Are Your Souvenirs Authentic?

Souvenirs from Samuel Lind's workshop

We all do it. We go on a trip or vacation and we bring back souvenirs. How often have you given thought to how authentic your souvenirs are? Have you ever considered whether your souvenirs are ethically sourced? Could buying that item cause harm to a country, an economy, an ecosystem, or an endangered species? All these questions are important to consider when purchasing mementos of your trip.

SYTA, Student Youth Travel Association, recently published an article on how to teach your students to be  conscientious travelers when purchasing souvenirs. Even if you are not a teacher planning a student tour, there are excellent guidelines for how to go about selecting and purchasing authentic souvenirs that support artisans and the local community in any country you may visit. The link to the article is below.

Below is a list of stores in Old San Juan that sell authentic souvenirs made by local artisans. In some cases you can even watch the artisan work.  You won’t find any Chinese manufactured and stamped goods in any of these stores.

Puerto Rican Arts and Crafts
204 Calle Cristo
Most of the items in this store are from local Puerto Rican Artisans. There are a few items from other Latin American countries, but the country of origin is marked.
152 Calle Cristo
This store only sells items made by local Puerto Rican artists.
Mi pequeño San Juan
152  Calle Fortaleza
Miniature plaques of actual houses and doorways found in Old San Juan. All items are hand painted.
El Galpón
154 Calle Cristo
This shop specializes in Vegigante masks and santos (wooden figurines of Catholic saints).
Máscaras de Puerto Rico
105 Calle Fortaleza
Another store specializing in Vegigante masks of all sizes.
Mi Rincón
251 Calle Cristo
The store owner is an artist who sells her digital photos of Old San Juan, decorative art, and various hand painted items.
105 Calle Fortaleza
This Artisan specializes in Panama hats. While these hats did not originate in Puerto Rico, they are all handmade right there in the shop.
Mundo Taino
Calle Fortaleza
There is a wide variety of hand crafted items from pottery to wood carvings, and jewelry. This store has a great selection.

For more information on all things Old San Juan visit:

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