Hecho En Mexico: Playa del Carmen’s Thriftiest Bikini

Modeling bikini from The Snorkel Shop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Modeling bikini from The Snorkel Shop in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo/Cardo Rhinez)

I had been eyeing a $250 dollar bathing suit in a storefront window for a month when it happened. Lying on the beach, a woman walked right in line of my ocean view with the bathing suit. It looked horrible.

Ok maybe horrible is a bit extreme, but it did not look $250 dollars worthy.

Right then I decided an expensive bathing suit was a facade. Not to mention an unwise investment.

Unless the bikini had the price tag sewed to the outside of my ass in large numbers, what would be the point? Besides, I am not trying to send that kind of message.

On any day stroll down crowded 5th Avenida in Playa del Carmen (PDC) and you will notice bathing suits hung on scrawny mannequins in nearly every clothing boutique window. You will be lucky to find a bikini for less than $50 dollars.

That is unless you walk down 28th Street toward the beach.

The Snorkel Shop, located near the beach in Playa Del Carmen, sells bikini tops and bottoms in diverse colors that you can mix and match. Seriously great colors with an array of choices (think American Apparel).

Primarily a snorkel excursion shop, The Snorkel Shop peddles snorkel gear, gorgeous  handmade beach shorts, flip flops , beach bags, vibrant hair bandannas and bathing suit cover-ups just to name a few.

The owner, Graham Law “El Jefe” from Vancouver, BC has lived in PDC for the past five years and is a P.A.D.I. Rescue Diver and also has a P.A.D.I. Emergency First Response certification.

As I pilfer through the racks of bikini tops, I praise Graham on his choice in distributing local handmade bikinis attached to a great price.

“To get a good variety of [Lycra] design is difficult,” explains Graham reacting to my claim that all bathing suits in PDC are way too expensive. In Mexico Lycra supply is in high demand.

When I drill him for the name of the clothing creator he informs me that the bikinis are handmade in Cancun by a gentleman going only by the name of Ruben who runs a small shop where he creates various articles of clothing.

“Mexico is very informal so we all go by our first names,” says Graham.

Octavio at The Snorkel Shop. (Photo/Kendra Yost)

Octavio at The Snorkel Shop. (Photo/Kendra Yost)

The only other information available was the label stitched to the bikini bottoms that read HECHO IN MEXICO: Tropical Fashions.

The bikinis are created specifically for The Snorkel Shop.

Octavio, a Mexico native from Mexico City works at the shop and greets me at the rack and his quirky personality shines through his great smile as we exchange a couple political jokes after I tell him I am from Arizona.

The colorful bikini creations range from $15 to $20 for top and bottom. A great savings in cost compared to the rest of 5th Avenida.

As Graham points to the racks of bikinis he mentions “Business owners make money only 4 months out of year which is why you see many failed business in Playa.” This might explain the disappearance of many numerous shops I’ve stumble upon.

The Snorkel Shop is located is in a highly populated area near where beach goers pace by non-stop all day and night year round.

Visit Graham, Octavio and Sofia at the shop located on Calle 28, between 1st Ave & Beach in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, MX.

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