As you travel the country, you’ll see lots of souvenirs. While many of the products are made in Ecuador, an equal number are imported from other countries. In this post, you’ll learn about six of the best things to buy in Ecuador – that are actually made in the country.
6 Best Things to Buy in Ecuador (Before Flying Home)
Here are some locally made products that you might consider bringing home as a souvenir of your Ecuador adventure.
1) Panama Hats
I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t these from Panama? While the name suggests otherwise, these hats are actually made in Ecuador. They are popular with many visitors and range in price from $20 to many hundreds of dollars.
Made from palm fibers, boiled, dried then woven, these hats have been made in Ecuador since at least the 16th century.
Panama hat images via GringosAbroad
2) Tagua Jewelry
Tagua is a vegetable ivory and grows on the palm tree Phytelephas aequatorialis (commonly known as Ecuadorian ivory palm). Tagua ivory grows in many provinces of Ecuador, including El Oro, Guayas, Manabí, Esmeralda, Carchi, and the large Amazon Region.
Tagua jewelry and ornaments are commonly found in gift stores around Ecuador. They are inexpensive – ranging in price from a $3 (for a simple keychain) to $15-30 (for a more elaborate piece). Because tagua is an organic product, it can be susceptible to little bugs. Before you purchase a piece, just double check to make sure that there are no small holes in the surface.
Here are a few images showing the finished product.
3) Silver Jewelry
In Chordeleg, a small town near Cuenca, you can find numerous silver shops. They make intricate jewelry with the filigree method of twisting and weaving fine strands of silver.
This silver jewelry is available around the country – and is very inexpensive.
Filigree silver hummingbird via GringosAbroad
Watch on YouTube
Ecuador is famous for its chocolate. Because of the economic impact, some farmers refer to it as “black gold”. Ecuador has a long history in the production of cocoa. Until the early 1900’s, it was the world’s largest exporter of cocoa.
Ecuador has some of the oldest varieties of cocoa trees, providing distinctive flavors.
Some manufacturers you might want to check out include:
- Republica del Cacao
- Pacari Chocolate
- La Universal: most of what they make is candy, but you might want to try Tableta Superior – it comes in a gold wrapper.
Ecuador chocolate photo via Bryan Haines
5) Ecuador Coffee
Ecuador grows a lot of coffee. And while some of it will be burnt and bitter, you’ll also find some of the best coffee that you’ve ever tasted. You can buy every type – from organic Galapagos coffee to Lojano coffee grown in the valley of longevity (Vicabamba).
More on why Ecuador coffee is taking off on Perfect Daily Grind.
For a commercially produced brand, you might want to check out Cafe Cubanito, produced by Ortiz & Jacome in Cuenca.
6) Textiles: Hammocks, Ponchos, and Scarves
The artisans in Otavalo are world famous for their weaving work. They produce beautiful wall hangings, scarves, ponchos, and hammocks. The price is surprisingly low for the amount of work in each piece. Their work can be purchased at markets just about everywhere in the country.
These are among the most popular souvenir to bring back from Ecuador.
Learn more about the culture in Otavalo and the northern highlands.
And there you have it – the 6 best things to buy in Ecuador (and bring back home).
What products are you planning on trying / buying in Ecuador? Let us know in the comments.