Cool Ecuadorian Souvenirs
After making a list of the gear and travel items needed for a trip to Ecuador, put together another list of things to buy during your time in this exciting Andean country. As with most places in the world, Ecuador has its set of wares and items that are unique to the country, cost less, or make for unique souvenirs.
The following list of items is a good one to bring on any trip to Ecuador:
- The Ecuadorian Alpaca Hoodie: Head to the indigenous market at Otavalo for this must buy piece of clothing. This fine hoodie is traditionally woven with 100% Alpaca and can feature any number of Andean designs. It will help keep you warm while exploring the high elevations of Cotopaxi and Las Cajas National Park as well as back at home
- during the northern winter.
- Alpaca Socks: These warm socks are another must buy item when browsing the markets of Otavalo. These soft, warm, comfortable socks are woven with Alpaca wool and have been used by locals for centuries. They come in a variety of colors and are just as warm when wearing them back home.
- Dragons Blood: This red liquid is the sap of Croton lechleri, a small treenative to northeastern Amazonia. It grows in eastern Ecuador and is a must buy because of its many healing properties. Locals have used “Sangre de Drago” to help heal cuts and as a natural medicine for thousands of years. In addition to having natural healing properties, forming a natural bandage over cuts, and possessing anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, studies have also shown that Sangre de Drago is an anti-oxidant. Who knows what else this very special tree sap might be capable of! Look for it in pharmacies in the Amazonian towns of eastern Ecuador.
- Coffee: The mountains and volcanic soils of Ecuador offer perfect conditions for growing coffee. Although the country hasn’t made a huge name for itself as a place that produces fine coffee, it has a lot of potential and there are great deals to be had on little known, quality organic coffee producers in many parts of the country. Bags of quality Ecuadorian coffee can be found in stores in much of the country but you will probably find more variety and better deals on Arabica coffee around Loja, and towns in Manabi and Guayaquil. For Robusto, check the stores in western Pichincha (Mindo) and the eastern slope of the Andes.
- Chocolate: The Cacao plant is native to tropical forests in the America’s and farms in Ecuador produce some high quality chocolates indeed. Try a variety of home-grown organic chocolates at specialty and souvenir stores in places like Mindo, Guayaquil, Quito, and most Ecuadorian cities.
- Panama Hats: The best places in the world to buy a classic Panama Hat are Cuenca and Montecristo, Ecuador. Artisans in these two cities make more of them than anywhere else and are great places to find good deals on these quality tropical hats. Find these hats at many souvenir shops in both cities.
- “Do Not Buys”: When perusing Ecuadorian markets and souvenir stores, you will come across items made with animal parts. Responsible travelers will avoid buying these as your purchase will probably support the killing of wildlife to make souvenirs. This is especially the case for crafts that use bird feathers because they very likely killed endangered birds to get them.
These are some of the main items to buy when visiting Ecuador but don’t be surprised to find other, unique crafts and souvenirs in this exciting South American country.