What To Buy In Santiago, Chile

what to buy in santiago chile
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

Santiago is the capital of Chile and has a strong Spanish influence due to its colonization. This South American city is a great option for tourists who want to experience a rich culture and learn about the Mapuche people, who were great warriors. There are a lot of amazing attractions to visit here, such as the Easter Island that boasts amazing statues. Don’t forget to visit the array of eateries serving delicious Spanish cuisine. The Chilean people pride themselves in their culture and this is noticed by the amazing crafts created by local artisans and sold at many stalls throughout the city. If you enjoy shopping and would like to share a bit of Chile with your friends back at home, then check out these items that make for great gifts and souvenirs. This is a list of what to buy in Santiago, Chile.

1. Pisco

Capel Pisco, Double Distilled
Source: Photo by Flickr user Dominic Lockyer used under CC BY 2.0

For all you liquor lovers, make sure to get your hands on the national drink of Chile, popularly called pisco. This tasty spirit is made from fermented grapes much like wine. The drink is best served with cola or lemon and makes for a delicious addition to your cocktail. Please your crowd at your next cocktail party by offering them a beverage made with this Chilean spirit.

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2. Mapuche musical instruments

Instrument Mapuche
Source: Photo by user man77 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

For millennia, the Mapuche people have found comfort and narrated their stories accompanied by music. Music has formed part of their history and helped them get through turbulent times and has often been used as a source of communication and celebration. The natives believe that the sound of the instruments connects them to the spirit world. If you are a lover of music then make sure to secure Mapuche musical instruments during your next visit to Santiago. Some of the cool instruments include Makawa or kakel kultrung, a double-headed drum, and the kultrun or cultrun.

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3. Crin

Source: Photo by user Emerson Basoalto used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Crin has been the favorite past time of Chilean people. It is the traditional weaving craft for creating handmade items by local artisans. It involves weaving delicate structures and jewelry using horsehair. This type of weaving dates back 300 years ago, making this a unique and timeless souvenir to get when traveling to Santiago.

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4. Chilean carica

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This giant fruit that resembles a yellow palm tree is also known as the Chilean golden papaya. The crunchy fruit is vibrant with fruity flavors of the papaya, peach, and pear. It is a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh, preserved or used in the preparation of meat dishes. This makes for a great culinary gift and can be purchased in a jar to enhance your meals back at home. One can purchase it at most supermarkets in Santiago.

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5. Alpaca

Alpaca wool scarf
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deryck Chan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Alpaca is a type of animal that rembles a llama and items made from their wool are warm and comfy. Although this may be a strange item on a list of things to purchase in Santiago, especially if you will be flying to a different country, items made with Alpaca wool make for great purchases. Alpaca wool is as soft as cashmere, warmer than sheep’s wool, hypo-allergenic and almost completely waterproof. This is a great item for cold winter months.

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6. Traditional masks representing Mapuche people

Mapuche kollon mask
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user jovengandalf used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Mapuche, translated as ‘People of the Earth’, are the largest indigenous group in Chile and are much respected by the natives. They fought against the Spanish invasion over 300 years ago. Clay and wooden masks are sold at various markets in Chile as a symbol of honor to the Mapuche people and as a tribute to their strength. Traditional masks of the Mapuche people serve as great memorabilia from your trip to Chile.

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7. Rapa nui miniatures (Easter Island Moai statues)

Carved wooden figure (17144217216)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user akhenatenator used under CC0

Take a piece of history with you when you come to Chile, and visit curator shops that house miniature versions of the stone carved human figures of Easter Island. Easter Island is home to the Rapa Nui inhabitants and it is here that you will find stone statues that represent an important part of history. They represent prominent ancestors and date back many centuries. These statues, sold at various art shops make for perfect decor pieces for your home.

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8. Lapis lazuli ornaments

Lapis Lazuli Pendant Accessories
Source: Pixabay

Lapis Lazuli is a semi-precious stone that is produced and mined in the Andes mountains in Chile, among other regions across the world. The gem has a deep ocean blue hue to it and the rock is used to produced many precious items such as jewelry, ornaments, and decor. If you looking for a timeless piece then make sure to secure one of these prized ornaments. These can be found in most antique and curator stores in Chile.

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9. Chilean wine

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ifalcones~commons...

Chile is one of the major producers of wine in the world, and a trip to Santiago is not complete without visiting the many wine farms that allow you to sample the best Chilean wines on offer. Wine lovers will be taken on a journey that will allow you to explore the production process of this fermented grape drink right through to the pairing aspect. Make sure to take a few bottles home with you to enjoy the flavors of Chile in the comfort of your own home.

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10. Mapuche woven fabrics

poncho mapuche
Source: Photo by user santiagonostalgico used under CC BY-ND 2.0

One of the crafts that have been carried down from generation to generation in Chile is the weaving of fabrics. Mapuche women would spend hours of their day crafting woven textures to create unique patterns and items of clothing such as ponchos. Women who excelled in the textile arts were highly honored. This tradition dates back many centuries and it is no wonder that when visitors come to Santiago they would want to take home items made with Mapuche woven fabrics and by the Mapuche women. Each piece is unique and handcrafted.

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Take a piece of Chile home with you

This curated list of what to buy in Santiago has all the amazing things that are a must-buy in Chile. If you looking for impressive gifts that tell the story of your travels, then these items should be on your shopping list. Most of these items are created locally by the people of Chile.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Zinhle is a writer and a travel enthusiast. Exploring the world is a source of immense joy for her, resonating with the essence of her soul. In her role as a wanderlust, Zinhle takes pleasure in...Read more

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