Panchos!

Shopping in Montevideo

Shopping Centres/Malls

These are hugely popular. The easiest to get to are Montevideo Shopping Centre in Pocitos (the first and still the largest, at the intersection of Rivera and L. A. de Herrera). Punta Carretas Shopping is also very good. Both have restaurants, cinemas, supermarkets and exchange facilities. Open seven days a week.

Clothes and shoes

Manos del Uruguay ("Manos" for short, "hands" in Spanish) is a national institution, selling wool, alpaca, cotton and silk clothing made using tradition techniques such as knitting, manual looms, crocheting. Uruguayan wool sweaters, cardigans, shawls, scarves and ponchos are mainstays. Apart from scarves, Manos caters almost exclusively for women. Manos also sells some upmarket handicrafts and jams, and yarns too. The company has shops in Montevideo Shopping Centre (Pocitos), Punta Carretas Shopping and Portones Shopping Centre (Carrasco). There is a small shop on calle Sarandí corner Bacacay (Old Town) and another, larger one, recommended, on calle San José corner Río Negro which also has discontinued lines and special offers. Also has shops in Punta del Este and Colonia; www.manos.com.uy.

For a more cutting-edge look, there are several trendy boutiques in the pedestrianised stretch of calle Sarandí. La Pasionaria (see below) has some beautiful clothes and shoes. Women will also be able to indulge a passion for shoes, belts and bags at a clutch of outlets on Plaza Matriz and calle Gómez in the Old Town. The designs of Victoria M. Ortiz are popular: branches in shopping centres and at Avenida Brasil, corner Libertad (Pocitos).

For leather jackets (men's and women's styles), wallets and impressive cow and sheepskin rugs, you should not miss Las Magnolias on Plaza Zabala, a few steps from the Palacio Taranco (Old Town). Everything on display is of the highest quality. Recommended.

Gifts

Most supermarkets have a small selection of bottles of Uruguayan wine in wooden presentation cases that should survive the trip home in your luggage (starting at about $US15). For locally made chocolates and sweets, including candied orange peel, try Esencia Uruguay (calle Sarandí corner Zabala, Old Town). Uruguayans often encourage visitors to take home a jar of their ubiquitous caramel spread, dulce de leche.

Crafts

Crafts: Best option for its sheer variety is the Mercado de los Artesanos on Plaza Libertad, a cooperative with many stalls. We also recommend La Pasionaria on calle Reconquista corner Gómez in the Old Town, which has a hand-picked selection of excellent handicrafts, particularly ceramics.

Books

There are two unmissable antiquarian booksellers in the Old Town (see our feature, here):

Librería Linardi y Risso, calle Gómez corner Rincón

Librería Oriente Occidente, calle Rincón corner Gómez

On calle Bacacay (also Old Town) there is a nice selection of travel and children's books, plus the odd title in English at La Lupa. They also have a small exhibition space upstairs.

For art, design, photography and advertising titles – plus some books in French – try Graffiti on calle Río Negro, corner San José (Centre). On calle Tristán Narvaja, corner Paraguay (in the Cordón neighbourhood) Montevideanos and Babilonia are two good options.

Grooming

In the market for a haircut? Montevideo's hairdressers and barbers offer walk-in service. Prices are reasonable. We can recommend the multi-lingual service at Garbo in Pocitos (calle Scosería a few yards from the Rambla). Caters to men and women; also offers manicures. Open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Tel. 712 2581.