Chile is a natural beauty still waiting to be explored. It is home to the clearest night skies in the whole world—what an amazing experience it would be to witness this. If you’re also looking into adventures, the country is known as South America’s top adventure destination, offering activities such as scuba diving, hiking, and more. It’s always an amazing opportunity to enjoy this country with your loved ones, but if you can’t, don’t worry. Bringing home a classic souvenir can make up for it. There’s no better thing to do after exploring than buying items that you could take home to share a piece of your experience. If you’re traveling anytime soon and still worried about what you should buy, look no further. We’ve made a comprehensive list of what to buy in Chile! Read below and see what amazing things you can look out for.
1. Rapa Nui statues
Rapa Nui is a private area known as Easter Island. It has been a part of Chile since 1888. The island is yet to be discovered by tourists. However, it is known for the moai. Moai are statues shaped like human figures carved by people centuries ago. The Rapa Nui people believe that these statues are more than just symbols of power—rather they are sacred spirits. This is another story to tell, but moai handicrafts are one of the many items you should bring home. There are wooden crafts such as the moai kavakava, which is a figure that looks starved, and replicas of the moai that come in different sizes.
One major tradition in Chile is dancing the national Chilean dance—the traditional cueca. This dance celebrates the countryside and rural culture of the people in the central and southern parts of the country. Apart from dancing, one must always be in costume to pay respect to the dance. Men wear hats, ponchos, and huaso jackets with their black boots. Meanwhile, the women wear huasa dresses that are often tight and feature full skirts that go below the knees. These costumes come in different styles and most especially in beautiful bright colors.
3. Copper art and jewelry
Copper is the number one exported product of Chile. Thus, the country offers a variety of souvenirs made out of copper, such as art, jewelry, and so much more. These crafts boast intricate details, and thanks to the high-quality copper used, they will definitely last a lifetime. Choose from a wide range of copper products, such as rings, necklaces, earrings, murals, bracelets, bookmarks, and plates. The best part of all this is that most of these products are very budget-friendly and would make the perfect gifts for your loved ones.
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An alpaca is an animal quite similar to a llama but smaller and with more curves. The indigenous people in Chile have been taking care of alpacas and have been able to make a living using their wool, weaving it into blankets and ponchos. These products are bestsellers because of the soft texture and their ability to protect from the cold. The wool used has a silky quality and is very durable. Aside from blankets and ponchos, alpaca wool can be fashioned into scarves, jackets, and almost any winter clothing.
5. Mapuche woven fabrics
Mapuche woven fabrics have a deep history—from Mapuche women who have made their way into Chile. These women have practiced the art of weaving for a long time and have honed their textile skills. Creating woven fabrics is a tradition that is passed on from generation to generation. You’ll be surprised that everything is handmade—from the process of creating the tools, spinning the yard, and creating color. These fabrics are made of sheep’s wool and turned into blankets or rugs, designed with a lot of colors and patterns. Some geometric patterns symbolize different elements, plants, animals, and spiritual life, and each symbol has its own background story.
6. Prensado de flores y frutas
Prensado de flores y frutas is “pressed flowers and fruits” in English. This is a famous trend all over the world, and Chile has stepped up its game. Preserved fruits and flowers add color, beauty, and uniqueness to almost anything. They are commonly found in trays, pitchers, coasters, bottle openers, and other things in your kitchen.
7. Traditional masks
Traditional masks go way back. According to history, the Mapuche people centuries ago used them during ceremonies, healing rituals, and burials. They are most commonly used in Nguillatan ceremonies, which celebrate the harvest season—to give gratitude for blessings and request health, happiness, and fortune. Back in the day, masks were made out of stone and wood, but nowadays they can be crafted using leather and silver. Most masks cover your whole face and only use minimal colors, such as red, green, and blue. Indeed this souvenir would be a nice decoration for your house.
8. Lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is a deep-blue rock that is admired for its color and durability. It is also known as ultramarinum, which means “beyond the sea.” This gem is considered one of Chile’s prized possessions. Large quantities of it can be found only in two countries, and Chile is one of them. This rock symbolizes wisdom, friendship, integrity, and light. It is said to help strengthen relationships and aid in expressing feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Craftsmen have been very creative in designing products made out of lapis lazuli, such as rings, statues, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more.
9. Mapuche musical instruments
Aside from weaving, the Mapuche people definitely have a talent for musical instruments. The use of musical instruments accompanied by singers is said to connect to the spirit world. Chanting and rhythms are very common in their music. There are a lot of choices in musical instruments, such as trumpets, flutes, drums, and others. These instruments are often used during celebrations and ceremonies. The Mapuche people believe that music is a form of expression and there is no such thing as good or bad music.
10. Chilean wine
Go relax and unwind with your friends with a glass or two of classic Chilean wine. You can find wine almost anywhere in Chile because of the large amounts the country produces every year. Chile is considered as the fifth-largest exporter of wine in the whole world after all. The secret to any Chilean wine is the top-quality grapes used, all freshly picked from the vineyards.
Find the perfect souvenirs
In Chile, you won’t be disappointed with the many souvenirs on offer—the only problem you’d probably have is choosing which among all the items you should buy. Rest assured, you’ll always find something that your loved ones will appreciate. Not only that, but you’ll also be sharing a part of your experience in Chile with them.
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