19 Must-Buy Travel Souvenirs From Colombia – Cheap & Expensive

Dear reader

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency based in Bogota, Colombia. If you have any comments or suggestions, please write them in our comments section below. Thank you, and have a fantastic trip to Colombia!

What products should you buy in Colombia?

Colombia is a developing country and agriculture is a huge sector. Colombia is also close to the geographic equator and there are no seasons, so plants grow all year round. Colombia is a land of milk and honey, so to speak. Colombia offers a lot more!

Here is a summary of the products that are perfect as souvenirs. Further explanations are given below.

  1. Aguardiente
  2. Avocado
  3. Bocadillo
  4. Chamba Ceramics
  5. Hammock
  6. Headgear
  7. Coffee
  8. Ceramic from Ráquira
  9. Cow’s foot bottle
  10. Crafts
  11. Miniature Chiva bus
  12. Fashion items
  13. Panela
  14. Ruanas
  15. Rum
  16. Jewelry
  17. Chocolate
  18. Emerald
  19. Shoulder bag

Aguardiente

A celebration in Colombia without an Aguardiente is like a church without holy water. A strong sip of Aguardiente or, even better, one or more bottles is part of every festival.

The Aguardiente is then usually served in small plastic cups and the ritual is repeated continuously.

Aguardiente is a spirit and usually has around 30% alcohol. The schnapps is distilled from anise and sugar cane and is very similar to French Pastis.

Aguardiente is produced in different regions, the best known being the Aguardiente Antioqueño. You can buy it in different sizes, as well as in Tetra Pak.

Joseescobar2012 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Avocado

There has been some real hype around the world for some years now. In Colombia, avocados grow almost everywhere and are also offered on every street corner. Avocado is an integral part of Colombian food culture.

There are 2 types of avocados in Colombia. The big green avocado, which has a more watery taste and is as big as a football. The smaller of the two fruits is green to black and more intense in taste.

Taken from: https://www.piqsels.com/

Bocadillo

This is a typical Colombian sweet, which is also very popularly eaten with soft cheese.

Bocadillos are made from guavas. The pulp is cooked together with Panela until the consistency is right. Then the paste is shaped into blocks.

The difference between the industrial and hand-made products can usually be seen in the packaging and the cut blocks. In some regions, Bocadillos are still packed in natural leaves.

momentcaptured1 / CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Chamba Ceramics

The products known in Colombia are manufactured in the village of La Chamba in the Tolima department. The first pottery started over 300 years ago. Today pots, dishes, and other items are sold not only in Colombia but all over the world.

The production is almost exclusively in the hands of women. Although some of the original indigenous paintings have been lost, the classic forms have been preserved.

Hammock

In Colombia, there are hammocks to relax in almost every hotel and hostel. These are not lacking in the Fincas either. However, different models are produced depending on the region. Therefore, we focus here on the absolute top model, the best hammock in the world, in my opinion, the Chinchorro.

Chinchorros are made by the indigenous Wayuu in La Guajira. The manual production takes between 3 weeks and 3 months, depending on the size. There are 3 sizes, single, double, and family.

No hammock is the same, the colors and embroidery patterns are always different. Every Chinchorro is therefore unique and a work of art. In any case, I’m not exaggerating when I praise this hammock. I myself have one and make my daily siesta in it.

Headgear

In Colombia, you have to protect yourself from the sun and this is hardly better than wearing a hat. Traditionally, different headgear has developed in different regions.

For example, the cowboy hat is popular in Llanos, the area of ​​cowboys and cattle breeding. Of course, I own one, because I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy.

Then there is the Vueltiao Hat, which is made from a grass native to the Caribbean coast. This hat has its origins in indigenous culture and is now a national symbol.

The Aguadas hat is white or beige with a black band and is similar to the Panama hat. This is made from the Iraca Palma.

Coffee

Colombia is not the largest coffee producer in the world, but we produce some of the best beans in the world here. Coffee grows at altitudes between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level.

Arabica coffee is almost exclusively grown in Colombia and the cultivation and harvesting are manual. Therefore, you can find coffee farmers in very remote and difficult-to-access areas.

Colombian coffee is particularly famous for its mild taste. However, bulk buyers such as Nestle usually do not use the beans purely, but mix different types from different countries.

The ideal gift for yourself or for those who stayed at home in Colombia is a good sack of coffee. However, I recommend buying the coffee in whole beans and not ground, as this will keep the coffee taste longer.

