A souvenir – whether small or large, practical or decorative – can evoke a place, a culture, or an entire travel experience. Aside from all that, shopping while on holiday is just plain fun. Luckily, Latin America is a shopper’s paradise, we are happy to highlight some of prospects for one-of-a-kind souvenirs that you can find during your in South America vacation.
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Leather Goods
Argentina is known for its production of fine leather goods, and Buenos Aires is teeming with opportunities to shop for handbags, jackets, boots, shoes, belts, and more. From the commercial district of Calle Florida to the upscale mall at Patio Bullrich, specialty shops abound. This is a great opportunity to buy custom-made goods using some of the softest, highest quality leather in the world.
Cuenca, Ecuador – Panama Hats
Contrary to what the name would imply, the Panama hat has its origins in Ecuador, and the beautiful city of Cuenca remains one of the best places to buy one of these eternally fashionable head pieces. Top stores such as Homero Ortega P & Hijos, La Paja Toquilla, and Barranco are good places to find high quality woven hats. Custom made hats or those of the highest quality, such as the superfino (super-fine), can take several weeks to make.
Cusco, Peru – Artisan Crafts
Handicrafts can be found in almost all Peru travel destinations, but Cusco provides a distinctive setting in which to shop ‘til you drop. The streets of the imperial Inca city are lined with stores selling jewelry, alpaca goods, and all manner of trinkets. The best shopping can be found in the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, where countless artists and artisans have their workshops and galleries and where they display their crafts, which have been honed into art over many years of practice.
La Paz, Bolivia – The Witches Market
In the bustling Bolivian capital city, it’s the place itself rather than a singular item that makes the shopping experience remarkable. At the Witches’ Market in La Paz, travelers will find the usual souvenirs, including sweaters, hats, mittens, and trinkets, as well as more unusual wares such as potions, amulets, and most notably, llama fetuses. Whether or not you trade in the market’s occult offerings is up to you, but conversation with shop owners (some of who are actual witches) is definitely worthwhile.
What has been your favorite shopping experience while traveling? Share your stories and tips in the comments section below.