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Shopping in Cusco
Cusco is the best place in Peru to buy your local souvenirs. The colourful hand woven textiles, alpaca products and jewellery are what places Cusco on the number one spot of the Peruvian shopping scene. Float around the narrow streets and let all the shining colours guide you through this beautiful city while trying to get all your gifts for the people back home. Ponchos, gloves, hats, shawls, sweaters and vests all made from the alpaca wool are known for its outstanding quality and impressive designs. Be sure you go to one of the official shops, which sells original alpaca products. Most of the products that you can buy on the streets and in the small shops are usually not 100 % alpaca.
In Cusco, you can take your pick of an amazing array of skilfully crafted Andean handicrafts that are available everywhere - in the little shops as well as in the large markets lined with numerous stalls. In general people expect you to bargain about the price. Often when they see you're new in town they will raise the prices. To avoid paying more than the necessary always try to bargain!
There are plenty of fantastic shopping options in Cusco, and our Cusco Shopping Guide below tells you where to find the best bargains and what to shop for. For more general information about shopping in Peru see our Peru Shopping Guide. While shopping, relax and revive your energy at one of the many Cusco restaurants available around the shopping districts.
Cusco is Peru's foremost shopping destination and is renowned for its handicrafts, its hand-woven fabrics being especially famous. You can pick up some of the best textiles in South America from the Cusqueño artisans who continue to use the ancient methods of weaving to produce absolute masterpieces.
The places to shop in Cusco are the barrio of San Blas, streets such as Plateros and Triunfo near the Plaza de Armas, and Plaza Regocijo. The shops here are easily accessible and since a large number of shops sell similar kind of merchandise, it is advisable to compare prices across merchants and get the best bargain.
For a real "Peruvian" shopping experience you'll have to visit San Pedro Market (or Mercado Central), which is situated at a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas near the San Pedro rail station. This market is always crowded with local people who buy their fruits, food, vegetables and other household products in here. It's also possible to have your (cheap) lunch or fresh fruit juice here among all the locals. Unfortunately, pickpockets frequently visit this market, so watch your wallet and don't take any valuable belongings with you.
Centro Artesanal Cusco is another famous market known by many tourists. This market is located at the end of Avenida el Sol in front of the Eco Inn hotel. Inside you'll find lots of stands offering all kinds of artefacts, handicrafts, clothes and pottery.
Local people often go to a black market called "El Molino" which is located on the way to the airport. Any taxi can take you there for about 3 / 4 Soles. In this big, old style shopping centre you'll find TV's, camera's, CD's / DVD's but also t-shirts and jeans for incredible low prices. Most of the products are imitation and illegal (and that's why they're so cheap).
Alpaca and Andean Fashion
Cusco's most popular items are those made from alpaca wool. Visitors must however be wary of sellers claiming that their goods are 100% alpaca as it is not uncommon to find items such as sweaters and scarves sold in tourist stalls and on the street to be of inferior quality. They may be made of a mix of alpaca and man-made fibres such as fibreglass. It is possible that claims of "baby alpaca" are not true either. For top quality, and more elegant items, you can visit stores that deal exclusively with high fashion alpaca goods. While they may be expensive, they are still reasonably priced in comparison to the international prices of alpaca. Another commonly used fibre is bamba alpaca, which means imitation, and could in actuality be sheep's wool. Andean designs picked from old weavings and blankets are often used on jackets.
The top antique dealers of Cusco operate in the San Blas district. To have a look at highly priced antique Andean textiles, go to the shops in Plaza de Armas.
Art and Handicrafts
Cusco has a number of establishments that sell beautiful arts and handicrafts. The legendary Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco is an organisation committed to "fair trade" practices.
If you are looking for a regular range of artesanía, visit the Plaza San Blas on Saturday afternoons. You will find a large range of high quality antique blankets, ceramics, alpaca-wool clothing, handicrafts from the Amazon jungle, jewellery, and rugs. San Blas is lined with art galleries, ceramics shops and artisan workshops. There are a number of small shops that deal with reproductions too. You can source some of the best ceramic items here. Many artists working in the San Blas area operate their studios as commercial outlets. For opportunities to watch them at work, look for their workshops advertised through flyers in cafés and restaurants in San Blas.
For more inexpensive options, visit the largest indoor market of handicraft stalls at Centro Artesanal Cusco. It is located at the end of Av. El Sol, opposite Hotel Eco Inn and the huge, painted waterfall fountain.
Foodstuffs and Mercado Central
Cusco's legendary and lively Mercado Central (Central Market) located near the San Pedro rail station attracts visitors to its splendid range of products - mostly household items, produce and food.
If you love chocolates, then you must visit a small shop in San Blas that offers a great range of homemade chocolates.
While a number of shops sell hand-carved woodwork and frames, for the best handmade baroque frames to complement your Cusco school reproductions or religious shrine, you must visit the shops in Plaza de Armas.
Another must have item before leaving Cusco is a hand-made gold or silver product like a necklace, a bracelet, or a pair of earrings. Most of them will have an ancient Inca design like founded in their old civilizations. There are many places around the Plaza de Armas and also these products you should buy in known international establishments.
Main Square, Plaza las Nazarenas and In front of the Temple of the Sun (Koricancha).
Plaza de Armas, Plaza Regocijo, inside Hotel Monasterio and Hotel Libertador and at the airport you'll find the Kuna shops.
Werner & Ana
Plaza San Francisco 295-A, Cusco, Peru
Aldo & Co
Plaza de Armas, Airport (2), Hotel Libertador and inside the Restaurant Tunupa on the Plaza de Armas.
Plaza de Armas (2); Airport; inside Hotel Monasterio; inside Hotel Libertador; and at Limaqpampa; close to the hotel Casa Andina Private Collection.
Sombreros - Hats Carrasco
Av. El Sol 948 Shop # 115. Inside shopping centre Cusco Sol Plaza.
SBS Special Book Services
Av. El Sol 864
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