These are not typical souvenirs but truly original items that will remind you of a memorable trip.
Forget the usual magnets, keychains or t-shirts with the name of the city you visited. These are some of the things you should buy in Chilean Patagonia, all representing Patagonians’ everyday lives and made from native materials.
These handicrafts and products made from the area’s natural resources have a special value. In addition to supporting local production, you will find pieces that only exist in Patagonia.
Your trip to the end of the world should create unique memories, including the things you take back home. If you plan to return with more luggage, do it with authentic and distinctive souvenirs. Here we recommend four things you should buy in Chilean Patagonia:
Chilote woolen hat
It is a traditional accessory that’s even won a place in national folklore. A classic postcard of Chiloé depicts the typical fisherman going out to sea wearing his woolen hat.
These hats are usually hand-knitted by Chilote artisans from sheep's wool. They provide ideal protection from the usually cold and windy climate in the area.
You can find them in several markets or craft fairs scattered around the Chiloé archipelago. For example, the Dalcahue fair, Los Palafitos in Castro, or the Llauquil crafts fair in Quellón, among others.
Puerto Natales knitwear
If you like sheep's wool and want to wear something a little more sophisticated you can find exclusive designs at the Le Mouton Vert store in Puerto Natales. There, this garments are made in a completely natural way, in an aim to raise awareness of non-industrialized work.
It is located on Avenida Pedro Montt 16, Galpón Patagonia.
Also in Puerto Natales, you can weave your own creations at Krea-Noe. There you can take a weaving class and make your own scarf. There are also bed runners, ponchos, ruanas (oversized wraps), sweaters and many other clothes made from wool.
Salmon is not just sought after to prepare delicious culinary dishes; it now has a second use. The skin that is discarded by most salmon farms is used to make exclusive handbags, shoes, wallets, and several other accessories.
You can find these products at the Melipulli crafts market (opposite the Puerto Montt bus terminal), at Chiloé’s traditional summer fairs, and at crafts fairs in Angelmó and Plaza de Armas, in Coyhaique.
One of the things you need to know about Patagonian culture is the Indigenous peoples who inhabited this southern land, among them the Selk’nam. This group is characterized by its striking bodypainting done with animal fat.
One shop in the Puerto Natales crafts market sells small replicas of rheas made from rabbit skin and figures of Selk’nam men carved in wood made by artist María Guenchugaray, who specializes in rustic pieces.
Huilliche artisan Rosa Paillacar, inspired by Selk’nam rituals, also carves beautiful figures of this Indigenous people. She sells them in Rodemil Bitterlich No. 1650.
You will live a unique experience in Patagonia. Make sure you buy a special souvenir to take home that you find useful or meaningful, one that you will not find elsewhere in the world.
By buying a local piece of craft, you will be supporting local development and own a product with a story.
Also, make sure you are aware of your country’s entry restrictions on products with a vegetable or animal origin.