13 January 2014

What to Buy in Ecuador, Part II

Here's the next edition of "What to Buy in Ecuador." (Part I is here.)


Basket making is huge there. You see women weaving baskets all over the place - in their homes, on the street, on the bus. There were so many varieties, but here's one type that I loved (found in Cuenca at several artisan markets). These were little round boxes or bowls and they came in maybe a dozen different sizes. So perfect for housing gifts or sweets or for organizing small items.

I could actually see these bowls hung on the wall as an art installation.

Hand Carved Kitchen Utensils.

In Cuenca, they have an entire market of these hand-carved utensils at Plaza Rótary. So fun. I loved seeing the irregularities due to the carving.

Custom Men's Suits.

Quito had several shops of menswear fabric with seamstresses in the shop or nearby. Danny would love to get a suit made someday. He's picky about the fit, so it will be an experiment. But we'll let you know if it works out and we find a great suit maker.


These seemed to pop up in many shops. They use masks for various festivals there, but a collection of them would also be so fun for Halloween decorations or parties in the states.

Wool Socks & Sweaters.

They have lots of knitted wool items, including these socks. I have a thing for cozy socks to wear around the house in the winter or during the holidays. These are perfect.  :)  I found these in Quito at an outdoor market in Parque El Ejido.

Handmade Shoes.

We found a shop in the La Mariscal neighborhood of Quito that makes hand made boots and spectator shoes. In a week they can make you a custom pair for $80. (The shop name is Zapytal on Foch E4-298 near Avenue Amazonas.)

Out front they had these boots in the works.

Musical Instruments.

There were lots of guitar stores in Ecuador. There is also an entire town that specializes in making musical instruments, but we weren't able to visit it yet. Danny would like to get a classical guitar there someday.

And see the sweet little boy in the photo?  Every shop, every market, every vendor has children nearby. In Ecuador, every day is "bring your child to work day."

And I'll just end by saying that I'm so, so impressed with the hard working people of Ecuador. Just about every person you see there is making something, selling something, growing something, or carrying something. It was amazing to see their craftsmanship and commerce in action.

Have a great day,


P.S. The NY Times just listed the top 52 places to visit this year. Do you have any travel plans (or even just dreams) in the works? I'd love to hear! And it's worth noting that my 86 year old Grandma is on her way to China for a visit. :) So inspiring.    


  1. All those items are so much fun! Great pictures.
    My husband and I both served our missions in France (me in the south, him in the northeast) and we are working on figuring out a way we can return there for a few years with his job. We'd like to live there again for anywhere between 2-5 years, and preferably in the Provence region. I'm sure it will happen when it should. In the meantime - we're loving New England and frequent *vaca* trips to beautiful France!

  2. I would so love the socks. Ever thought of importing or doing so kind of on line shop while you are living "down south"? I don't know of anywhere you can get socks like that and a trip to Ecuador isn't in my immediate future.

  3. Those socks look so comfy! I actually have one of the baskets with the handle and I'm so impressed with the quality (we take it on trips, picnics, and to the farmers frequently and it still looks brand new!). This September my fiancé and I are getting married in New York City...we are both from Tulsa (Oklahoma) so two weeks in NYC is going to be quite an adventure! I've only been once, so any recommendations on places to see or eat would be very appreciated ;)

  4. I love that so many things are handmade there. And, I LOVE the colors of the baskets!

  5. I love everything! And I'm a little jealous that I'm not a man because I would looove to have a suit made for me!

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  7. Mara,

    We have a good friend that just got her mission call to Ecuador. Her name is Natalie Castillo, so you guys will have to keep your eyes open for her. She leaves this week so she should be there in 2 weeks. I am so proud of you guys, you are doing such amazing things! I ready your blog from beginning to end and loved every second of it. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know you and Danny. You both have been very influential in our lives. Thanks for being so amazing!! Love ya!

  8. You are so fortunate to be moving there! So many wonderful things you can buy for cheap! Love the socks, baskets, and boots! How fun!

  9. Thank you for the pictures! We bought many of these items when we lived there 12 years ago. We still have some of them and they bring back happy memories. I love adventure. I plan on visiting Paris and Frankfurt with my husband this year if I can be thrifty enough. Good luck!

  10. Mara, what was your favors City and why??? I am ecuadorian, what a surprise to se my country in your blog. I live in NJ



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