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Virtual Colombia Photo Library
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The Colombian textile industry is well-recognized and reputable around South America and Europe. Clothing and lingerie are particularly regarded as high quality and very affordable. Leather garments, shoes and accessories are also of interests for foreigners. The best place to buy either clothing or lingerie is Medellin, known for being the fashion capital of the country. You can get very high quality at a very low cost.

Colombian emeralds and gold (18k) jewelry can also be very attractive for visitors. A very Colombian style of jewelry is the copies of precolumbian jewelry, which are fabricated with gold, silver and semiprecious stones.

The "mochila" is a traditional, indigenous, hand-woven Colombian bag, normally worn over the shoulder. They are commonly sold in shopping malls, especially in the Santa Marta/El Rodadero area. Mochilas usually come in three sizes - a large one to carry bigger things, a medium one to carry personal belongings, and a small one to carry coca leaves. Coca leaves were carried by the natives to eliminate hunger, and to combat altitude sickness.

Handicrafts such as intricately designed jewelery are commonly sold in markets and on street corners. Many street vendors will approach people, selling t-shirts, shorts, glasses, bracelets, watches, necklaces, souvenirs, and novelty photographs. If you want to buy something, this is a good time to exercise your bartering skills. Usually you go down by 2,000 to 3,000 pesos, however 2,000 is the generally accepted rule. For example, if someone is selling a shirt for P$10,000, try asking P$8,000 and go from there.

If you don't want to buy anything, a simple gracias, ("thank you") and a non-committal wave of your hand will deter would-be sellers.


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