Travelling is fun when you can learn a thing or two about the culture of the country you’re visiting. Taking a token to remember that place helps you create tangible memories and make them part of you. So, finding the right souvenir to encapsulate the chronicles of your trip is another way to enjoy your time around.
Latin American countries are known for their intriguing cultural history. This makes them a treasure trove of souvenirs that not only have deep cultural roots but also serve as valuable items. So, if you’re heading to a Latin American country, you should have an idea of what to bring home from your trip.
Before you choose a souvenir, though, make sure you learn all the guidelines of your airline to know those things that you’re not allowed to board with. This will help you narrow your choices and decide what moves to make.
Now, let’s take a look at Latin American countries and their best souvenirs.
Whether you want to spend big or small, you can do that in Argentina. Luckily, getting the right souvenir doesn’t mean you have to blow a hole in your pocket. However, you should know that prices bend to the will of the country’s volatile economy, which could decide to suffer inflation when you arrive. That said, the South American country packs a lot of worthy souvenirs that will always live up to their price tags.
So, what can you get in Argentina?
Gauchos are a rich part of South American history. They’re the cowboys of Argentina and Uruguay that flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries and remain folk heroes to this day. Their tools, especially the Gaucho Knife, are now a staple of Argentine history and heritage. The Knife isn’t just a symbolic piece of history – it can also serve as a cooking knife. You can call it the Swiss Army knife of Argentina.
With the proliferation of cows in the country, leather is one of the best-priced goods in Argentina. It’s something of a national commodity. You can head to a local market and pick up a quality leather wallet or customized jacket.
The abundance of worthy collectibles in Brazil might put you in a tough spot. It’s a given that you won’t want to stuff more than you can carry into your carry-on luggage. Travel restrictions and the constraints of sending things over later should also be taken into account. Here are some of the must-haves if you find yourself in Brazil.
Since Brazil is famous for its beach life, among other things, you can get yourself authentic Brazilian beachwear or buy it for those back at home. It should easily fit into your luggage. The sunga is for the guys, while the bikini is for the ladies. The sarong and canga are also beach attire that is synonymous with Brazil.
Christ the Redeemer statue souvenir
If you don’t mind getting trinkets to place around your house or carry around, you can go for the Christ the Redeemer statue souvenir, which you can easily pick up in any of the many souvenir shops in Rio and around Brazil.
To enjoy Brazil to the fullest, you must have the country’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha. If you want to replicate the drink back home, you need to have its most important ingredient, Cachaça. You can also pick up a Caipirinha kit, which includes all the ingredients you need to make the drink! Be sure to confirm whether luggage restrictions don’t preclude you from taking it on board.
Colombia is a hot tourist destination for entertainment lovers and thrill-seekers. Apart from enjoying the sights of the impressive Caribbean coasts and breathtaking Andean summits, you can pack in more fun by shopping around for great souvenirs to take back home.
The Mochila shoulder bag is one of the country’s well-known exports. There’s no better way to show off your connection to Colombia than having your own Wayuu Mochila. This artisan product doesn’t just speak of the country’s history but also boosts your style.
Colombia is the number one exporter of emeralds in the world, with 80% of the global market share. There’s no doubt you’ll find better deals while you’re in the country, even though emeralds don’t come cheap.
Other great souvenirs that you can get from Colombia include the Chiba Bus, Ruana Poncho, and the Aguadeño Hat.
Pictures of Chile’s natural monuments and its imposing wilderness in Patagonia won’t do enough justice to preserving your memories. There are plenty of worthy souvenirs to mark your trip, most of which are going to prove useful.
Chilean artisans can make just about anything in copper, from jewelry to kitchen utensils. So, if you have someone in mind or want to buy yourself a copper souvenir, head over to one of the local stores.
The deep-blue semi-precious stone is a pride of Chile. There’s no better symbol to remind you of your time in the country. You can get it in silver bracelets or other forms of jewelry.
Alpaca wool is one of Chile’s finest treasures. It comes from the alpaca, a species of South American camelid mammal. Its fleece is great for the Chilean Andes' unfavorable climate, and you can find beautiful implementations in scarves and colorful jackets.
Paraguay has a strong tradition of handmade crafts, from the ñanduti lace produced by women in Itagua to yerba maté cups. You can always poke around shopping areas, such as Calle Palma in Asunción, to get some of these unique items.
Forget about buying ordinary items like t-shirts when you’re in Uruguay. You can memorialize your trip by going for truly original souvenirs that reflect the country’s culture and heritage.
A mate cup
This herbal drink is one of Uruguay’s true national symbols. It’s a bitter, caffeinated beverage made from the yerba mate herb. Even if you’re not a fan of bitter herbs, you can’t deny that the artistic nature of the mate cups makes them worthy gifts and mementos.
Polished stones and minerals
Mining minerals and stones is the main occupation in a large region of Uruguay. These precious materials are later sold as decoration or jewelry after processing. Amethyst is the country’s national stone, and it can be fashioned into different shapes to form amazing souvenirs.
Other items worth getting in Uruguay include leather and wood products, wool clothing, and gaucho attire, such as hats.
With its 37 official languages, Bolivia will feel like a country made up of different nations. This shows how much multicultural tradition you’ll get to explore. However, some souvenirs tie the entire country together.
Brightly coloured textiles are a part of the Bolivian way of life. You’ll find different traditional costumes in different designs that you can bring home to immortalize your memories.
Other incredible items worth buying are bowler hats worn by women, salt crafts, stone-carved talismans, and Ametrine, Bolivia’s national precious stone, which is a mixture of citrine and amethyst.
From food to art to wearables, Ecuador has many items entrenched in its rich history.
