El Hueco is an area of El Centro in Medellín that is full of thousands of small shops of all types with good prices. This is an area of Medellín where you can find the cheapest prices for almost anything.
You can find so many products in this area with typically the cheapest prices in the city. You can find clothing, shoes, baby items, toys, home improvement items, sports equipment, textiles, art supplies, furniture, watches, jewelry and so much more. You can find almost anything but it may take some time to search in the large area.
I asked several police and also two Medellín mayor’s office employees in the area what the bounds of El Hueco were and I got several answers.
After some research I found that El Hueco is generally considered to be bordered on the north by Avenida Colombia, on the south by Avenida San Juan, on the east by Carrera 51 and the west by Avenida del Ferrocarril. So, this is a huge area with over 30 city blocks.
El Hueco is an area with a mix of small shopping malls, standalone shops as well as street vendors. This is a big area with reportedly over 80 small centro comercials (shopping centers) filled with thousands of small shops. And many of these shopping centers are interconnected.
In addition, there are thousands of small standalone shops and seemingly countless street vendors. In total, there reportedly are over 12,000 shops in the area that employee over 45,000 people.
History of El Hueco
The sector of Guayaquil in Medellín has been important for the inhabitants of the city since before 1889. This was due to the Railway Station, the nearby roads, plaza de Cisneros and the market square of Guayaquil, which were combined to make it an important commercial area of the city.
In the late 1990s, merchants from eastern Antioquia began to arrive in the Guayaquil sector. Merchants were from several towns including El Santuario, Granada and Marinilla. And they opened stores in the area for the sale of clothing and other items.
The sector became a place full of different places linked by passages that formed a kind of labyrinth with multiple exits. This caused that the inhabitants of the place began to call it “El Hueco” (The Hollow).
This name began to become famous in the city. And the administrators of the El Hueco Pichincha shopping centers, El Hueco Numero Uno and the Centro Comercial Japón shopping center registered the name “El Hueco” as an international brand in 2001.
What Shops Can You Find in El Hueco?
You can find so many types of shops in El Hueco, as there are literally 1,000s of shops. There are even a few sectors of the area that specialize.
For example, near the Cisneros metro station there are many small home improvement stores with prices that can be lower than found in Homecenter. In these small stores you can find many home improvement products including doors, cabinets, sinks, flooring and many other products.
Also, there are a few streets filled with small shops selling textiles.
Here are photos of several other types of shops you will find in the El Hueco area:
But be careful as there are some counterfeit items being sold in some of the stores. Also, the quality of some items may be lower.
Make Sure to Bargain in El Hueco
Prices are not necessarily fixed in El Hueco. So, don’t forget to bargain when buying in the shops here.
Expressions that can be used to haggle prices including the following:
- Eso está muy caro, déjemelo más barato? (That’s very expensive, could you make it cheaper?)
- He visto esto en otro lugar por menos (I have seen this elsewhere for less.)
- No me alcanza la plata, rebájele un poquito? (I can ‘t afford that, could you take some off?)
Also, try to wear simpler clothes, which can make bargaining easier. In addition, it’s much easier to bargain if you speak Spanish. Furthermore, try to visit with a Colombian friend, as they will likely be able to negotiate better than you can.
Safety in El Hueco
There are always a lot of people in El Hueco. So, it’s generally considered a safe area. But still take precautions.
We recommend dressing comfortably as you will be doing a lot of walking. Most people who go shopping in this area (men and women) wear tennis shoes and jeans. Don’t wear shorts and flip-flops as this will identify you as a foreigner.
We recommend carrying a simple bag so you won’t attract attention in the sector. Also, it is not recommended to carry debit or credit cards, as the stores generally only accept cash.
Also, don’t flash cellphones, cameras, jewelry or money around. Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in busy public places. Distraction is frequently the strategy, so be alert and keep an eye on your belongings.
In addition, be aware of your surroundings when using your cellphone, as cellphones are the most commonly stolen items in the city. Follow our other security tips and your risk of being a victim of crime should be greatly reduced.
How to Get to El Hueco
The easiest way to get to El Hueco is using the Medellín metro. El Hueco is generally located between the San Antonio metro station on Line A and the Cisneros metro station on Line B.
If you walk west from the San Antonio metro station or east from the Cisneros metro station you will be in the El Hueco shopping area.
In addition, you could take a taxi from anywhere in Medellín. All taxi drivers will know where El Hueco is located.
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 7 pm, Sunday: closed
The Bottom Line: El Hueco in Medellin
El Hueco is a great place to find bargains in Medellín. During a recent trip I found tennis shoes for only 50,000 pesos ($16.50 USD). I had seen the exact same shoes in the Mayorca mall for 100,000 pesos. I also bought two pairs of jeans for a total of only 75,000 pesos ($25 USD).
If you go in the morning the crowds will be less than in the afternoon. Also, keep in mind that almost all the stores in the area close at 7 pm. So, the area clears out fast at 7 pm.
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