Shopping in Argentina

From glitzy and glamorous branded products to rare and unique items, there's something for everyone in Argentina's malls as well as in the tiny cubby-hole shops in the markets.

Try the street markets at Arroyo for a great start. You might also enjoy visiting the Sunday flea market at San Telmo; or the antique fair held on Sundays at Plaza Dorego.

If it is leather goods that you fancy, then you can get ‘made-to-order' products within a few days. You can buy authentic Argentinean handicrafts, which are very popular with tourists, at special markets. The products designed by the talented and creative fashion designers are worth buying too. They use a lot of wool, leather, hand woven fabrics and lace with gaucho twist to their creations. You will also love to take Bariloche chocolates and Mendoza wines as gifts for friends and family.

read more
Buenos Aires is also well known for its magnificent boulevards that are choc-a-bloc with galleries, boutiques and antique shops. Amongst these, the Calle Florida, a grand mall, is rather popular with visitors. Expensive furs and leather goods are sold here at prices comparable to those in New York.

If you are looking for a less expensive place to shop in, then the Patio Bullrich in Buenos Aires is a good place to walk into. For a dose of retail therapy, try the glitzy retail shops at Avenida Alvear, which has all the big retail brands like Georgia Armani and Louis Vutton.

If you are after handicrafts, then visit the local ferias or fairs that happen all across the country. You might like to visit the Hippie Fair that is held in Plaza Francia (near Cemetery Recoleta). This particular fair is held noon onwards on every weekend and on public holidays.

Gaucho goods

Argentina is the land of cowboys with the lifestyle of the South American cowboy or the Gaucho attaining an almost iconic stature. So, Gaucho crafts are quite popular with the people in Argentina. Boleadoras - heavy leather balls that are attached to a rope and used for hunting, facones or knives, stirrups and leather belts with silver streaks in them, a set of mate drinking gourds with some bombilla (metal straws with intricate designs), cowhides, silver spurs and colourful hand woven ponchos - all these gaucho handicrafts can be bought at Kelly's Regionales.

Pottery

Argentina is known for its exquisite painted pre-Columbian pottery made by potters of northwest Argentina. Made with river clay sourced from the Guayamba River, the pots are moulded and fired, before applying a glaze made with goat manure. This glaze gives it a black sheen. After this is done, special patterns and motifs are painted on to give it an etching-like effect. You might like to buy some from around the Pampa Brava and northwest Argentina.

Leather Goods

Known for its leather goods, Argentina has something for everyone. From an amazing selection of leather shoes to exquisite valises and handbags, satchels and briefcases to saddles and accessories - there is a wide range of leather products in every possible colour to suit all budgets. Trendy jackets and full length coats, floor accessories and tiny coin pouches that double up as key chains are popular items.

Stone Carvings

The mountain stones found in Argentina are carved and polished to make beautiful pieces of jewellery, urns, vases and bowls. These are often displayed in the shop windows of upmarket shops. Rhodoshrosite is one of the most prized stones here. It comes in an array of pale shades that range from an exquisite pink with bargello patterns and swirls to a pale blush to a deep rose.

Siphones

You can pick up Siphones, soda-making machines which are available at the Sunday flea markets in San Telmo

Shopping hours

Several shops in Buenos Aires are open on weekdays from 10 am to 8 pm. Some of these shops are also open for business on the weekends. Malls have their own business hours and are generally open during the weekends.

Most of the shops situated outside Buenos Aires are closed between 12 pm to 4 pm for siesta.

Payment

Visa cards, dollars and Euros are accepted everywhere. For hand crafted clothes, textiles and furniture, go to Pasion Argentina, an organization that works with neglected craft communities. For hand crafted silver jewellery, furniture and textiles, made by aboriginals, Tierra Adentro is the best bet.

The ‘Tax Free' signs near shops indicate that tourists can get back the 21% sales tax that they have to give for any product bought in Argentina.