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Looking for authentic souvenirs and local artisan crafts? Like any other destination, finding authentic souvenirs amidst the cheap China souvenirs can be frustrating. But, when shopping in Puerto Rico, there are hidden gems along the way. Here are some of our favorite Puerto Rico shopping places to find the best quality authentic gifts in Puerto Rico….
1. Old San Juan
Old San Juan has plenty of shops, some of which have local crafts and gifts. Amidst all of the jewelry stores and cheap souvenir shops, there are a couple where the merchandise is thoughtful and well-planned and can give you a great overview of traditional crafts. Our favorites are Puerto Rican Arts & Crafts and Poet’s Passage on Fortaleza Street, and Mundo Taino on San Justo Street. Also, don’t forget to check out the gifts shops at El Morro and San Cristobal Forts – they have some great items not seen elsewhere, and the gift shop at the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture.
2. El Yunque Area
In the little town Palmer at the base of El Yunque you will find some great stores as well and a stop in this tiny town is a great pairing with your trip to the El Yunque Rainforest… The Caribbean Trading Company Store offers lots of unique gifts, souvenirs, and local treasures, and the store comes highly reviewed on Trip Advisor. This little area, called Palmer, is El Yunque’s Art District, and in addition to the Company Store, you will find several other unique Puerto Rico shops and eating establishments.
Rincon is the capital of surf in Puerto Rico and there are some cute beach shops as well as some excellent art studios. Our visit to Rincon always includes a visit to Rincon Pottery, Tres Puertas and Playa Oeste Gallery and the other little shops that can be found in the Plaza.
If you are taking a trip out to the island of Vieques, don’t forget to check out some of the shops! We always stop in to take a looks at the Casa Vieja Gallery, located on Route 201 La Hueca and the Siddhia Hutchinson Gallery, situated between the lighthouse and the ferry dock. Also enjoyable spots are the Luna Loca Gallery, Taina Pottery Workshop, Viques Photos, and Funky Beehive. The gift shop at the Vieques Trust is pretty great too.
5. Fairs & Festivals
There is no better way to find authentic crafts and souvenirs than directly from the artist. There are several larger craft fairs throughout the year, but any of the traditional festivals held in the town plazas around the island throughout the year are a great option. Some of the larger artisan frstival include: The Puerto Rico Tourism Company presents an annual three-day arts festival in early June called Feria de Artesanías. There is also an Artisan’s Fair in the first week in December at the Parque Luis Munoz Rivera in Puerta del Tierra in Old San Juan. The third week of January boasts the San Sebastian Festival in Old San Juan, where there are over 600 artisans exhibiting their wares. To find out more about local patronales festivals throughout the year, reference our Calendar of Events here.