Tiguan art will easily end your souvenir search. The unique art style was founded by locals of the village of Tigua and involves painting on sheepskins to illustrate farming traditions. Tiguan art is now being featured in museums around the world. It is so popular that it’s now produced in large quantities.
You can also get textiles in Ecuador with designs that are unique to the region. If you’re going to return home with a gift, consider getting a scarf, a poncho, or even a hammock.
You can forever preserve your memories of friendly locals and world-class tourist destinations in Mexico in one – or more – of the country’s many souvenirs. The nation’s rich culture and varied history are depicted in its traditional folk art and handicrafts.
Mayan wooden masks
Mayan wooden masks, for example, depict ancient gods and deities. Other natural symbols, such as jungle animals of historic importance, are also illustrated in this style of art. If you’re a wrestling fan, then you can go for the Lucha Libre Mask, which is the symbol of the country’s native form of freestyle wrestling.
Taxco silver ring
When you wear a Taxco silver ring, bracelet, or earring, you’ll surely be asked where it came from by those with keen eyes. Named after the town where it’s produced, Taxco silver has grown to become one of the country’s main exports.
Mexican textiles, hot salsa, and the country’s range of ceramic products are other souvenirs worth checking out.
Even if you brought your own bathing suits to enjoy Costa Rica's world-class surfing scene and coastlines, you can expand your wardrobe with beautiful indigenous hand-made beachwear that will last you longer than you can imagine for such attire.
But it doesn’t stop at beach clothing. You can also get other great souvenirs from Costa Rica, such as handmade art and jewelry made from locally sourced materials; wooden crafts, including wine bottle holders, cups, and even kitchenware; and the country's main liquor, Guaro.
Generally, Peru has similar souvenirs to other Latin American nations, from Alpaca clothing to textiles. But one thing you won’t see in other countries is the Inca Cross.
While the cross might seem like an ordinary trinket, going to Peru will help you learn its importance.
It’s a symbol of the great Inca empire. If you go to Machu Picchu – and you certainly should – you’ll understand the historical significance of the piece and why you need to take it home with you. Understanding the meaning of the cross will show that you’ve encountered history face to face.
It’s worth mentioning that you could gather other memorable items in Peru:
- The Andean-style Chilli hat
- Peruvian musical instruments
- Coca candy
- Carved gourds
Belize being the second smallest country in Central America doesn’t reduce the variety of souvenirs you can choose from there. After you enjoy your time snorkelling, beaching, and diving, you might want to keep the memories fresh with some of these items.
Mayan baskets are a touch of Belize tradition. They make great decorative sets no matter where you put them and can be used to store different items conveniently. They’re traditionally handcrafted by Southern Belize women of Mayan heritage. While you’ll see these baskets in other Latin American countries, the designs you’ll find in Belize are truly unique.
You can place a piece of Belize art in your home or give it to that special friend. Locally made carvings are produced from exotic slate or wood and can aesthetically transform any corner. Be mindful, though, as wood can be expensive and difficult to maintain. If you don’t want to spend big, go for slate.
You can’t completely escape the Queen Conch in Belize. Even if you take a pass on the delicacy, jewelry made from the inner pink shell will doubtless catch your fancy.
Other items worth buying in Belize include:
- Belizean chocolates
- Music CDs
There’s hardly any Panamanian product without a rich cultural history. Handicrafts in the country are vastly varied, making it easy for you to discover something that uniquely speaks to you.
Panama's diverse mix of ethnicities is one of the richest and most complex in the world, including North Americans, Spaniards, Africans, Arabs, and lots more.
This is where you’ll always see an overwhelming array of traditional products to pick as keepsakes.
Molas are pieces of embroidered art that can be used as tablecloths, rugs, cushion covers, or even tapestries. The art behind this textile comes from the country’s traditional culture, as symbols, animals, and other geometric representations portray traditional figures.
You can buy your very own Panama-made leather shoes, belts or bags to commemorate your trip to the Central American country.
Other things worth buying are as follows:
- Gold and silver jewelry
- Belmont stone
The sheer array of souvenirs in El Salvador will blow you away, and if you’re not careful, it might get you spending more than you plan to. From wood handicrafts to paintings to hand-hewn furniture, you can get any type of beautiful locally made art. You can easily get these products and lots more in any of the souvenir shops around the country.
Hondurans are specially gifted in expressing their culture and traditions in arts and crafts. This is why most of the tokens you’ll find there are reminiscent of cultural ideologies and folk imagery.
The Maya civilization imprinted an everlasting love for jade on Hondurans. You’ll find all sorts of products made of jade, including necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and rings. You’ll also find the gem laid into vibrant art reproductions.
The extra care you have to give these products will be worth it when you learn the story behind each object. You’ll even find wood carvings in the rare and endangered mahogany. Always note that you might have to cough up a few bucks to get these souvenirs.
Here are other items you should consider getting:
- Textile fibres
- Costume jewelry
Cuban cigars are now a global product. But if you’re not a fan of smoking, there are plenty of Cuban crafts with historic significance that you can get in Havana and other parts of the Caribbean country.
Puerto Rico is as rich in culture as it is intriguing, both in the political and geographical sense. You’ll find a range of local products that will keep you struggling with indecision.
This is how Puerto Rican artwork that features different themes and materials is called. From carved coconuts to wood and slate, you’ll find different beautiful homemade one-of-a-kind pieces that will most likely make the trip back with you.
If you’re the cigar-loving type, then you’ll find different blends of Puerto Rican tobacco that will be more expensive outside the country.
Remember to do your research and refrain from buying items that your airline will prohibit you from carrying on board. Alternatively, you can always find a forwarder with our help in one of these countries and do you shopping from home!