An Unlikely Place For A Souvenir- Easter Island, Chile

I was asked by travel clothing company SCOTTEVEST/ SeV to write an article for their weekly Pocket Guide newsletter. I am happy to announce that this post will be featured there!

            a green gate with signs on it

Over the years I’ve definitely slowed down on buying souvenirs on my trips. It seems like you  see the same trinkets and junk for sale all over the world. However, I still do like to try to bring a little something back (to Kim’s dismay!) with me to remember the countries I’ve visited. Things that I collect are masks, traditional hats, shot glasses (silly and pointless, but why stop now) or anything that seems really interesting and unique.

On our visit to Easter Island we hired a guide for two of our four days. Kim and I rarely hire guides but we figured for EI it would be a good idea to get a better understanding of what we were looking at. While visiting the sites I had mentioned that I would like to get a small statue of a Moai to bring home. (Moai are the carved rock figures found all over the island. You can see them in the title picture for my blog)
Soon after, he mentioned that we should visit the local jail where they might have better prices.

a man standing in front of a sign
“Artisinal Shop” sign with guard standing by

I was extremely surprised that we could go visit the jail to pick up some souvenirs and had to make it a part of our plans!

a sign on a fence

When we arrived there was a sign outside with some rules listing items that you could not bring inside. The items on the list were alcohol, drugs, cell phones, cameras and weapons. Luckily they did not enforce the camera rule (I asked first).

a man sitting at a table with wood carving
An inmate at work
The inmates have it pretty easy in the jail and are given a lot of freedom. They have decent areas to sleep and a kitchen area to prepare food. The souvenir area was impressive. They get to use power tools and other seemingly dangerous items to create their crafts.
The quality seemed top-notch and they even made a sign for the entrance to the jail.
a sign on a fence
two men standing in front of a store
They actually did not sell what I was looking for but I had to buy a little something to remember my visit to jail. I decided to buy a carved fishing hook necklace (worn in the picture above). I do not recall what I paid but after a quick negotiation I bought it for around half of the initial asking price.
a wooden object with a string
The Necklace
I haven’t worn my necklace since the day I bought it, but when I see it with some of my other travel related souvenirs, I always remember my odd visit to jail on Easter Island!

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