El Hueco: The Cheapest Shopping in Medellín

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El Hueco has pedestrian walkways for shoppers.
El Hueco has a mix of little shops and mall style buildings
El Hueco has a mix of little shops and mall style buildings

Most U.S. cities have large malls, having moved on from downtown central shopping areas, but when in Medellín you must travel back in time and visit El Hueco.

This is like the downtown chaotic shopping of years past in the United States. You will find just about anything you want but it may take a bit of searching to find it.

Imagine walking into a treasure chest, great for shopping on a budget. You can find pretty much anything for the cheapest prices in the city. Sports gear, jewelry, art supplies, furniture, clothes, etc.

Personally I recommend going in the morning around 9. Everything is open but the area isn’t as congested as it would be in the afternoon.

A giant toy store in the middle of El Hueco
A giant toy store in the middle of El Hueco.

El Hueco is located in the center of Medellín and is accessible by all mass transportation.

You can get off on Metro station Cisneros or San Antonio, both leaving you in the middle of El Hueco. Most buses leave you in front of the Parque de las Luces or other central locations in El Hueco.

As I mentioned before, El Hueco is in the center of Medellín, which, unfortunately, is a very poor section of the city.

During the day it isn’t as dangerous but I wouldn’t walk around waving my iPhone in the air or wear my $2,000 watch.

Be mindful of your pockets and have fun exploring the area.

El Hueco has pedestrian walkways for shoppers.
El Hueco has pedestrian walkways for shoppers.

Negotiating

Try to visit El Hueco with a local because nobody can haggle a price down better than a paisa: plus most know how to get around and find what you need.

Walking through El Hueco is like walking through a maze. It’s easy to lose your way, but most people are glad to help you find your destination.

A basic rule I try to keep is walking along the metro, or making sure I always know where it is to avoid getting lost. Make sure you wear your good shoes because you will be walking a lot.

Try and make sure you know exactly what you need before heading into El Hueco, as it can get pretty hectic.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Gran blog me encantó, sólo en esta anuncio He caído fastinado. ok buen trabajo. Conozco Un Poco mas información Sobre Colombia.

  2. Every pair of jeans I own here in the United States (with the exception of one pair) I bought from El Hueco. Every time I have family visit from Colombia they bring me jeans from there. They are inexpensive, durable and fit very nicely.

  3. My Colombian wife and her sister visited El Hueco. Usually I accompany my wife when she goes shopping, but I was advised to stay at home for safety reasons. My wife did not think El Hueco was safe. She has no plans to return.

    • To be honest, I’m not a fan of it either. There are other places in the city to go for cheap clothes that don’t seem so dodgy. Robberies are common downtown, even during the day.

    • I accompanied my novia and her mother to El Hueco for a clothes shopping trip.. As usual, I got bored quickly and walked outside the store and found a comfortable bench. A few minutes later, the mother came out and asked me to come back in the store. Apparently, its too dangerous for a gringo to sit on a bench out there!

  4. El hueco isn´t too bad if you keep your wits about you, dont go alone and you enjoy really big crowds and busy places. I Don´t go without a local, If i try to buy things by myself i usually get ´tourist taxed´ Double the price of what they would sell it to a local.

  5. I have never had problems in El Hueco, even going alone, but I keep my wits about me. Make sure you go during the day and stick to streets with a lot of people.

    I disagree with “nobody can haggle a price down better than a paisa”. My paisa girlfriend is very surprised at the prices I have been able to negotiate in El Hueco. Of course I have a lot of experience from Asia where I lived when I was young, where haggling is expected.

    It’s a game. If a vendor won’t budge on a price, simply say “gracias” and walk away. You would be surprised at how many times the shopkeepers have chased me down with a much better offer.

    I usually start with an insanely low price so that I have more bargaining power later. And of course speaking sufficient Spanish is very important as almost nobody speaks English.

    Roughly knowing an item’s worth will give you a huge advantage when negotiating prices. Shop around — neighboring shops in El Hueco often carry the same item — before you make a purchase. As a general rule of thumb, try not to buy from the first place you find something or you will likely be paying a higher price.