Shopping Outside the Box: Looking for the Local and the Alternative


As in most tourist towns, in Old San Juan you will not have to go very far to find that proverbial gift or souvenir, the one that says “I love PR”, but was in fact made in a land far, far away. But, if you're looking for something more, something unique and beautiful that expresses that idea in a more thoughtful way, then these venues are right for you.

Focusing mainly on arts, crafts, jewelry and clothing, these stores are exciting and original, and they all give a new meaning to the concept of local.



251 san jose street, osj

Run by a young and enthusiastic couple, Heidy and Nitaino, this gracefully arranged store has a very distinctive personality. You may even start to feel as if everything on display has a secret story to tell.

You will be glad to know that most of their inventory is hand-made locally by independent designers and crafters, each with a very particular set of ideas and skills, which they apply to their own choices of materials, colors, patterns, and designs.

This diversity in style and creativity ensures that every piece you get is unique and an original in its own way. Their repertoire of pieces ranges from carefully crafted eco-sustainable jewelry and accessories, to the more intriguing, whimsical and smile-provoking little objects that scream their cuteness all over.

One thing is guaranteed: every visit to Origen is a possibility of being surprised by a new happy discovery.




207 san francisco street, osj

The first thing that meets the eye when you step in is a strikingly beautiful avalanche of colours. A very hip and dynamic concept store that advocates for fair trade and local consumption, Concalma specializes in seasonal lines of beautiful, functional and sustainable handbags that are locally designed and manufactured at Cooperativa Industrial Creación de la Montaña, a women’s cooperative in the mountainous regions of Utuado, in the center of the Island.

With around 12,000 handbags sold since 2006, the Concalma brand offers an extensive selection of styles, shapes and sizes with an amazing palette of colors and a very open price range. Still, all of their handbags have a distinctive design signature that comprises both industrial and artisanal features.

In recent years, Concalma’s collection has been designed with the collaboration of local artists and artisans. Some of their pieces are special editions and some are one-of-a-kind.

They also have a lovely selection of handmade jewelry and accessories, as well as very cool designer’s t-shirts and vintage clothing. You can even bring your old handbag and get a credit to use in-store.

If you want a piece of handbag heaven, make sure you visit this wonderful store.



pure soul

258 san Justo street, osj

There is a kind of woman that lives an active, contemporary lifestyle and appreciates quality, versatility and comfort in her attire. As an independent, sophisticated and dynamic mature woman, she likes to travel, to have fun and to look great doing it. Sounds familiar? Well if it does, Pure Soul is the kind of boutique for you.

The line of clothes that the store offers to its select clientele is casual and tropical, yet elegant and professional when it needs be.


Pure Soul clothing is partly designed in Puerto Rico, and each of the items of clothing and accessories in their collection is carefully selected to represent the brand and the lifestyle that it stands for. So, rather than a particular fashion trend, the boutique offers a curated selection of women’s apparel and accessories that reflect a choice of timeless and classic styles.

The use of sober garments with sometimes daring and risqué accessories provide an interesting contrast that shows the advantages of combining the modern with the moderate. An emphasis on the use of natural fibers in the confection of their pieces (namely cotton and linen), instead of synthetic fibers, make for easy, fresh and comfortable pieces to wear, and their cuts are very loose and relaxed on the body. Solid and soft colors take prominence in their palette, and something that distinguishes some of their outfits is the use of beautiful embroideries.

Pure Soul is a wonderful shopping alternative, both, for your personal wardrobe choices, and to find that perfect gift that reflects your soul.