Visiting a local market in Cusco should be on your bucket list when you visit Peru because you can get any kind of goodies you are looking for, starting from fruits, and vegetables to textiles, and handcrafted items to souvenirs that you can take back home!
When you go to a market in Cusco, you will see many shops with the same kind of items, be it clothes or jewellery that you are looking for. So, try not to buy anything at the first shop you see….instead you can go around the market and look if there is a shop with lower prices. Make sure to bargain a bit, because the vendors usually say a higher price at first to see if you buy from them.
Cusco Markets has anything you need so make sure to search and ask around vendors for what you are looking for. You can also visit a couple of markets on the same day, the San Pedro Market is the largest so make sure to visit it first. San Blas Market is smaller compared to the San Pedro Market but has a unique local charm. Wanchaq Market, on the other hand, has fewer tourists so you will be able to find anything for much lower prices.
The markets in Cusco can get very busy and crowded, so it is important to keep an eye on your valuables like money, cameras, passports or bags. This is because there are reports of pickpocketing and thefts happening in crowded places of Cusco. You can sometimes forget about your belongings too when you are excited to buy something you love from a shop, even so, please be alert at all times and leave any jewellery or important documents in your hotel room.
This applies if you plan to buy any groceries or meat at the Cusco Markets. There will be larger crowds in the markets and you will see that most of these goodies are just given in plastic bags. Not all shops are like that though, so make sure to ask your hotel or the tour guide where to buy the best hygienic goodies. Even if you go to food stalls, make sure they are clean and up to standards before buying anything.
When you travel to Cusco’s markets, you will see that most locals are carrying their reusable bags to buy goods from the market. You can also buy a cloth bag or something similar and put everything you buy into that. Since Cusco is a historical city it is important to minimize the use of plastics and protect its natural resources and the environment.
In Cusco markets, you won’t have the ability to pay with your debit or credit cards. So, always make sure to carry enough cash with you. As the prices of the goods are not very costly, make sure to only carry small bills so that it will be easier for the vendors to give a change to you.