges like dad used to grill. I ordered one topped with Swiss cheese and bacon and devoured it along with a plate of onion rings and a homemade vanilla shake. The table top jukeboxes, red leather chairs, stainless steel counter tops, and larger than life photos of bouffant-ed girls drinking coke were fun for sure, but the best part of eating at Johnny Rockets was definitely when the waitress served up the plate that was wearing a smiley face made out of ketchup.