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The shopping selection in Chile is large and varies from local markets filled with Lapis Lazuli jewelry and Alpaca sweaters to sprawling malls and department stores full of imported and expensive international goods. Bargaining for prices at markets and small stores in Chile is rare and more hostile than in other Latin American countries. Many vendors consider bargaining impolite and are insulted by extremely low offers, seeing it as the equivalent of saying their product is defective. While a little bargaining may be appropriate at markets and street stalls, it is inappropriate at malls and department stores. Below is a list of shopping types and locations in Chile.
Artisan Markets
Traditional Chilean handicrafts made of wood, silver, leather, as well as other local and regional crafts can be found in artisan markets throughout the country. In Santiago, browse the 180 plus artisan stalls at Pueblito Los Dominicos, (open daily, except Monday, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.) located at Av. Apoquindo 9085 or the outdoor shopping area at Patio Bellavista (Pio Nono 55, Tel: 777-4582, URL: Artesanias de Chile run by the Chilean Crafts Foundation, is a non-profit which is not surprisingly concerned with preserving traditional crafts of Chile. Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m.to7 p.m. Located at Av. Bellavista 0357, Tel:777-9429, URL:

Other Markets
Known as ferias, street markets sell anything from fresh produce and fish to clothes, furniture and antiques. The days and times of most ferias vary, but with so many options any day of the week you are guaranteed to find at least one open. Arguably, La Vega Central, one of Santiago's oldest and biggest fruit and vegetable markets is the place to go for the best produce in the city. The market opens daily around dawn and closes in the afternoon between 4 and 6 p.m. (From the Cal y Canto subway stop, cross the Mapocho River and walk one block north). Mercado Central is the place to go for fish and seafood, come early for the freshest catch of the day, located opposite Parque Venezuela on Av. Ismael Valdes Vergara and Av. 21 de Mayo. Santiago is home to Bio-Bio, also known as Mercado Franklin, the largest persa (flea market) in Chile. Bio-Bio is filled with antiques, furniture, old books and music. Located off the Franklin Metro Station on Bio-Bio, open weekends only.
Air conditioned (and heated) malls complete with designer clothing, food courts and movie theaters have sprung up in major cities in Chile. Parque Arauco is an American style mall complete with a park, pool and bowling alley as well as hundreds of stores selling imported goods, open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. (Av. Presidente Kennedy 5413, Vitacura, Santiago, Tel:299-0500, A more upscale alternative located on the same street is Alto Las Condes. (Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Av. Kennedy 9001). Other malls in Santiago include Mall Panorámico (Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Av. 11 de Septiembre 2155) and Mall del Centro (Open daily from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. located in Rosas on the corner of 21 de Mayo).

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Other Adventure Sports, Ciudad de los Césares, Safety, When to Go: La Serena, Tours in the Lake District, When to go, La Serena and Coquimbo: Sub-region Overview , The Ghosts of Iquique, Chiloé Tours and Tours on Easter Island.

By Michelle Lillie
I am currently living on my fourth continent. I think that backpacks are one of the greatest inventions of all times. I adhere to the idea that if...
01 Aug 2011

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