While visiting Cusco you’ll see plenty of shops all around the city and vendors scattered all around the streets; many offering handcrafts, jewelry, art and different kinds of food as well. If you’re looking for shopping and you’re on a budget, you’ve come to the perfect place. Haggling in Peru is not only accepted, it’s expected and it earns their respect. While most items may already appear inexpensive they are marked up because of the expectations of price reductions and let’s face it, tourists mean money for the locals here in Peru. It is possible to save more money here while simultaneously practicing your Spanish language skills.
The San Pedro market located just two blocks north of the Plaza de Armas is one of the earliest markets in Cusco. Formerly known as Central Market, San Pedro is full of culture and good treats to eat. With tons of fresh produce, bread, meat, eggs, cheese and other grocery items many locals and tourists alike frequent this particular market. There are several small juice, donut and lunch cafés through out the market as well. San Pedro also offers many hand craft vendors to check out as well.
If you’re in search of more local hand crafts Pisac Market is the best place to go. The best days for visiting this tourist attraction would be Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday because they are the most active days but the market runs all week long. Only a short 30 minute bus ride to the Sacred Valley which houses the market will only cost you 3.50 soles where as a taxi will cost you a little more running about 10 soles a person. On the road to Pisac you will discover beautiful mountain scenery surrounding Cusco and Pisaq itself also offers beautiful ruins which are an absolute must to hike and explore.
The hand craftst market itself is located at the heart of the town underneath a massive and breath-taking Pisonay tree. This haggling central has all the local hand works one could imagine and also includes a variety of produce for sale from local farmers. The restaurants surrounding this mercado can be a bit pricey but with some patience and a good eye even the more frugal shopper can find a great meal with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. A visit to the Pisac Market is included in the one day Sacred Valley Tour, the guides mostly give you between 30 – 45 minutes for your souvenir shopping here.
San Blas is the art district of the downtown area here in Cusco. Just a few blocks from the famous Plaza de Armas of Cusco, the San Blas district is very convenient for ttravelers in Peru. You can also find beautiful textile works, jewelry, and other hand made goods on Calle Plateros and Calle Triunfo. Haggling is acceptable but with such a great location attracting tourists from all over the world and a steady stream of money, some may not want to but it never hurts to try!
El Molino is Cusco’s largest black market; located only a cheap 5-7 soles taxi ride from the Plaza de Armas, it’s not recommended to walk as it is far from most tourist areas. This market is open for business everyday, but there aren’t usually many tourist to be found here. While this market doesn’t carry local goods it’s the cheapest place in Cusco to buy mostly anything else. Clothes, shoes, movies, phones, toys and even bicycles and camping equipment can all be found at Molino. You can try haggling but they may not go down much farther than the price is already set at here.
And finally, the Baratillo is a market held only on Saturday’s from around 7am until 6pm. This specific market known also as Sabado Baratillo or “cheap Saturday” is mostly intended for locals and you will probably be one of the only tourists there. Baratillo is just two blocks south of San Pedro market down Calle Nueva at Avenida del Ejercito. Blue tarps mark this Peruvian flea market, where one can find literally anything. There are few hand crafts but for the true treasure hunter, Baratillo is the market for you.
Theft is common here and also in el Molino. You should keep a close eye on your belongings and some people work in teams to pick pocket; with that being said one should keep an eye out at all times because people like that can be anywhere.
Hope you enjoyed this article about shopping in Cusco! let’s start the souvenir-hunt in Peru!