Shopping in Montevideo
For such a small city, Montevideo offers a wealth of shopping opportunities. The larger shopping centres sell brand name items as well as woollen wear and locally produced ceramics; while the wide range of ferias (markets) in the capital peddle crafts, clothes and antiques.
Woollen textiles and wood crafts are good buys that also reflect Uruguay's rural heritage. The shops around Plaza Independencia sell all types of leather, including rabbit, but do check the quality of both the material and the workmanship.
Manos del Uruguay (www.manos.com.uy) is a not-for-profit cooperative with outlets throughout the city. It combines contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship.
The Feria de Tristán Narvaja is a bustling Sunday street market that sprawls for several blocks, starting at the corner of Avenida 18 de Julio and Calle Tristán Narvaja. You'll find everything from second-hand clothes to souvenirs to live animals (and much more) on sale.
The Villa Biarritz Fair, until 1500 on Saturdays in Parque Zorilla de San Martín-Ellauri, is an atmospheric market selling local produce and handicrafts. Mercado de los Artesanos, at San José 1312, is another decent crafts market, open most days except Sunday.
Punta Carretas Shopping (www.puntacarretas.com.uy) at José Ellauri 350 was once a prison but is now the city's largest shopping centre. It houses fashionable shops, a multiplex cinema and restaurants.
Montevideo Shopping Centre (www.montevideoshopping.com.uy) on Avenida Luis Alberto de Herrera was the city's first shopping mall, with 180 shops to suit most tastes and budgets.
Shops in Montevideo are generally open Monday to Friday 0900-1900 and Saturday 0900-1300. Small shops tend to close at lunch and on Saturdays. Larger shopping malls and supermarkets are usually open all week, including evenings.
There are plenty of souvenirs to shop for in Montevideo, including highly-polished, semi-precious stones, leather goods and wood craft items. Yerba mate (a South American caffeine drink) mementos, such as delicately engraved bombilla straws (drinking straws), are particular favourites.
Non-Uruguayan residents can obtain a tax refund by requesting tax receipts when making purchases. Items must be purchased with a credit card. Upon departure, the receipts must be validated at Uruguayan Customs. The refund will then be made to the credit card.