La Recova This building, on the edge of downtown near the port, houses a series of handicraft stores. All types of Paraguayan handicrafts are available, from blankets to thermoses and leather bags. The quality of goods is high. La Recova offers some advantages over the street side stands of Calle Palma, the main one being that you don’t have to do your shopping in the sun. El Porteno is a good option for colorful leather bags. Calle Colon, between Palma and Presidente Franco
Paraguay Shopping Handicrafts Photo Gallery
Plaza de la Libertad Artesama Stands The series of handicraft stands in the Plaza de la Libertad (one of the four plazas that make up the Plaza de los Heroes) specialize mainly in nanduti designs and ao po i clothing and tablecloths. Female backpackers low on space and money should check out the colorful selection of nanduti earrings and floral dechados which look great sewn onto a shirt or jeans pocket. Corner of Estrella and Chile
Overall Artesanias This store has a nice selection of Paraguayan artesanias including pottery by Ita artist Rosa Britez, hard-to-find applique vignettes from Santa Maria de Fe, and tote bags with drawings by indigenous artist Ogwa (see The Ishir) . Tel: 021 448 657, Mariscal Estigarribia, almost Caballero across the street from Hotel Chaco as well as a store in Shopping del Sol, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat 8am-12:30pm (8am-6pm in Shopping del Sol)
Cecilia Fadul Cecilia Fadul is the designer most responsible for making ao po i fashionable among Asuncion’s elite. Clothes are high-end with great attention to detail. A little out of the way and pricey but worth the splurge if you are looking for beautiful, well tailored pieces with intricate ao po’i work. Tel: 021 607 215, 021 600 419, Corner of Emilio Nudelman and Quesada, Mon-Fri 9am-7:30pm, Sat 9am-1pm
Pombero Named after the cigar smoking, cana (firewater) swigging Paraguayan mito or myth (see Meet the Mitos), Pombero is known for its young and modern take on ao po’i clothing. Dress shirts for men are pretty standard, but the women’s line has a wider range of styles and sizes (with better tailoring) than what street stands sell. Be sure to ask when they are having their discount sales. Tel: 021 440 205, www.pombero.com, Estrella 438, almost at Alberdi, daily 8am-7:30pm, Shopping Mariscal Lopez, daily 8am-9pm
Instituto Paraguayo de Artesama (IPA) Tent A great option if you don’t feel like heading downtown, you can get a little of everything from the stands under the IPA tent. Wood and leatherwork is nice as are nanduti offerings (including cute animal designs still on their wooden frames). ENSY’s homemade jams and liqueurs in bamboo cases etched with scenes from the Paraguayan countryside are particularly unique. Corner of Quesada and Malutin
Museo Guido Boggiani This museum in San Lorenzo is a great place to buy authentic indigenous crafts (see Museo Arqueologico y Etnografico Guido Boggiani).
Arana e Hijos Those looking for an extra special guampa or bombilla will be pleased with the high-end silver offerings of Arana e Hijos. Tel: 021 662 715, Avenida Mariscal Lopez 38 73, almost at O’Higgins (just past Shopping Villa Morra), www.arana.com.py, Mon-Fri 8am-5:45pm, Sat 8am-12pm
Luque Those looking to buy a serious amount of silver filigree jewelry should head to Luque’s main drag, lined with jewelry stores and workshops. The majority are located along General Aquino between the town’s two plazas and the church. Though the shops offer a wide variety, almost everything is also available in Asuncion’s silver stores and artesania stands. Most go to Luque to save on prices, though it isn’t worth the travel if you’re only buying one or two things. By bus: Linea 28 (ask to be let off at “la iglesia” and work your way back down the street). By car head out to towards the airport on Aviadores del Chaco (past Nu Guazu) and take a right just before the old Conmebol building with the soccer ball fountain in front. Take another right (you’ll see the snazzy new Conmebol center to left), and at the light take a left. You’llpass the large Los Jardines supermarket to your right before hitting the city center.