One of Quito’s first fair-trade shops, Camari (which means “gift” in Quechua) has been around since 1981. The wares, sourced from around the country, are varied, from local coffee to traditional bowls. Buying souvenirs from here directly benefits Ecuador’s indigenous community.
Casa Indo Andina
This hard-to-find shop sells Andean artifacts, sterling silver jewelry and colonial-era artwork.
Offering sterling silver jewelry, soft alpaca sweaters and toquilla hats, this shop is one of Quito’s best. The quality here is much higher than at the outdoor markets, so come prepared to pay blue-chip prices.
A common misconception is that Panama hats originated in Panama. In fact the woven straw hats were invented in Ecuador and made from a specific type of palm frond that only grows on the Ecuadorian coast.
Located on the Plaza San Francisco, Homero Ortega is the most respected shop for these beautiful hats that can take up to 6 months to make (and cost up to $300). The well-appointed showroom displays photographs and examples of how the hats are made from the moment the palms are stripped until the grosgrain bands are attached. Cheaper versions, which are not as finely woven but still very chic, are available and are priced around $30.
Just across the street from Plaza Naya, this hidden gem occupies an old residential home on the edge of Quito’s New Town. Secluded behind an ornate gate and small garden, this boutique sells a variety of Ecuadorian crafts, including a selection of mind-blowlingly soft alpaca sweaters.
Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal
Spanning half a city block, this open-air market houses a smorgasbord of different craft and souvenir stalls. Gravitate towards the alpaca blankets and authentic leather bags and don’t be afraid to bargain.
Founded by Olga Fisch, a Hungarian émigré with a fascination for Ecuadorian crafts, this colorful shop has the goal of empowering local artists. The cute selection features alpaca ponchos, splashy sneakers and screen-printed totes. The shop also sells Olga’s original Ecuadorian-inspired tapestries and rugs. Be sure to check out the small adjacent museum that displays traditional Andean artifacts.
If you tire of the endless parade of alpaca ponchos, straw hats and silver earrings, head over to Shepard, where young designer Gabriela Cardenas is designing for Ecuador’s younger generation. The boutique sells men’s and women’s clothing, quirky jewelry and chic bags.
The rabbit warren of rooms that extend under the San Francisco cathedral is home to a marvelous shop that sells fair-trade Ecuadorian crafts. Traditional jewelry, ceramics and textiles are available. Don’t miss the baby alpaca woven scarves, hats and gloves.