All through my trip, I wanted to visit the markets and buy native Chilean goods—due to the good reviews, I got from friends who lived here or visited. During my last days in Santiago, Chile I had the pleasure of exploring two artisan markets.
The first marketplace I visited was Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia. Conveniently located at the center of the city, opposite Cerro Santa Lucia. The large space is filled with different merchants, who sell everything from leather goods, to wool blankets, and to cute tiny lama magnets. The vibe of the market is very chill and relaxed. With no pressure to buy, I was able to wander around and admire the craftsmanship of the artisans. However, the only thing I didn’t like was that almost every single thing was overpriced, and to get a fairly reasonable deal a lot of bargaining had to be done. With a pretty good selection of handcrafted merchandise and souvenirs, I still felt that this particular location was better for knick-knacks.
Pueblito de Los Dominicos was the second market I went to, and it was my favorite. Located outside the city, yet easily reached by subway or a car. (Please note that there is no AC in the subway cars, to keep the riders cool and hydrated a few individuals will pass by with cold water available for sale.) The beginning of the fair opens up to a large pen full of the most beautiful birds like peacocks, pigeons, all sorts of chickens, large parrots and many others. People gather around the cage or sit at the café admiring the birds. The rest of the market somewhat resembles a large outdoor maze that is packed with cute little boutiques and cafés. What also sets this market apart from Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia is the atmosphere: there are no car fumes, and no noise echoing from the busy streets of Santiago. Here you can only hear the soft whispers of the on-goers, and the air is infused with scents of freshly cut leather, hot empanadas, and other marvelous aromas. Exploring the shops I was amazed to see how different and unique they are. In some boutiques, you’ll discover a variety of pottery goods, in others—unique leather items, and in a few—wool creations such as blankets and traditional alpaca ponchos. The cool part about my journey is that I got to see the skilled traders hard at work making their merchandise, so I could truly understand and appreciate the craftsmanship of their product.