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Cusco´s San Pedro Market

Cusco’s San Pedro Market is famous for its fresh produce, unique handicrafts, and unexpected dishes. Though just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, walking into Cusco´s San Pedro Market feels like stepping into a whole other world.   Here, you´ll find seemingly endless rows of fresh fruit, produce, and herbs, all locally grown.  In addition, there is fresh baked bread, giant wheels of local cheese, and every type of meat you can imagine.  (Seriously…every.  Don´t be surprised to see a cow´s head on display, a donkey´s snout, a guinea pig, or a jar of pickled snakes!)

The constant bustle of vendors competing for attention, busy shoppers , and men carrying giant sacks of vegetables may feel overwhelming.  However,  take a deep breath and enjoy the organized chaos that is the San Pedro market!

Traditional Market Cusco Peru 1

A Few Suggestions

First, make sure you have plenty of energy by fueling up with a freshly made juice.  As you walk,  you´ll see (and hear) a row of ¨juice ladies¨, lovingly called caseras.  As always, they´ll be seated behind blenders and surrounded by fresh fruit and vegetables.  Choose a stall, take a seat, and select any combination of fruits and vegetables you´d like.

Once hydrated, it´s time to browse the plentiful stalls.  If things aren´t too busy, stop and have a chat with one of the friendly vendors.  Along the way, sample the exotic fruits, like the sweet and juicy granadilla and capulí, a cherry-like fruit.

Here are a few more suggestions for Cusco´s San Pedro Market:

  • Try to count how many different types of potatoes you see.  (Hint: there are over 4,000 types of potatoes grown in Peru, so don´t be surprised if you lose count!). 
  • If you´re feeling light headed from Cusco´s altitude, buy a sack of coca leaves for just 1 sol.  Add some hot water to the leaves to brew a tasty, altitude sickness-fighting tea.
  • Grab a handful of manzanilla flowers to brew your own calming chamomile tea.  This is the perfect treat at the end of a long day!
San Pedro Market Cusco Peru

Dining with Locals in Cusco´s San Pedro Market

Once you´ve experienced all the sights of Cusco´s San Pedro Market, it´s time for lunch!  The market is full of little dining booths serving Peruvian specialties.   Pull up a bench alongside locals for a delicious (and wallet friendly!) lunch.  This includes options ranging from the popular caldo de gallina (hen soup), to fried fish and breaded chicken.  Enjoy a tasty and authentic lunch for a nice change of pace from bustling tourist restaurants.

In contrast, another lunch option is a picnic lunch in the fresh Cusco air.  Head to the bread aisle, where you can buy 5 rolls for just 1 sol (about 30 cents), a few slices of Peruvian cheese, and a giant, delicious palta (avocado) ¨por hoy día¨, meaning it´ll be perfectly ripe today.  Pack all the ingredients in your backpack and hike up to the Temple of the Moon ruins just above the city.  Once there, enjoy a tasty and easy picnic lunch with a killer view.

Every time you visit Cusco´s San Pedro market, you´re sure to discover something new. Don´t be afraid to dive in, try new things, and shop like a local!