Michael: Time closed in on us before our last trip to the USA. Now add to it that my wife is Colombian. By that I mean that part of her culture is to bring gifts for everyone whenever you travel. Bottom line, that means a gift for just about every relative and friend I know in Michigan.
In eleven years none of my relatives have ever visited us in Colombia. My thought is if you can’t get the relative to Colombia, then take Colombia to the relative. Therefore we like to take artisan gifts and not trinkets.
One of our favorite places to purchase these unique gifts is the Carpe Diem market in Bogotá. Others are many of the markets in small towns like Raquirá and Guatavita throughout the country. But we now live outside of Bogotá.
Graciela: With time short we hit the stores at malls seeking items. But many places disappointed us having just trinkets and whimsical stuff often purchased by tourists. We wanted crafts that were art pieces.
Michael: Then the large window of Arte Luna in Centro Chia mall grabbed our attention. There we spied the type of items we were looking for. They had Colombian pieces of art. Items came from around the country. Displayed were wall hangings, small houses, vases, fabric items jewelry and more.
They had a sampling of crafts from around Colombia all in one store. No need for us to walk through dozens of individual vendors, just to find variety.
Graciela: We are use to Colombian prices. I remember the first time that Michael came to the country a seller took one look at my husband’s face and quoted a price that had a very high gringo tax on it. Our first thought at this place was the prices might be considerably high. However, we found the prices at Arte Luna to be a value for the art received.
Michael: I like places that provide service. The quality of a place is judged by not just their assistance, but also by such things as if they smile. My wife told the salesperson that we were looking for gifts to take to relatives in the United States. The lady’s attitude and helpfulness should be an example for all sales people in Colombia. She listened to what type of things we were looking for, smiled and was sincerely interested in helping us find the perfect gifts. Suggestions were right on the money. She willingly checked inventory. Fragile items were packed in bubble wrap and even boxes were provided for free when we wanted them.
Even if you have hit some of the other places for Colombian crafts you will not be disappointed checking out Arte Luna. You will find everything from small chivas to large vases from around Colombia.
Centro Chia mall is in the city of Chia which is about a 20 minute drive from Bogotá. The mall itself has an excellent park and numerous coffee shops.