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Buenos Aires

yerba mate argentinaArgentina is known for its leather goods. Look for wallets, shoes, belts, jackets and coats. Silver and woolen sweaters are also good buys. Unique souvenirs are the hollowed gourds and other handcrafted cups used for drinking mate, a favorite local herbal beverage. Shops specializing in indigenous tribal arts and crafts include Pueblo Indio in San Telmo and Arte Etnico Argentino in Palermo Viejo. And don't overlook Argentine wines, gaining increasing notice among aficionados.

On weekends, don't miss the colorful crafts and souvenir market that takes place in the Recoleta district around the Plaza Intendente Alvear, just below the cemetery, an event livened by many street performers. Afterwards, you can stroll past the many designer boutiques on elegant Av. Alvear, or pay a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts.

Calle Florida is a stroller's paradise -- 12 blocks of nonstop shopping temptations. Be sure to stop into the Galerias Pacifico, an arcade of some 180 shops with a magnificent domed ceiling and frescoes painted by local artists.

Alvear Avenue in Recoleta is the place for those in search of designer boutiques. The VAT tax of 21 percent can be refunded on purchases of $70 or more (per invoice) when you leave the country.

The weekly Sunday antiques market, held in Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo, brings out more than 250 vendors with a wide range of wares along with musicians, singers and dancers.
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