Shopping in Colombia

I remember when I first went to Colombia in 2002, one of the first places I went to was a shopping mall in Bogota. I'll never forget walking through that mall, witnessing wave after wave of stunningly beautiful women, and also admiring the unique and interesting fashions and clothing.

I've never been too much of a fashion guru, but I can tell you that I was the coolest dressed person when I returned to the states a few weeks later. It wasn't cheap, but the stuff was great. Everyone would always ask me where I got my new wardrobe which consisted of new dress shirts, T-Shirts, and shoes. I would confidently say, "Colombia".

Colombians take their fashion very seriously. Both men and women take great pride in their appearance and look, and the malls are always stocked with the latest fashions from all over.

Fashion aside, there are many interesting shopping opportnities in Colombia for unique and memorable gifts. Leather is one of the big things in Colombia and it is not hard to find custom leather goods and clothing like handbags, purses, jackets, wallets, and shoes. These very high quality leather goods are.

Bringing back coffee from Colombia is a must. Colombia grows the best coffee in the world. Having both the climate, and natural resources for perfect coffee production, Coffee is a staple of the Colombian economy and can be purchased at many outlets throughout the country. The best coffee can be found in the "Coffee Region", where most of the coffee is grown and tourists can experience the coffee making process while staying in boutique accomodations and tasting the best coffee in the world. The process is very similar to how one would experience a winery here in the states.

Colombia produces most of the world emeralds and emerald shopping is plentiful throughout the country. Bogota is the main emerald trade center of the country and one would recommend staying within well-known jewelry shops and always requesting a certificate.

Make sure you bring back a couple bottles of Aguardiente for your friends. Aguardiente is an anise-flavored liquor popular amongst Colombians and generally inexpensive. Aguardiente is usually drank alone, in shot form, and is very strong. Athough more popular in the Andean region, you can purchase a bottle at almost any liquor store or even at the duty free airport stores. Aguardiente has a licorice taste, yet varies among brands. There is a lot of competition amongs Aguardiente brands in Colombia, and they are always trying new things with it. The best advice is to take the advice of the locals and drink what they drink. However, I don't recommned trying to keep up with them. Aguardiente is a powerful alcohol and can leave you smashed before you know it.

Other popular shopping items are:
  • Music: Many famous salsa and pop artists have come out of Colombia. Ask for advice on what to listen to or find out the artist of a song you like while shopping or sightseeing. Music is everywhere in Colombia.
  • Chinchorros: Hand woven hammoks.
  • Arts and crafts: Hand made trinkets and figurines that will remind you of the culture of this beautiful country. Products vary by region.
  • Jewelry
  • Chocolate