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Shopping in El Salvador


The best souvenirs in El Salvador are handicrafts, including ceramics (especially in Ilobasco), hand-painted wood (La Palma) and wicker furniture (Nahuizalco). You can also pick up bargains at the Mercado Cuartel craft market in San Salvador (only go there with a Salvadoran). The shopping malls, including Multiplaza, Galerias, Metrocentro, Gran Vía, Hiper Mall and Cascadas, sell upmarket souvenirs.

Shopping hours vary in El Salvador with most establishments open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 am-8 pm. Malls tend to open for business 10 am-8 pm daily. Some local shops, especially those selling food and drink, open until late.

San Salvador

San Salvador offers the best upscale shopping in El Salvador, with most high-end shops centred in four large, modern malls . The city's Zona Rosa section along the Boulevard del Hipódromo is lined with smaller independent shops and the small Basilea shopping centre (Boulevard del Hipódromo), which features small boutiques and jewellery stores.

San Salvador's largest but least upscale of those malls is Metrocentro (Boulevard de Los Héreos and Calle Sisimiles) across the street from the Intercontinental Real Hotel. Metrocentro has a few designer shops, but it's better for basics. More upscale is the Galerías Escalón (Paseo General Escalon 3700), which is a large mall with designer shops, chic restaurants, and a multi-screen cinema in the midst of the exclusive Escalón residential neighbourhood.

And about 20 minutes from Metrocentro are the Multiplaza and Gran Via malls. The Multiplaza Mall (Calle El Pedregal and Carretera Panamericana a Santa Ana, Antigua Cuscatlán) is the city's most upscale mall, with designer shops such as Zara clothing, a multi-screen cinema, and an entire wing offering some of the city's best nightclubs and lounges. About a block from Multiplaza is the La Gran Via Mall (Carretera Panamericana a Santa Ana and Calle, Chiltiupan, Antigua Cuscatlán), which is smaller than Multiplaza but centred around a large, inviting outdoor courtyard with upscale designer shops, a multi-screen cinema, and restaurants with outdoor seating. If you have time to visit only one of these malls, Gran Via is the best place to eat and people-watch on its central outdoor plaza, Multiplaza has the best nightlife, and Escalón is the place to go for small boutiques.

For those shoppers interested in purchasing fairly traded crafts and organically grown produce, a local alternative market is held every other Saturday in the San José park in the San Luis area just west of the National University.





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