Bío Bío, Santiago de Chile has it all: old rope, guns, sofas and chewed biros: Bío Bío, Santiago has it all

Photo Natasha Young

Photo Natasha Young

“I’m going shopping. Do you need anything?”

 “Yeah, can you get me a piece of old rope? Oh, and a French maid’s outfit… and some fake hair…and a chocolate penis.  Better get another broken toilet seat too, just in case, ooh and we’re nearly out of doll parts.”

“What about you Carlos, do you want anything?”

“Can you get me a gun and an ashtray in the shape of a human skull please? I’ll give you the money when you get back. And can you see if you can find me a letter L from Scrabble?”

With shopping needs this diverse, there’s only one place to go in Santiago; Persa Bío Bío. The city’s biggest flea market, it’s a world of tat for you to rummage through and while you’re there you can stuff yourself on grilled meat and fried food, have a ride on a donkey and see a clown too.

 A truly tourist-free zone, locals will have you believe that you’ll get stabbed, robbed or shot the moment you set foot out of the metro. However, if you keep your wits about you and leave your bag, mobile and credit cards at home (unless you want to see them all on sale here next week) it’s really not that bad and far more entertaining than the out of town malls.

Spreading out like a rash from Calle San Isidro to Franklin metro station, the market takes in furniture, antiques, computer parts, collectables, live animals, stolen bikes and everything in between. Think of something really weird and you’ll be sure to find it. Gas masks, dog dresses, old record players, gerbils – they’re all here. Also, unlike the city centre, where everything is locked away in cabinets and you have to ask to see a toothbrush, here you can delve about until your heart’s content.

Open from 9am – 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Metro: Franklin.


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Filed under blog, Santiago de Chile, Shopping, Travel articles

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