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Shopping in Chile

Updated on August 22, 2010

Chile is certainly not a country that is worth a shopping trip, such as the United States and some Far Eastern Countries. If you are looking for luxury goods like designer clothesyou will be able to find them in Santiago and other bigger cities, but prices are well above those in the US. The same applies to electrical appliances, high-quality outdoor gear, movies, etc. These things can get better in the free zones in Iquique and Punta Arenas, but the prices are sometimes still higher than ours, and the selection is considerably smaller

Foto: Stock.xchng: kulvits

Souvenirs from Chile

However, there are beautiful things to be found in Chile. From north to south there is a wide range of handicrafts that make great souvenirs. The Mapuche (a native tribe in southern Chile) process the wool of their sheep and make beautiful carpets and bedspreads, thick sweaters, socks, gloves and scarves, just everything you could need in wind and weather to beat the wind and the cold of the Chilean South. They also make furniture and smaller objects from wood.

Another nice souvenir are necklaces, bracelets and earrings from lapislazuli, a blue semi-precious stone, which is processed to jewellery and offered throughout the country and in different qualities.

Some souvenirs may cause problems at customs at your country, things which are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Make sure the shells, snails, plants you bring don´t fall into this category!

Foto: Stock.xchng: ifuen

Shopping in Chile: Food

If you don´t want to eat in a restaurant twice a day, sooner or later you will have to go shopping for food. There are several places to go grocery shopping:

There are the huge supermakets in bigger cities where you might find familiar brands at elevated prices. They carry everything from camping gear to fish and vegetables and canned and boxed goods, they might be a good place to buy stocks for a longer trip in the wilderness – you will only find them on the outskirts of bigger cities. Their smaller counterparts can be found in smaller cities and neighbourhoods.

The readily available alternative:the shop around the corner. They usually carry an astonishing array of goods, but don´t count on finding the exact brand you like. But they usually have long opening hours and are very convenient once you get used to teh chilean brands they carry.

The best place to shop for fresh food are local farmers markets. The fruit and vegetables are usually a lot fresher than in the supermarket, there is more to chose from and the prices are lower. You might also be able to get meat and fresh fish. And most markets have foodstalls and little restaurants that prepare the products and offer great prices. They make the perfect place for a cheap and tasty lunch!

A fun place to go shopping for food:the Mercado Central in Santiago

Very chilean: The Ferias Persas

Very popular among Chileans are the so-called Ferias Persas, huge markets wich sell virtually everything. You can get a hologram version of the Last Supper of Da Vinci, a toilet seat with sunflower print, a cheap MP3, cheap clothes, hardware, furniture, birdcages... There is nothing you can´t get at a Feria Persa.

The Persas are usually to be found in industrial halls, with lots of little stalls lining the sidewalks leading up to the premises. The first stalls open at ten o´clock in the morning, but the real action starts around five or si in the afternoon. Going shopping at the Persas is a family event, you can see entire clans from grandparents down to toddlers discussing their newest aquisitions. In general, Persas are a great and inexpensive source for anything you might need (or not) in everyday life and a fun place to go shopping.

Foto: stock.xchng: modish

Centros Comerciales: the Noble Counterpart to the Ferias Persas

If you feel like going shopping the (North-) American way, you should look for a Centro Comercial. They are american style malls and you can find some of the north american and european brands here. You can get designer clothes, jewelry, household items and electrical goods at not so southamerican prices and entirely forget that you are in South America. Centros Comerciales only exists in bigger cities, mostly on the outskirts. They usually have some food places and cinemas as well, so if you feel like a day of pampering and indulging after a trip to the wilderness, a Centro Comercial is the place to look for.

Foto: Stock.xchnG: RobinUtrac


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    • tastiger04 profile image

      tastiger04 4 years ago

      Shopping in Chile looks exciting.....thanks for the info! voted up and interesting :)

    • Geolina profile image

      Geolina 7 years ago

      Glad you liked it!

    • joshuanoerr profile image

      joshuanoerr 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Awesome read. Thanks very much