Chordeleg Ecuador, Exclusive Silver Shopping at its Best


Our half day trip to Chordeleg to do some silver jewelry shopping with our 2 out of town female friends was well worth it. Everyone left with some great buys. If you haven't heard of Chordeleg, it's a city that's a little over an hour outside of Cuenca ($2 bus ride) with a population of about 11,000. Chordeleg means “gold waterfall.” It is the original Silversmith city of Ecuador. In Ecuador, you'll still find the adherence of the Spanish Guild system that started centuries ago. Guilds were groups of artisans or merchants that practice their trade in a particular town. Other Guild cities in Ecuador include San Bartolomé for guitars, Gualaceo for textiles/weaving, Otavalo for leather and San Antonio de Ibarra for its wood carving.


chordeleg 3

Small and Quaint

As soon as you enter the city, you can't help but notice the large filigree earrings hanging from the town light poles. There's not a lot to do in Chordeleg other than shop for silver. There are also a couple of pottery shops and a small museum. Chordeleg has a beautiful square in the center surrounded by a church and silver shops.
chordeleg 5

Easy to Make Friends

There are plenty of benches. I have to admit that after a few stores, I got tired of looking at jewelry and made myself comfortable on a bench while my wife and friends shopped. But I wasn't bored. I ended up making friends with a dog who hung out with me for an hour. For food, there are a couple restaurants in Chordeleg of which only one was open when we were there. They serve typical Ecuadorian lunches along with coffee and beer. One thing we noticed was that the city was clean. Particularly, no graffiti. One of the shop owners told us that the town is small, and everyone knows everyone. So if they saw a kid spraying graffiti on a wall, they would go out and discipline them. That's just the way it is in a small town.
chordeleg 2


You might wonder how there can be so many silver jewelry shops in one place and after visiting a few, will you see anything different if you keep going? Going from shop to shop, I was surprised to find uniquely different looking jewelry (until I got tired and searched for a bench). Another thing to keep in mind is that jewelers from all over Ecuador come to Chordeleg to buy wholesale. If you're lucky, at some shops you might witness the filigree artisan work in progress. Filigree is the specialty of Chordeleg and is the decorative art of fine silver wire formed into delicate jewelry. You might question if the jewelry is massed produced somewhere but then you see the artisans in the shops working away at making some of the finest silver jewelry around.


Don't Forget to Barter

You are expected to barter in Chordeleg. In fact, many shops have signs that say “make offer.” So barter on everything, especially if you buy multiple items and pay with cash. If you're in the market for silver jewelry, it's worth the trip to Cordeleg.


Here's a short video that shows the art of Filigree



If you feel like going a little further, check out Ingapirca in Ecuador

About Tina

As far back as I can remember I was adventurous and wanted to see the world. The first time I traveled outside the country was with Keith just after high school graduation. After that, I was hooked. Throughout my career I was just like many of you, I wanted to work less and travel more. Keith and I made early retirement a reality. Now, I am here to help you retire early and find the inspiration to venture out and see the world.

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16 thoughts on “Chordeleg Ecuador, Exclusive Silver Shopping at its Best”

  1. Keith:
    my husband and I are wandering expats who have enjoyed our visits to Chordeleg and have several jewelry
    pieces I like.

    However I can not find my notes on the jeweler I like. I can visualize the store position right off the city center square. Wondered if you have websites for quality jeweler with a website who can that I can trust to sell and ship me the silver bracelet ( not filigree) I desire. I know Cuenca has two chordeleg shops but no websites I can find. Can you help me?

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