Quaint, narrow alleys lined with traditional adobe buildings, straw roofs, artisan shops, and the irresistible smell of pastel de choclo—this is the enchantment of Los Dominicos, Chile’s largest artisanal center.
Many people say it’s a must-see for tourists, but Edwin and his mother had never visited. (The life of a foreigner is so different from that of a local!)
So in hopes of amending the fact that we had forgotten her birthday, we took my mother-in-law on a day trip to Los Dominicos.
A maze of shops
The Pueblito de Los Dominicos has some 160 shops and unquantifiable amounts of talent. We enjoyed watching artisans in their workshops—chipping away at wooden statues, heating metal for jewelry, or weaving wicker baskets.
There’s a difference between works of art by master artisans and smaller, touristy or utilitarian items. In Los Dominicos, you can buy both: beautiful artwork to cherish for your whole life and unremarkable souvenirs for your nephews, nieces, or friends at work.
In addition to handicrafts, you can buy plants and pets, or explore art expositions and plays. We bought a lemon tree and some tomato plants as a gift to my mother-in-law.
The food is a little pricey considering it’s the kind of food that you can find in picadas, the Chilean “hole in the wall” food joint. If you want to buy the pastel de choclo, it’s probably worth it. But for other vegetarians out there, it’s slim pickings—salads, cheese empanadas, french fries or maybe mashed potatoes.
The Church of Los Dominicos, officially named la Iglesia de San Vicente Ferrer, was built during the first half of the 19th century in the skirts of the pre-Andean foothills.
During the late 1970s, artisans started setting up shops in the small adobe buildings that had made up an hacienda-style pueblito. In 1983, the church was named a National Monument, and the “little town” next to it was dubbed the Pueblito de Los Dominicos.
It is now owned by the Cultural Corporation of Las Condes.
Visiting Los Dominicos
Summer schedule (October to April): Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 to 20:00 hrs.
Winter Schedule (May to September): Tuesday to Sunday 10:30 to 19:00 hrs.
Phones: 8969841 – 8969842 – 8969843
Theatre phone: 8969840
Avenida Apoquindo 9085, Metro Los Dominicos