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Gifts from Chile

The type of gift you find in Chile will depend entirely on the city you visit. Bigger cities will have malls and shopping centers while more rural areas offer smaller, more specialized stores. Corresponding to different cultural regions, artistic traditions tend to range as well. The diversity of Chile makes it possible to find gifts such as crafts, clothing, antiques, and food perfect for any type of person.

Many different Chilean crafts are sold throughout the country, with a combination of modern styles and ancient traditions available. Hand-woven textiles, ponchos, vicuña rugs, ceramics, leather products, silver and pewter items, furniture, glassware, crystal, statuary, alpaca clothing, woodcarvings, paintings, photographs and prints, and baskets can be found at various markets and stores. The village of Pomaire is the center for pottery in Chile, producing a variety of pieces such as plates, bowls, vases, and flowerpots. Art and jewelry made from different precious stones found in Chile is popular as well, such as lapis lazuli, jade, amethyst, agate, green malachite, and onyx. As the largest producer of copper in the world, crafts made with the metal are abundant. Music is another highly valued art form in Chile. CDs of traditional Chilean musical styles make a great gift, as do handcrafted musical instruments like pan flutes, ten-string guitars, and ceremonial drums. Some of the best markets to find such crafts are Los Dominicos, the Feria Artesanal Santa Lucía, Centro de Exposición de Arte Indígena, Venta de Artesania, Apumanque Market, and the Feria Artesanal Pio Nono.

Chile is also home to great fashion accessories. Treasured in ancient cultures, lapis lazuli is only found in two mines in the whole world, one of which is in Chile. This vibrant blue stone is the signature of Chilean jewelry. Often accompanied by silver, it makes a timeless, and unique gift. Chilean folk clothes are another popular gift, such as ponchos. Leather is widely sold as well in various forms, but especially shoes and boots. There are many areas especially within Santiago with clusters of high-end fashion boutiques, selling designer names from around the world. Several areas of Santiago are known for their high concentration of designer boutiques, such as Providencia, Vitacura, and Las Condes.

Throughout Chile there is a multitude of both markets and shops selling antiques. Items such as perfume bottles, china, paintings, furniture, and other various knickknacks make great gifts. Some places to look for these include Feria de Antiquedades de los Reyes, Anticuarios Mapocho, the fair at the Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro in Santiago, or in various shops on the streets of Malaquias Concha and Caupolican between Condell and Itlaia avenues in Santiago.

Finally, Chile is world renowned for its wine, and makes a great gift. It is always cheapest when bought from wineries. Some places to look for a wide selection include Lavinoteca, El Mundo del Vino, Vinopolis, Vinoscyt, as well as most supermarkets. Different types of candies are another popular gift, especially those made from native fruits such as papayas.

Some of the best malls in Chile include Alto Las Condes, Parque Arauco, Plaza Norte, Punta Arenas, Portal La Dehesa, Mall Panorámico, and Mall del Centro. Filled with a variety of different types of stores catering to different tastes and budgets, it is not hard to find whatever gift you’re looking for here. There are several flea markets throughout Chile as well. One of the biggest is in Santiago along Bio-Bio Street, and others such as Vega Chica, Vega Central, and Paseo Estado. Most shops are open Monday through Friday between 10:00am and 8:00pm and on Saturdays between 10:00am and 2:00pm. The currency is the Chilean peso, which is equal to 100 centavos. Though sales tax is set at 19%, foreign visitors are not charged if they pay in US dollars.