In a country of as many natural riches and artistic talents as Colombia, it is not surprising that the shopping scene in the major cities is thriving.
Medellin for example leads the way with independent fashion houses, producing some of the most exciting new trends, while Bogota and Cali offer high-quality artisan markets alongside modern shopping malls.
Cartagena, true to its jewel-box appearance, is the hub of Colombia’s emerald trade, with a popular sideline in candy.
Colombia is a great place to find unusual, high-quality handicrafts, particularly textiles or jewelry. Colombians have been working gold for centuries and they are one of the leading producers of emeralds.
Pre-Columbian gold or silver pieces incorporating semi-precious stones are popular with tourists at the markets or on street corners –precisely those willing to try some good-humored bartering.
Handwoven backpacks known as mochilas are an indigenous handicraft from the La Guajira region which are available in shopping malls and markets around cities.
Chinchorros is another popular souvenir here, which are Wayuu hand-woven hammocks. Gold replicas of the legendary El Dorado raft on display at the Bogota Gold Museum are a uniquely Colombian memento to explore.
Colombia has lots of souvenir shops and art galleries location te peripherals of big cities. The Typical items found here include art, baskets, musical instruments, and tablecloths. While cheap, it is best to avoid pirated CDs and DVDs as they may be confiscated at customs.
Colombia has its fair share of malls. The upmarket districts of El Poblado boasts the Santa Fe and Oviedo malls, both of which house a range of big brands, as well as restaurants and movie theaters.
But the most unique and eclectic shopping venues found in the capital include is the Via Primavera; a tree-lined street where Colombian fashionistas browse market stalls beneath white parasols.
- As with other facets of life in Colombia, food, and grocery are also sold in their local currency, so ensure to make all the necessary conversions and move around with a little local cash on you. Many of the establishments only accept the Peso.
- As a newcomer, some of the names of the items might confuse you, please use any online translator services to check the correct Spanish word for whatever you are searching for.
- Always ask for help or directions from fellow students and if you can't find any around you then ask even the locals they are always happy to assist foreigners and visitors.
"I enjoy shopping and I found it affordable but some of the clothes are definitely not of the highest quality." - Hassan from Turkey