Buenos días amigos! Let’s dive into the sensational Latin American culture and talk a bit about shopping. You can find some truly intriguing South American souvenirs – beautiful textiles, quality leather goods, traditional handcrafts, artwork, soccer jerseys, coffee, and much more.
Read on for our list of the best buys when shopping in South America. What would you like to bring home as a reminder of your amazing adventure?
Peru is a bit like Sapa in Vietnam – lots of local people trying to sell you something bright, beautiful and unique. You’ll know when someone has been to Peru because they will return with clothes a-plenty made from alpaca textiles with Andean patterns. The alpaca textiles are affordable, beautiful and locally sourced. You can choose from jumpers, chullo beanies, socks, slippers or scarves. The ultimate in South American souvenirs.
Did you know that quinoa, maca, cocoa, pisco, and cacao, all have a Peruvian origin? Depending on customs regulations, they may make great souvenirs from Peru for your own kitchen. In addition, painted wooden bowls are popular and beautifully traditional items you can stock up on from Peru. For jewelry lovers, the Inca Cross is traditional jewelry that is a popular buy. In many markets, you will see woven friendship bracelets that make the perfect gift for friends and family.
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If you are a coffee lover, or you have a coffee lover in your family, you can get some of the world’s best coffee beans or ground coffee Colombia. You can also find popular, hand-made Colombian fabric bags called wayuu mochila. You can buy wayuu mochila shoulder bags, woven by the indigenous Wayuu people of the desert of the Guajira Peninsula, directly from the weavers in many markets. The Ruana Poncho is another popular item. They are a gorgeous woollen poncho-like garment produced just to the north of Bogotá. The word ruana comes from the indigenous word meaning ‘Land of Blankets’. The finest ones are not cheap, but the quality and originality make it more than worth the money and a beautiful choice for South American souvenirs.
Alternatively, if you have spare space in your bags and enjoy a relaxing moment, then a hand-made hammock is one item you should consider buying in Colombia. Finally, for the suave members of your family, check out the Aguadeño hats, Colombia’s answer to the Panama hat.
Discover what a holiday in Colombia has in store for you.
In Argentina, you can go and buy a mate… no, we aren’t talking about a new friend – a mate gourd is a traditional teacup filled with the popular Yerba tea. If there were one Argentinian habit that catches the curiosity of travellers the most, it would be Mate. The drink is shared using the same straw and is a symbol of friendship and family. Argentinians will share a mate will anyone! Alfajores and Dulce de Leche are popular sweets that accompany your tea.
In addition, don’t miss Fernet Branca and Malbec wine – the red wine in Argentina is some of the world’s best. Also keep your eyes out for leather goods, just make sure you check the quality. Remember also to look for something silver as Argentina has rich silver resources as its name suggests – Argentum, means silver in Latin.
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Like Peru, also Chile has popular Alpaca textiles, handicrafts and leather goods, which all are all popular Chilean souvenirs. Some uniquely Chilean options are Lapis Lazuli, a deep, celestial blue stone, with a strong symbolism of royalty, honour, power, spirituality, wisdom, and truth. It is thought to bring inner peace and to awaken the third eye. Copper jewelry is also popular. Do not forget about the well-known Chilean wines or Pisco, which is a beloved brandy, made by distilling fermented grape juice.
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Brazilians love the beach and you like your swimwear “brief” there are beautiful Brazilian bikinis and swimsuits and the well-known thongs, Havaianas, which originate in Brazil. Cangas is a lightweight, cotton-fabric beach scarf – also used as a beach towel, dress or skirt. To delight your taste buds Brazilian sweets are great souvenirs and the most popular is Brigadeiro.
Of course, Brazilians also have their own popular spirit, Cachaça, made from fermented sugarcane juice. Lastly, you can find Guarana, a superfood, which gives you energy; also coffee which, like in Colombia, is a specialty in Brazil. A final popular keepsake in Brazil is soapstone. These striking carvings are a work of art that comes in different forms such as candles and boxes.
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Travel Tips for buying South American souvenirs:
- Always keep in mind the customs restrictions of your country – you don’t want your brand new South American souvenirs taken off you on arrival home.
- Do not be fooled by street vendors and pay overpriced costs if you are not sure about the quality