Souvenir Shopping (Self Guided), Bogota

It would be a pity to leave Bogota without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Bogota, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping
Guide Location: Colombia » Bogota (See other walking tours in Bogota)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.6 Km or 6 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bio Plaza Tienda Y Café
  • Joyeria Bauer
  • BrincaBrinca
  • El Retiro shopping mall
  • Centro Comercial Andino
  • Artesanías El Balay
  • Éxito
  • Clorofila
Bio Plaza Tienda Y Café

1) Bio Plaza Tienda Y Café

What to buy here: Coca tea.

For centuries, coca has been a sacred plant among the original Colombians. It is a relatively recent phenomenon that the coca leaf has been demonized, fumigated and been an unfortunate actor in a decades-long bloody conflict. You might be surprised at just how important that plant was among the original Colombians centuries ago as you explore the famed Gold Museum. Golden poporos, in which powdered lime was kept to be mixed with coca leaves that were later chewed, are some of the most unusual and lovely pieces on display. The stunning Quimbaya Poporo, in fact, dated from 300 A.D. and found in a burial site in 1930, was the first piece obtained by collectors of the Banco de la República. Coca tea is legal, and is known for helping you get over altitude sickness – and giving you a little extra boost. Some drink it to lose weight! Try BioPlaza at Transversal 17 No. 98-13 (just off of Calle 100 and below Carrera 15). The store also has a restaurant, which is very popular for lunch during the week.

Operation hours Monday to Friday: 8:00AM to 6:30PM; Saturday: 9 am- 5 pm, Sunday until 4 pm.
Joyeria Bauer

2) Joyeria Bauer

What to buy here: Colombian Emeralds.

Colombia is the land of emeralds with the green gem mined in three areas of the country. While you can even purchase them wrapped in newspaper downtown on the street (Avenida Jiménez) and at stores along Calle 13, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s best to go to a reputable jeweler. But beforehand do a little research on what to look for. You should at least know your “4 C’s”: color, clarity, cut and carat. At Joyeria Bauer you are assured of getting top quality emeralds and will be guaranteed to getting the best in professional customer service. Founded by a German immigrant, they have been around since 1893! Bauer now has three stores in the north of the city, this one is located at the Centro Comercial 93 (Calle 93 and Carrera 15). (571) 2574442

3) BrincaBrinca

What to buy here: Bogota hipster clothing.

A major university town, Bogotá is a vibrant city, full of creative young designers. If you consider yourself a hipster or have hipsters in your life, check out the one-of-a-kind (and often just plain weird, but in a good way) t-shirts from BrincaBrinca. Ever gone to a party and seen someone with the exact same t-shirt as you? The clothes (they have more than t-shirts) at these boutiques, all created by local designers, are usually very limited editions, so that embarrassing party scenario will probably never, ever happen. Be sure to check out their accessories and jewelry. One word of warning: some of the sizes are made for young Bogota hipster bodies, not necessarily thought out for Scandinavian physiques (make sure you try them on!). T’s start at around $30.
El Retiro shopping mall

4) El Retiro shopping mall

What to buy here: Mercedes Salazar jewelry.

This accomplished native Bogotá jeweler now sells her designs worldwide. Some of her necklaces, bracelets and earrings are sleek and modern, others kitschy-cool and others somewhat mystical with elements reflecting the indigenous traditions of Colombia. They are all creative and one of a kind and many are quite reasonably priced. You can find her store at the El Retiro mall (Calle 81 No. 11).
Centro Comercial Andino

5) Centro Comercial Andino

What to buy here: Colombian Chocolates.

Colombia is a major chocolate producer and Nacional de Chocolates Santander brand chocolates might be some of the best chocolate you’ve tasted. A bar of 75% pure dark Colombian chocolate sells for around $2. For an extra kick you can pick up a bar of dark chocolate with coffee bits. For “designer” chocolates, try XoCo. You can pick up a box of beautiful and colorfully designed handmade Santander chocolates at their stores in malls such as Andino and Santa Barbara. Try their exotic Colombian flavors such as maracuyá, uchuva and zapote. ($12 and up). If you’re planning on taking chocolates back with you, best to pack them in your carry-on luggage so they don’t become a delicious mess as they melt on the tarmac at the Miami airport.
Artesanías El Balay

6) Artesanías El Balay

What to buy here: Sombrero Vueltiado.

Ignore the fact that they will probably look better on locals out on horseback in the lush green countryside than on you or someone you love back in Indiana: these iconic black and white cowboy hats made out of caña flecha, a type of reed, make great gifts. Of Indian origin, they are one of the main- and macho - symbols of Colombia. Former President Uribe, who was once wildly popular across the country, was often photographed at his ranch on horseback, always with his sombrero vueltiado. In fact, if you are running for office, putting on this hat is almost obligatory when trying to foment an image of a man of the people. (Voluptuous Colombian models and actresses also don the hat when vacationing at the beach.) Try Artesanías El Balay at Carrera 15 No. 75-63.

Operation hours Monday – Saturday: 9:30am – 7:00pm.

7) Éxito

What to buy here: Colombian Coffee & Fruit juice pulps.

- Go to Colombia and bring back some coffee – duh! The dilemma is choosing what brand. The quality of Juan Valdez coffees is unmatched. Their cafes sprung up seemingly overnight in Bogota not too long ago and soon took over Colombia and beyond. Problem is you can get Juan Valdez coffee even at the Newark airport these days. But if you want authenticity, the coffee that the old timers in Bogotá have sipped for decades, look for Sello Rojo. It’s not as chic, but its as authentic as you can get, tastes pretty much the same though. These coffees include organic, decaffeinated, beans (en grano), store brands and gourmet coffees, costing from around $5 a bag upwards.

- Fresh tropical fruits: they are on every restaurant menu in Colombia whether in juices, breakfasts or desserts. It’s such a pity you can take them back with you. The next best thing? Pick up some fruit juice pulp at the supermarket. These are popular with cooks and homemakers, who have neither time nor patience to make juice straight from the fruit themselves. If you’ve ever cracked open a guanábana (soursop), a bizarre fruit that resembles a dinosaur egg –did they have eggs?), you know that it’s a big gooey mess, and you’ll appreciate these pulps even more. You can impress your friends with that real guanábana juice, lulo, mango or blackberry juice – and make some killer cocktails. As these are packaged fruit products, there is no issue with customs. But make sure they go in your checked baggage, not carry-on. They sell for about a dollar each, but you can get a pack of about a dozen and save more – if you really love them.

8) Clorofila

What to buy here: Quinoa.

If it weren’t for its bitter aftertaste, this highly nutritious seed (not a grain) from the Andes might have been more popular than rice. Although rice won the war with quinoa in the Americas, quinoa, packed with protein and fiber, is enjoying a surge of popularity. Many studies have shown quinoa to promote strong bones, reduce cholesterol and prevent gall stones. Quinoa is an excellent alternative to rice and is also great in soups (just be sure to rinse it!) Sneak in a little protein into baked goods or pancakes with quinoa flour. Bring back some toasted quinoa to sprinkle on salads or ice cream and a bag of Quinoa Pop cereal to jumpstart your morning. Try the organic market Clorofila at Carrera 13 with 78 or at their Park Way neighborhood location (Calle 41 No. 24-20).

Walking Tours in Bogota, Colombia

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