Traveling to Chile?

Learn the secrets of Chilean culture that every gringo should know:

culture book

Get your culture book today

Get Your Free Weekly Chile Newsletter

Sign up now and you'll immediately receive Pepe's 14 Tips Other Chile Travel Guides Won't Tell You.

Get Chile tips, insights, news, facts, and more directly in your inbox.

7 Chilean Souvenirs You Need to Buy


Your trip to Chile isn’t complete unless you pick up some souvenirs that are typical of the country. Pick up these items to remember Chile:

Something Copper

copper carving

Copper is Chile’s principal export and makes the country a lot of money. You’ll find many things made of copper in Chile, from bookmarks to large wall hangings. You may want to pick up an easily found item: a flat rectangular copper plate showing a map of the country and typical regional scenes.

Something with Lapis Lazuli

lapis lazuli jewelry

Lapis Lazuli is a blue semi-precious stone principle found only in Afghanistan and Chile. You’ll find all manner of jewelery made with Lapis Lazuli in small shops and markets throughout Chile, including the Bellavista district in Santiago.

Emboque

emboque

The Emboque is a traditional Chilean game consisting of a wooden bell and a stick attached with a string. The object is to flick the bell up from a hanging position and get it to land on the stick.

Trompo

trompo

The Trompo is a top made of wood that you wind with string and then throw at the ground to make it dance. If you are really good, you can challenge the kids in the street to a duel.

Indio Picaro

indio picaro

If you see this little carved indian wood statue in a market, be careful when you pick it up. You’ll be in for a crude surprise.

Moai Statue

moai

You’ll find the famous Moai statues from Easter Island represented in all manner of souvenirs: mini-statues for your desk, key chains, necklaces, ear rings, t-shirts, etc.

Soccer (Fútbol) Jersey

jersey

Soccer is life in Chile. Every Chilean has a favorite Chilean team and all support La Roja (the Red), the Chilean national team. Pick up a jersey from the Chilean national team or one of several Chilean teams like Colo-Colo or La Universidad de Chile.

Where to Buy?

You should be able to pick up the handcrafted items at typical tourist-trap markets around popular attractions, airport gift shops, and even at local shopping districts of whichever town you are in. You may even find some treasures at local street markets called ferias.

Have you been to Chile? What would you add to the list?

Posted July 21st, 2010 in Travel Tips.

Going to Chile? This newsletter will help...

  • What to expect when you get to Chile
  • How to survive the Chilean culture
  • Tips to get the most from your trip

Sign up now and get your FREE copy of "14 Tips Other Chile Travel Guides Won't Tell You"



We respect your privacy.

16 Comments

  1. Mike Marquis said:

    Another item to consider buying from the street markets, are beautiful hand made weavings (for wall display or table runners, etc.).
    .
    There is a caution though. Since these items are wool, and they are in an outside market, they will have critters in them. We had small moths flying thru the house, cocoons from the ceiling, and worms eat patches of the weavings.
    .
    Put your purchase into a plastic (trash) bag for transport back home. On arrival, fold the item and microwave it on low for 2 minutes to kill the hitchikers, or take it to the dry cleaners, and then iron it well.

    Good shopping. Mike

    July 22, 2010

  2. Pepe said:

    @Mike – great tip on the hand-made weavings, especially the microwave trick. Thanks for sharing!

    July 23, 2010

  3. Debby said:

    Pepe, I,m getting all kinds of ideas for my next trip to Chile! Thanks, Debby

    July 24, 2010

  4. Pepe said:

    @Debby – I’m glad to help. Enjoy your trip!

    July 28, 2010

  5. Tyffanie said:

    I am glad you included the Indio Picaro on the list of must-haves!

    Me falta un moai…I’ve seen some awesome wood ones at Los Dominicos. I just need to go buy one!

    August 19, 2010

  6. Lynn said:

    We are so excited about going to Temuco Chile on Feb 3 rd we are spending a month with friends there. We do not speak much spanish is that going to be a huge problem? our friends are Chilieans so this will help us. We cant wait to go
    Lynn and thanks for the tips of what to pick up for our friends and family :)

    January 4, 2011

  7. Pepe said:

    @Lynn – Chileans are very patient and understanding when it comes to those that can’t speak Spanish. Yes, you’ll be at a disadvantage but if you are with friends they will definitely be helpful and sympathetic to your situation.

    I talk about the nuances of Chilean Spanish in my culture guide:
    http://www.joeskitchen.com/chile/gringos-culture-guide-to-chile/

    Additionally, this book on Chilean slang is fantastic:
    http://amzn.to/hYw1YJ

    January 5, 2011

  8. Laurie said:

    I just came across this post in my search to replace a souvenir I got in Chile years ago that was recently broken. While living in Chile I noticed that all the homes I visited had three small stone elephants always facing as if they are entering the home and with a rolled up bill through the lead elephants trunk. I was told that they represented financial prosperity coming into the home. I bought a set but, as I said, one of them broke recently. I’ve tried to find them online but have had no success. I’m wondering if you know of them or if they have a certain name that I should be searching for. I love your suggestions above. While in Chile I either purchased or seriously considered purchasing every item you listed.

    Thank you.
    Laurie

    July 29, 2011

  9. Pepe said:

    @Laurie – I too have seen those little elephants in Chilean homes. Elephants seem to be a symbol of prosperity in more than just Chile. You can probably search for stone elephants or find some at a local antiques or trinkets store. I even saw some stone elephants on Amazon.

    August 1, 2011

  10. melanie said:

    i would add pisco the typical chilean drink and something made out of alpaca wool (a poncho maybe or traditional hat!)

    July 15, 2012

  11. Pepe said:

    @Melanie – Pisco is a favorite although you’ll need to pack it carefully. An alpaca wool poncho would be great. It is sometimes hard to tell if they are made in Chile or Peru though.

    July 16, 2012

  12. Ricky said:

    You should do the microwave trick before leaving Chile, you don’t want to spread all the pests, critters and other corrupt hitchhikers throughout the world.

    Be sure to take a photograph of our president Piñera. You won’t be seing another president like that one again in our government.

    November 1, 2012

  13. Barbara said:

    Cookies and herb tea from Chile are great, cheap souvenirs to bring back. Packaged food can get back through US customs without a problem.

    January 14, 2013

  14. gia brown said:

    i am going to be an exchange student in chile for a year, and i had a couple of questions if you don’t mind about the country and people of chile :)

    March 22, 2014

  15. Dave Moore said:

    Where can I buy an Indio Picaro statue? I don’t plan on traveling to Chile and want to purchase one online.

    April 5, 2014

  16. Pepe said:

    Hey Dave, you might try ebay but I haven’t found a consistent source of them online.

    April 14, 2014

Leave a Comment

* Your email address will not be published.

Looking for more?
Read the most recent on Pepe's Chile:

Sign Up for Pepe's Free Email Newsletter with More Chile Tips:

I will never give away, trade, or sell your email address. Unsubscribe at anytime.

close