If you ask anyone on the streets about where to buy handicrafts or souvenirs of your visit to Cartagena de Indias, without a doubt one of the first ones they will mention will be the Las Bóvedas Cultual and Commercial Center.
For more than 40 years, in this place have come together commercial stores dedicated to the sale of handmade articles and different pieces that evoke the culture and tradition of Cartagena and Colombia. In “Las Bóvedas” you will find a permanent fair that exhibits the best talent of artists and artisans of the region.
On this commercial sector you will find a large number and variety of objects that can be acquired for a small fee and that will surely become the perfect gifts and memories from the beautiful Cartagena.
In the store number 8, its owner, Raquel Gil, daughter of the renowned art master Eladio Gil Zambrana, author of iconic monuments of the city, such as the “India Catalina”
and the one of “Los Alcatraces”, took good care of us, and allowed us to use her shop as a photographic studio. In here we present a list of 10 items with a value equal to or less than 100 thousand COP, which will allow you to take with you a gorgeous part of Cartagena de Indias wherever you go:
1. Rotating decorative trays
Even though the larger ones are out of our budget, you can find amazing options between 70 thousand and 100 thousand COP.
2. “Palenqueritas” of Cartagena
Representative figures of these iconic women that we can see on beaches and the Historical Center of Cartagena. 35 thousand COP.
3. Chests and boxes decorated with designs of Cartagena
You can take them in different sizes and with the colors and motifs you prefer. They range between 25 thousand and 50 thousand COP.
4. Indigenous bags and artisanal wallets
Fine craftsmanship and authentic pieces made by Indigenous communities of great tradition. The price of the bags ranges from 50 thousand to 80 thousand COP, and that of wallets in leather and “mola” from 70 thousand to 80 thousand COP.
5. Figures of the “India Catalina”
The cost of these statues to scale varies according to the material. This is how the ones in nickel are worth 11 thousand COP; those of resin 13 thousand COP; and the most valuable, made in resin and fiberglass, can cost a little more than the 100 thousand COP, but they are worth to pay the surplus.
6. “Chivas” of Cartagena
The traditional and always wanted ceramic replicas of the popular “chivas”. Depending on its size, you can buy one or several at a time. They range from 3 thousand to 50 thousand COP the largest.
Beautiful works by local artists in watercolor or canvas. The first ones can be purchased for values between 20 thousand and 100 thousand COP; the second ones can be yours for a price between 30 thousand and 100 thousand COP. It is worth mentioning that that framed paintings are more expensive.
One of the most desired items for its ease of installation and the comfort they offer regardless of the weather. You can buy beautiful options between 70 thousand and 80 thousand COP.
9. Figures of saints and pre-Columbian replicas
An excellent option for religious devotees and for those who appreciate the impressive technique of elaboration of decorative and ceremonial pieces owned by the first settlers of Cartagena and Colombia
. You can bring with you saints such as the “Virgen de La Candelaria” or the “Virgen del Carmen” for 30 thousand or 50 thousand COP. For its part, the pre-Columbian replicas can be purchased for 25 thousand, 50 thousand, and 90 thousand COP.
Gorgeous jewelry pieces made by talented artisans with the most striking colors and material of the region. On average you can put a spectacular necklace around your neck for a value of 40 thousand COP. And if you want the complete kit, with bracelet and earrings, you can surely take it for less than 100 thousand COP.
Do not forget to visit “Las Bóvedas” during your visit to Cartagena. Not only can you admire a beautiful period building, but you can also visit one of the most complete exhibitions of arts and crafts in the city. It is a space where the local culture and its long list of styles and techniques are proudly displayed to an increasingly demanding public that is aware of our heritage and traditions.
10 things perhaps you did not know about “Las Bóvedas” of Cartagena
- There are currently 23 commercial stores operating.
- “Las Bóvedas” were built by the best military engineer of the time, Don Antonio de Arévalo Porras.
- This building, of neoclassical style, was built at the time of the colony to store arsenal and accommodate the Spanish troops.
- Later, during the Independence struggles, it was used as a prison.
- One of the most famous prisoners was the national hero Antonio Nariño.
- It was the last construction of the era of the colony and constitutes the closure of the entire Walls circuit.
- “Las Bóvedas” are embedded in The Walls, between the Forts of Santa Clara and Santa Catalina.
- It has 47 arches and 24 vaults protected against cannon attacks.
- All the vaults had a ventilation system and were communicated with each other by passageways.
- In 1972 they were declared a Site of Cultural Interest.