Which Cajon Brands are Available in Guayaquil?
Similar to Lima Peru there are many music stores in central Guayaquil clustered in a small area. But there the similarity ends. Ecuador has import taxes and the price of many imported instruments seemed to be considerably higher than what I would pay in the USA and or in Peru.
Another big difference was the selection of cajons, there are not many locally made cajons available. Guayaquil is the home of Nativo Percusion yet I couldn’t find a single cajon made in Ecuador in the central stores. I queried Nativo on Facebook and they sent me the location of a small music store outside the central area with Nativo products. The store had 4 Nativo cajons, all the basic ‘Inicia’ model for $120 each. It is a good sounding, well made plywood cajon with adjustable guitar string snare wires. Later I found a couple other music stores outside the central area with Nativo Inicia cajons. Apparently nowhere in the heart of Nativo production area can you test play and purchase a high end Nativo cajon in a store. The high end models are listed on mercadolibre.com.ec with prices that look about the same as what you’d pay in Europe.
It is an interesting selection of imported cajons in the central stores. Several brands imported from Asia, a few PR cajons from Peru and one SR Cajon from Brazil. There were 4 Tycoon acrylic cajons (made in Thailand) for sale. I played one a couple times, they are loud, with a lot of rattle from the adjustable guitar string snare system. The colored one is flashy and I can see where they would have a lot of stage presence in small venues. The import tax in Ecuador pushes them to about $550 each. The other imported brands, Stagg, Primer, Mirage and others, were priced in the $150 to $200 range. There were a few ‘made for kids’ cajons available that looked like Peruvian CPeru type cajons with equivalent prices.
After a couple visits to one store I spotted two PR cajons from Peru, one high on a storage shelf, the other behind a chain-link fence. The price on one was $180, which is about $80 more than you’d pay in Lima, the other $120. Both considerably less than what you’d pay in Europe or the USA for an equivalent cajon.
The MAG Guayaquil Craft Market at the corner of Montalvo and Moreno has two stalls selling cajons including two ATempo cajons from Peru. One was $250 the other $200.
There is also a music store in the enormous ‘Guayaquil Bus Terminal’. La Victoria had a Mirage cajon ($150) and a LP Aspire Wire ($230) for sale.
Which is the best cajon to buy in Guayaquil, Ecuador?
At the low price end the basic Nativo Inicia is certainly a much better deal than the basic imported cajons available in many stores. The PR Percussion cajons are perhaps the best mid-range cajons available in Guayaquil stores. One was solid hardwood. But they may not be there long and who knows if the stock will be replenished. The ATempos are great cajons at the high end. With a bit of time and effort you could get a mid-range or high-end Nativo from their Facebook page or from website www.mecadolibre.com.ec or perhaps directly from the factory 17 km outside of Guayaquil.
The best cajon is one you sit on, play and like better than all the others you’ve played. Hopefully this blog will help you in your decision making. Check out this blog for more information on selecting the best cajon for you.
To visit the cluster of music stores in central Guayaquil just walk to the intersection of Rumichaca and V.M. Rendon streets about a block away from Parque Centenario. There’s over 10 stores in about a 2 block radius.
To visit the store recommended by Nativo (Instrumentos Musicales JC), Uber to Albocentro 1, Guayaquil and walk east down Jose Maria Roura Oxandaberro street about one block. It is right next to the Area 51 Barber shop and tatoo studio.
I did not visit every music store in Guayaquil so there could be some gems out there. And cajons in stock will certainly change with time. If you know of any stores in the Guayaquil area with other cajons please add them to the comments section of this blog.
All prices are 2018 in USD, the currency of Ecuador.