I also recommend buying gourmet coffee. You get it in many coffees or, even better, you can buy the coffee on the Finca after a coffee tour.

One should refrain from buying cheap, already ground coffee in the supermarket. Good coffee is generally exported and you can hardly find it in the local supermarket.

Ceramic from Ráquira

The village of Ráquira is located near Villa de Leyva. It relies almost entirely on the production and sale of ceramic products.

You can find all kinds of subjects in the shops and everything is very colorful. Pigs are a well-sold product for some reason.

Cow Foot Bottle

Bottles of cow’s feet are sold in many places in Colombia, you can also find them in souvenir shops. Unfortunately, I could not find any background information about their origin. However, I will ask a shop next time and then add the information here.

medea_material / CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Handicrafts

In Colombia, handicrafts are made in many regions and also by many indigenous tribes.

The variety of products manufactured is considerable. If you are generally interested in handicrafts, Colombia is an absolute paradise.

Miniature Chiva Bus

The Chiva Bus represents Colombian culture like nothing else. The means of transport that is still used in many regions today is converted into a moving disco in cities.

In different sizes and colors, these vehicles are always a feast for the eyes. If you are looking for a good memory of Colombia, you are well-advised to go with a miniature Chiva bus.

Ramiro2 / CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Fashion items

Colombia not only impresses with its diversity and beautiful people, but is also a paradise for fashion fans. Colombia is one of the most important producers of textile products in Latin America.

Underwear and beach fashion in particular are exported. However, there are many Colombian designers who create fantastic fashion and the best thing is that in Colombia you can get them cheap too.

Custom-made products are also a bargain compared to other countries. There are entire streets and quarters with sales shops.

However, one should refrain from visiting an outlet. As has been reported several times in various media, outlets around the world do not sell cheap branded products, but rather products made for outlets, sometimes with lower quality.

Panela

Panela is made from sugar cane and is an integral part of the Colombian diet. Very well known and refreshing is Agua Panela, a drink made from water, Panela, and sometimes a dash of lime.

For the production of Panela, the sugar cane is pressed and the juice is then boiled until a viscous mass is formed. This mass is then pressed into blocks.

In some regions, car tires are also burned for the heat required. If you want to experience panela production up close, you simply have to follow the smoke columns.

Geovanyme / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Ruana

If you know what a poncho is, you can at least imagine a ruana. The poncho-like garment traditionally comes from the Boyaca department, a cold department.

Ruanas are made from thick sheep’s wool and warm the wearer immensely. There is hardly a better piece of clothing for cold areas and it is therefore regularly worn by the local population.

Geovanyme / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Rum

Rum is known to be a Caribbean drink and is made from sugar cane. Since Colombia is part of the Caribbean and enough sugar cane is produced, there is also rum production here.

Various Colombian rums have won various international awards in recent years. So if you like to drink rum, Colombia is now also competitive here.

Joseescobar2012 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Jewelry

Gold has been mined in Colombia for centuries and indigenous peoples have already made fantastic gold creations.

This tradition continues today and in some regions, the tradition of blacksmithing is still going on. You should definitely take a look around the center of Bogota, where jewelry stores are lined up one after the other.

Chocolate

So when I came to Colombia in 2015, the selection of chocolate was still very small and consisted mostly of the usual sweets. That has changed in the meantime and you are offered excellent black chocolate. However, milk chocolate has not yet reached a world level.

This is not a surprise, because in Colombia cocoa is grown in different regions. I have also made chocolate myself.

Taken from: https://www.needpix.com/photo/245430/cocoa-man-colombia-peasant-hand

Emerald

Emeralds are green gemstones and Colombia produces an estimated 70-90% of the precious stones. These stones are offered in many places in Bogota and Cartagena. In Bogota, there is also a street market and even an emerald museum.

You should carefully examine the matter before making a purchase. Otherwise, the risk of paying an excessive price is very high.

Taken from: https://pixabay.com/es/photos/gema-esmeralda-piedras-4014145/

Shoulder Bag

The mochilas are available in different areas and the designs and colors also change by region.

Again, I focus on the absolute top product, which this time is manufactured in La Guajira by the indigenous Wayuu.

The beautiful cheerful colors as well as the attached decorations and embroidery patterns are unparalleled anywhere in the world. The shoulder bags are not only incredibly practical but also very robust.

When we were in Riohacha, I had to encourage my employees to buy various bags. An employee later had a zipper sewn in, which is a great idea.

Dear Reader,

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2020-07-29T19:48:43+00:00

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