San Pedro Market Cusco, Peru
The San Pedro market in Cusco is the most famous commercial center in Cusco. Its origins date back to colonial times, where different merchants met offering their products on the street. Over the years, the architecture of the site changed, giving way to a spacious and clean establishment. Cusco citizens congregate there seeking to do the daily ‘market’. But foreign tourists looking to buy food, souvenirs, clothing or simply take a photo in this popular place also gather.
Most travellers arrive to visit Machu Picchu, but there is a very different place that is very close to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco which is the traditional San Pedro Market (Local market); a place where you can experience the day to day customs of the Cusquenians.
Delicious Food in San Pedro Market
A lot of pig heads for chicharrones (deep-fried pork), sheep heads for caldo de cabeza (sheep head soup), frog juice to boost the intelligence, huanarpo root (natural viagra) & black beer juice to enhance sexual performance are just some of the kinds of stuff to see at this place. A visit to San Pedro Market is well worth doing to try some of this local stuff or just if only to experience an authentic slice of everyday life in this city.
How to get to San Pedro Market Cusco?
San Pedro Market is located just about 10 minutes to the southeast of the main square of Cusco, anyone can reach it easily. See the map to be guided.
There are some tours that include this typical market; but if you prefer to go on your own, you can get to the San Pedro Market from the Main Square of Cusco; Once at the Plaza, just head out towards the convent of La Merced, then continue straight on that same street, cross the San Francisco square and in a very short time you will be at the main door of the San Pedro Market.
Monday to Saturday from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Sundays until noon.
San Pedro Central Market, Cascaparo, Cusco
How to get there:
On foot: along Santa Clara Street, 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas.
Souvenirs – Handicraft
If you are thinking on something that is kind of simple and cheap, San Pedro Market Cusco has them all, you can even bargain with vendors for the best price, here you can find, textiles made of alpaca wool, llama wool, sheep wool, or mixed with some synthetic materials (just need to know how to differentiate). Ceramics like little cups, mugs, bowls, etc. Leather materials like belts, wallets, hats, etc. And many other souvenirs in different materials and hand-made items, this the best place to get some souveniers at cheap prices.
San Pedro Market in Cusco is a great place to find local fruits that only exits within the country, fruits that were domesticated by the Incas, there is a section inside the market, where you will try some rare fruits like chirimoya, lucuma, awaymantu, granadilla, capuli, apple, banaras etc, just ask the vendors for a couple of the described fruits (peel or take the skin off the fruit).
Some Bizarre Stuff
At some booths inside the market, you can see rare stuff like llama or alpaca dried fetus, alpaca fat, llama fat, old coins, incense, etc, which are used by locals to offer to the Pachamama (mother earth) like offerings.
There is a booth, that specializes in making frog soup, or a mixture of soup whose ingredients are frogs, bull’s genital part, crabs, cow’s gut, local herbs, etc. All the meaning behind this soup is to boost the brain and sexual life.
The Soups and Meals Section At The San Pedro Market in Cusco
Some of the soups (or broths) are made with chicken and vegetables, but others are made of the head, guts, feet of sheep. Although delicious, some people may find it very strange to see a boiled sheep’s eye, tongue, jaw with teeth accompanied by potatoes, and rice; but perhaps there are some other dishes that may hurt their susceptibility. So be prepared to see everything of this.
You can also find the traditional food booths that have lots of options to choose from, you will taste the seasoning and peculiarity of the Cusquenian gastronomy in a comfortable and colloquial way among the locals.
Some tips for your visit
In the San Pedro market you can find some hard-to-find products, such as ‘maras salt’, ‘Cusco cacao chocolates’, ‘coca leaf’, ‘jungle cigarettes’ and much more. Do not miss the opportunity to know some news of this famous market.
Most market stalls do not have a payment system with credit or debit cards. That is why the best alternative to make purchases there is to carry cash. You can make your payments in US dollars, although it is best to change money to the official currency of Peru, the ‘Peruvian Nuevo Sol’.
The San Pedro market is safe. There is surveillance 24 hours a day. Still, take care of your belongings, especially if you visit the surroundings away from the market (the Cascaparo market, the Paraíso shopping center, and so on). It is recommended to visit the market during its opening hours, which are from 6 in the morning to 7 at night.