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Tattoos in Mexico

Mexico has to be one of the top countries in the world for tattooing. At the upper end the quality standards are very high, the studios professional, and the price of being tattooed is fair, but on the lower end dubious quality tattoos

Tattoos in Mexico

Mexico has to be one of the top countries in the world for tattooing. At the upper end the quality standards are very high, the studios professional, and the price of being tattooed is fair, but on the lower end dubious quality tattoos are done on the beach for gringo prices. So when looking for a tattoo in Mexico shopping around for the best artist in the best circumstances for the best price will ultimately leave you with a better art and experience in the end. As always, when looking for a tattoo in Mexico, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, be prepared to fully communicate to the artist what is is that you want, and don’t be afraid to walk away if something does not look right. All for all, Mexico is a world class location for being tattooed, and I highly recommend the services of many of the artists there.

Where to be tattooed in Mexico

Tattoo studios span the countries, but I have only had direct experience with the ones in San Cristobal de las Casas and the Coyoacan district of Mexico City.

In San Cristobal, I received a massive piece from Maza of Rana Roja tattoo, which is pictured below.

Wade receiving a tattoo of a cockfight in Mexico

Cockfight tattoo in progress

Wade being tattooed in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

Wade being tattooed with a cockfight scene

This tattoo of a cockfight with a Japanese style background was done over four sessions and totaled over twenty hours of work. It was done at Rana Roja Tattoo in San Cristobal de las Casas. Rana Roja Tattoo Myspace.

The other studio that I was tattooed at in Mexico is called Garage Ink, and it is located on Avenida Universidad in the Coyoacan district of Mexico City. I had a traditional sailor design of some sparrows and a banner that reads “Nomad” done over my neck there. The work was decent. Garage Ink Myspace.

Wade having his neck tattooed

Wade from Vagabond Journey Travel having his neck tattooed in Mexico City

Wade having his neck tattooed

Wade from Vagabond Journey having his neck tattooed by Jesus of Garage Ink in Mexico City

What has came to be called the Oaxacan Riviera is an epi-center of global tattoo art. With the nude beach town of Zipolite as its heart, tattoos are everywhere. This is a good place to go to check out the work of many of the top tattoo artists in Mexico. Keep in mind that although there are a few tattoo studios in this region there are also tattooers working on the beach. In my experience of traveling the world and being tattooed over 100 times in varying circumstances, I cannot recommend getting tattooed on a beach.

Wade being tattooed in Zipolite

Wade being tattooed by a friend in a hotel room

Wade being tattooed by Nao

Wade being tattooed by Nao in a hotel room in Zipolite, Mexico

The above two photos are of me being tattooed by a friend in a hotel room in Zipolite, Mexico. While I would not completely recommend this setting for tattooing, I checked out the situation and deemed it acceptable. The tattooer in the above photo is named Nao and he was formally trained in Japan and was traveling through Central America  and Mexico plying his trade. Read Traveling tattoo artist in Mexico.

Tattooing on Zipolite Beach, Mexico

Tattooing being done on Zipolite Beach, Mexico

Tattooing on the beach is a common practice in Zipolite. In my opinion, fresh tattoos and sand are not a good mix, although the practice of tattooing in this setting seems to have been very well established in this location.

More information about tattoos and tattooing

Find more information about Mexico

Mexico Travel Guide

Mexico Travel Guide

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Filed under: Central America, Mexico, Tattoo

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

4 comments… add one

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  • Wade | Vagabondjourney.com October 13, 2010, 5:00 pm

    Tattooing in Mexico is world class, and tends to be reasonably priced. Mexico is truly one of the global epicenters of tattooing.

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  • Wade October 31, 2010, 11:15 pm

    One of the best tattoo studios in the world is in San Cristobal de las Casas. It is called Rana Roja, as for Maza, he is one of the best tattoo artists in the world.

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  • Jose l. Ismael August 13, 2011, 5:05 pm

    hey there do u have the email of rana roja or some contact info?

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