The Isla Mall: If you build a mall, I will come
The Isla Mall is in the hotel zone in Cancun. It lies directly across the street from a few resorts, and is a nice walk or short bus/taxi ride from most resorts in the hotel zone.
Quality: The mall is an outdoor mall, meaning that when you come out of most of the stores you are outside. Most of the stores are common brands seen in the US and there is a luxury department area that carries high end clothing. There is a lot of security at this mall, and I don’t mean the attendants that you see at some malls in the US with a flashlight and a club. The security at this mall, and throughout Cancun, look like they are about to go to war. They are dressed in full combat gear and their weapons are long enough to spread the length of ¾ of their body.
Cleanliness: The mall is immaculate. They really do a fine job of keeping the outdoor area spotless, which I’m sure can’t be easy with all of the traffic that comes there throughout the day.
Service: Everyone is extremely friendly. Your biggest complaint may be that the staff at the excursion booths are overly friendly to get you to buy a package. As long as you’re polite and firm, they will leave you alone. I don’t know if their excursion packages are safe or provide a better deal than the hotel because I have never purchased from them. However, share your experiences with us and we will share it with our viewers.
Price: Most of the store owners are extremely nice and patient with you as you butcher their language and barter with them for prices. Yes, I negotiated everything that I bought at this mall, except for the products in the luxury department stores. It didn’t seem appropriate to me because the prices seem set in stone. I managed to be diplomatic just for you readers. However, if you catch me on a good day, I don’t know if I can be as tactful if there is something at a ridiculous price that I really want. Surprisingly, one of the shirts that my husband bought at the mall was more expensive there then at the Gap in the mall in Miami when we returned. So, I’m not sure if you’re getting that great of a deal, even though the purchase is tax free.
Experience: I have been to this mall about three or four times. I really enjoy it. My husband and I went to the movie theater located on the premises and enjoyed a movie that had already left the US’s movie theater a few months prior to our trip. Since we didn’t get a chance to see the movie in the US, it was nice to watch it in another country. The movie is spoken in English and it has subtitles in Spanish. The theater is comparable, if not nicer than many movie theaters in the US.
When I went with my parents and in-laws, they were shocked that the “pharmacia” (did you notice how I just drop in my Spanish words…. ; ) I live in South Florida, so I’m a Spanglish pro) had a wall full of over the counter medicine that you would need a prescription to purchase in the US. In addition, they enjoyed their stop at Haagen Dazs because they carry flavors that we no longer carry in the US. Overall, they were extremely impressed with the mall and assumed it would be more like a market commonly seen in other countries. While Mexico does have markets for tourist, they are further south. I will share my experience about the Mexican markets in a different blog.
Would I recommend it: Absolutely! The Isla Mall is a nice change from your resort and adventurous excursions. You get to take a leisurely walk through the mall, pick up some items at the pharmacy, try some local food, and catch a movie if you’re interested. On each trip, I notice that the mall continues to expand, so I am looking forward to seeing the next phase on my future trips to Mexico.