Shopping in Quito
Quito proves to be a maze of fascinating discoveries for the intrepid shopper. Perhaps the most notable thing about shopping in Quito is that it offers great diversity. The shops offer a range of fine international products as well as remarkable national products made by the locals. Most tourists are familiar with the Otavalo market, preferring to make the two-hour journey from Quito. However, within the city you can also find some excellent souvenirs.
Interesting buys in Quito are jewellery, woven straw baskets, wall hangings, handmade clothes and small paintings depicting local culture and sights.
For shopping hints and tips, as well as a rundown on some of the better known shops in Quito, check out our Quito Shopping Guide below. Take a break from shopping at one of the many Quito restaurants located throughout Quito. Our Ecuador shopping guide provides some general information on what to buy on a holiday in Ecuador.
What to Buy
The crafts found in Quito come from all across the country, so you're likely to find a large variety of goods of various prices and quality. The Visitors' Bureau guide has a listing of various crafts stores.
Quito offers an amazing variety of shawls, scarves, blankets, tapestries, woollen and cotton sweaters. Thick, good quality sweaters can be bought for as little as US$8.00.
There are a number of wood stores selling a dazzling assortment of colourful balsa-wood birds and other carved animals. You may also want to buy some of the cedar carvings from the highland villages.
Ecuador is famous for its silver jewellery. While buying silver, make a note of the sheen - it should not be too cloudy or too shiny. A good rule of thumb is to go by the marking which tells you the percentage of silver used in your piece. Ratings of 950 and above ( on a scale of 1000) are pretty good. Those buying silver from the market can often get the artisan to design it to their specification.
Best places to Shop
Mariscal: Presumably the best shopping area is the Mariscal district, consisting of innumerable shops and boutiques. While the products are reasonable, don't expect to find the variety that you would in the outlying markets. Mariscal is particularly famous for its paintings, delicate silver jewellery, hand-woven textiles and household items.
New Town: The New Town is famous for its farmer's market where you can shop for fresh herbs, vegetables and flowers. The second floor has a meat and fish market, as well as vendors selling handcrafted baskets.
Old Town: The flea market here offers a range of goods varying from clothes to electronic appliances and food. It is one of the most popular shopping spots with the locals, since the prices are almost half of what they'd spend in a mall.
Other shopping Spots
The fair-trade shops in Plaza Grande (El Quinde), Plaza San Francisco (Tianguez) and the Museo Mindalae are among the more popular shops, which reputedly pay the craftspeople fairly for their products. You may also want to visit bigger indoor shopping centres like the Mall El Jardin, Quicentro, CCI, Condado Shopping, Megamaxi (large supermarket), El Bosque, Ventura Mall, San Luis, etc. Besides this, almost every street corner has numerous stands, specialising in a couple of items.
When purchasing from the street vendors, never accept the first price offered. While haggling may not work at the specialized handicraft stores, it is possible to politely persuade the vendor to give you a good discount.
Many stores close for a siesta from 1:30 to 3pm. Most stores are closed on the weekend - starting from Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday.
Since a lot of establishments do not accept credit cards, it would be wise to carry some cash. ATMs are readily available throughout the city.
Avenida Naciones Unidas y 6 de Diciembre
Tel: 246 4526
[view on map] Mall El Jardín
Avenida República y Avenida Amazonas
Tel: 298 0298
[view on map]