Peru is one of South America’s most culturally unique and rich countries. With a history stretching back thousands of years, it is known for its ties to its historic Inca Empire, beautiful mountainous landscapes and incredible biodiversity. The country has huge cultural diversity, comprised of native populations, European settlers and large Asian and African minorities. The country is home to a wealth of bustling markets and shops specialising in local crafts and goods, which reflect its multifaceted identity.
Major Shopping Areas
Peru’s ancient capital city, Cusco is one of the most culturally and historically rich cities on the continent. The capital of the Inca Empire prior to its collapse at the hands of the Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th Century, the city has become one of the country’s most significant tourism destination. There are a wealth of historical buildings and sites in and around Cusco with the city being well-known for its proximity to the awe-inspiring site Machu Picchu. The city, high up in the Andes Mountain Range is one of the most vibrant and festive conclaves in the country, bustling with life. There are a wealth of markets, local crafts stores and bars, which make it an essential Peruvian cultural experience
Major Shopping Markets
Arguably the city’s most famous market, Pisac Market happens every Sunday and attracts several visitors, both local and tourists. It is known for being a major hub of activity for the region’s indigenous Quechua population, who arrive en masse buying and selling local produce and goods. There is an off-shoot tourist-tailored market open daily, specialising in local crafts, but it is the Sunday market which is the real draw. There are considerably fewer tourists on this day and more authentic vendors.
A farm and textiles initiative, Awana Kancha is a hillside farm which breeds lamas, alpacas and vicunas. It also sells a number of different products, particularly clothing, from their wool. Employing members of the local indigenous community, it is a great initiative as well as a perfect day trip activity for visitors to Cusco. The surrounding scenery is idyllic, the animals friendly and striking, and the products authentic and of a very high quality.
One of Peru’s most esteemed fashion designers, Giuliana Testino is known for only using local materials in her designs. For winter outfits, she uses alpaca wool while for the summer looks, she employs Peruvian pima cotton. Based in Lima, she is a truly unique designer and her clothes are well-worth seeking out to gain a sense of authentic Peruvian couture.
Another major Peruvian fashion designer, Meche Correa’s designs focus on Peru’s historical past, drawing influences from Andean traditions. Her clothes and accessories are visually colourful and striking, providing a bridge between contemporary fashion and Peru’s rich cultural history.
One of Cusco’s most unique and quintessentially Peruvian museums is the Coca Museum, which specialises in the country’s ubiquitous herb-the coca leaf. The coca leaf has been cultivated by Andean tribes in Peru for millennia, and it serves religious and health purposes. The museum is highly informative about the importance of this herb to Peruvian culture and has an adjacent gift shop selling a number of coca-associated goods.