Merida Shopping and Districts
(Merida, The Andes, Venezuela)
Casco Central, home to the historic quarter of Merida, is also the city's commercial and shopping district. Due to Merida being the central capital of its province, the extensive shopping facilities in the city attract people from all over the state.
The most popular destinations for locals are the modern shopping malls of Centro Comercial Las Tapias (CC Las Tapias) and Centro Comercial Alto Prado (CC Alto Prado), located on the Avenida Andres Bello and the Avenida Los Proceres respectively, with their host of small shops, eateries, supermarkets and cinemas. Three larger malls - the Rosario, the Plaza Mayor and the Rodeo, have all recently opened on the Avenida Las Americas.
When to Shop and Where
The street markets of Merida are good sources of local delicacies, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, enticing snacks and meals on the go. People-watching here is a rewarding occupation, although it is best to take care of your belongings in crowded areas.
Although browsing the malls can be fun, visitors to Merida are more likely to prefer shopping for the fine arts and crafts of the Andean region as souvenirs of their holiday.
There are a number of small art galleries scattered around the Old City, showing art works by local artists, which make great souvenirs of your visit. The best place for arts and crafts is at the Mercado Principal market, famous for its variety of artefacts.
The Mercado Principal on the Avenida las Americas serves as Merida's main market, being set on three floors and a great source of handicrafts shopping, with many stalls offering a variety of well-made traditional artefacts at good prices. This busy market opens daily at 07:00 and runs until lunchtime. Woven baskets, cosy knitted llama-wool sweaters, ponchos and scarves, intricate woodcarvings and jewellery are all popular purchases here.
On a walk through the Old City's narrow streets, visitors will see traditional ceramic pots, both decorative and useful, piled outside old houses and workshops. These and many more of the region's crafts, displaying the charm of the locality, can be bought straight from the makers. In the same area are lots of tiny shops selling a little of everything.