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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Ecuador > Quito

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Shopping in Quito

Many people come to Quito with artisanal goods on their shopping list. Handmade crafts are in excellent supply, much of it produced locally, and they can be bought at bargain prices from the market. For more modern shopping, head to the modern Mariscal district.

Key areas

The main shopping district of Quito is in Mariscal, the new town area. You'll find just about everything in this bustling, modern district with plenty of designer-brand shops and boutiques.

Buy high-quality items in specialised shops, such as Olga Fisch Folclore on Colón E10-53, a local institution, set by a Hungarian Jewish artist who fled Europe on the eve of WWII. Another great shop for handmade crafts is Tianguez, located on the same premises as the namesake café.

Many art galleries sell paintings by modern Ecuadorean artists. Galeria Beltran at Reina Victoria 326 and Galeria Catasse on Avenida 6 de Diciembre y Checoslovaquia are among the most renowned.

Markets

Look for bargains at one of many markets, such as Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal on Jorge Washington between Reina Victoria and Juan León Mera. The place is swamped with colourful knitwear, woven bags, rugs, jewellery and trinkets.

Shopping centres

It's hard to argue that there is anything remotely Ecuadorean about Quicentro on Inaquito, but homesick Westerners can head to this gigantic mall which houses all the usual global brands. Prices are undiminished, so don't expect any bargains. There's a large food court on the top floor.

Opening hours

Shops tend to be open early until late, usually 0900-2200, with some smaller establishments closing for lunch.

Souvenirs

Whether you're after a panpipe, a llama key ring or small ceramics, Quito's historical centre is full of shops selling souvenirs. Galería Latina is a safe bet for woodcarvings, jewellery and clothing.

Tax information

The value-added tax, known as IVA, on most goods in Ecuador is 12%. Tax free shopping is available in the city for purchases over $50, but the goods must have been made in Ecuador. Look out for the 'Tax Free' stickers in shop windows. Refunds should be claimed at the airport.

Featured Hotels

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Hilton Colón Quito

Close to the historical district and Quito's airport, Hilton Colón Quito is a large compound, complete with the excellent Italian Portofino restaurant and a sushi bar. The main 19-storey tower overlooks Edijo Park and the Old Town. Large rooms have all the expected amenities. The hotel also boasts a fitness centre, a spa with Turkish bath and sauna, and an outdoor heated pool.

Community Hostel

Socially-minded and solo travellers should feel right at home with Community Hostel's daily schedule of activities, which include everything from a weekly food tour of the city to a Saturday night pub crawl. Situated in Quito's historic centre, the hostel also offers free Wi-Fi, security lockers, and 24 hour reception.

Casa Joaquin Boutique Hotel

Situated in the lively La Mariscal district, this boutique offering occupies the grounds of a restored colonial house and enjoys a rooftop terrace and large patio. Rooms include parquet flooring and all the modern fixtures and fittings you would expect, including a flat-screen TV, telephone and free Wi-Fi.

Café Cultura

This legendary hotel, in the heart of Mariscal Sucre area, is owned by a Hungarian painter who has turned every room into a work of art. Located in an old mansion house, it has a lush garden and a common area where you can dine in style or chat with other travellers, sitting by the fireplace. Wireless Internet is available.

Swissôtel Quito

Set dramatically on top of the cliff overlooking the picturesque Guaopolo valley, this hotel offers luxurious rooms as well as apartments for a prolonged stay, complete with all amenities one might expect from a high-class business hotel. It has six restaurants specializing in Swiss, French, Japanese and other international cuisines. The Amrita Spa centre boasts a gym and two pools - indoors and outdoors.

Hostal de La Rábida

Everything is white in this friendly Italian-run, middle-range hotel: the mansion house which it occupies, the rooms and the rabbit that lives in the little garden into which rooms open - hence the name. There is a cosy little restaurant serving Italian and Ecuadorean meals. Wireless Internet is available.