AYNIART is a fair trade shop that sells goods hand made by groups of campesina women in communities surrounding Cusco. Products include clothing (sweaters, dresses, baby clothes, etc.), accessories (scarves, gloves, headbands, bags), and home goods (textiles, stuffed animals, wall hangings, etc.). All products are of high quality in both production and materials. The goal of the organization is to create goods that reflect the local culture and tradition but that remain modern and relevant in style. Seventy percent of the profits go directly to the women to help support their families. A portion of the rest of the profits helps provide things like basic business classes to the producers. AYNIART is a great place to buy souvenirs that are unique from what is found in the tourist markets and to support local culture at the same time! What's more, you can sit in the courtyard and enjoy a tea or an organic coffee after shopping!
What to buy: Products made of alpaca, baby alpaca, and organic cotton.
What to pay: Prices are slightly higher than in the tourist markets because of the fair trade aspect of the shop, but the quality is much higher.
Among all the market stalls where you barter for the slew of generic items which you know are mass produced, we found this store. We wanted to purchase items and gifts that we knew were fair trade. Although more pricey, we spent most of our shopping budget here!
What to buy: Organic items, fair trade crafts, etc.
Te puedes dar un paseo por el mercado de Cuzco y te recomiendo que tomes un jugo de naranja Y piña que levanta el ánimo
You may walk in the Cuzco market and I recommend you to take an orange and pineapple juice that is really good
Hilario Mendivil fue un gran artista que revolucionó las artesanías de Cuzco , estilizando sus figuras , alargando los cuellos , haciendo Vígenes de la Leche y dándole un colorido muy especial a toda su obra
Hoy en día su saga familiar se dedica también a las artes
Como detalle simpático nos dijeron que sus amigos le llamaban "el Chicharrón" porque tomaba chicha de día y rón de noche
Hilario Mendivil was a great artist that made a revolution in the Cuzco handicrafts , slendering the figures, elongating their necks , doing Milk Virgins and giving a very special colour to all his works
Now a days their family saga is also dedicated to the arts
As a curious detail his friends called him the "Chicharrón" as he had "chicha" in the morning and ron in the night
There are many local crafts and local junk stores all around the main plaza in Cuzco. Most of the stores sell the same things so after you see one or two of the shops you've seen them all but it is still somehow hard not to go in most of them.
What to buy: local goods
If you get the chance to see a "local" market where most of the tourists don't go then you are in for a treat. The energy and viberance is wonderful. Most will tell the typical tourist to stay away from this type of market for saftey reasons but I felt completely fine. Just be confident and look people in the eye and you should have no problems.
Many shops arund the Plaza de arms.
What to buy: You will find that many shops in the Plaza Area sell the water color paintings. Some of them are very vibrant and fantastic.
On bargaining you can get them for incredible low prices such as 10 US$ or less for a small painting,
What to pay: Usually 10US$ or less and 15US$ for a larger painting. If its in the street you can pay even less and get it.
Usually we don't buy from street hustlers, but I broke down in Cusco and made a purchase -- a small little finger puppet of a llama. The sales pitch was just too good.
On the whole, I really liked the people of Peru, but there is an annoying segment of the population that makes their living by botheringing tourists into buying useless trinkets they don't want for small sums. Many of them are children, and they never leave you alone. Don't eat al fresco under the arcade unless you want your meal to be a succession of "Please Mister, buy this." You can't relax on a park bench without a swarm of urchins finding you and displaying their postcards or cigarettes. And you can't walk down a street without a parade of taxi cabs pulling up beside you and beeping. It can get quite annoying.
So, of course, we got good at brushing these kids off. One postcard boy of 10 we brushed back by promising to return later as we left the cathedral. But a chink in our armor finally appeared when a cute 10 year-old girl with finger puppets approached me. I said "no" several times when she gave her best shot by saying, all in English, "You are from America. Your capital is Washington. Your president is George Bush. Before that was Bill Clinton. Before him was George Bush, who followed Ronald Reagan....."all the way back to Harry Truman before I stopped her.
"I'm Canadian" I retorted, hoping to stump her and get her off my back.
"Your capital is Ottawa. Your Prime Minister is John Howard."
"Äh ha!" I said, "John Howard is Australia's Prime Minister!"
" Oh, I'm sorry. Paul Martin, who is preceded by Jean Chretian, who..."
"Okay, how much for the llama?" and I bought a finger puppet from her. She earned it.
The gift shop in the Savoy Hotel had many nice things of good quality. Maybe because it was not high season, the prices were not bad at all. They certainly compared favorably to the shops where the tour bus stopped. Daisy was very helpful in making selections without being pushy about selling something (a rare occurrence in Cusco).
What to buy: Jewelry and wool weavings
What to pay: I bought a beautiful necklace for $65 and a nice wool handbag for $5. Hey, gifts...not for me!
There are markets and vendors everywhere in Cusco and the Sacred Valley selling all kinds of local handmade crafts. Pisac and Chinchero have large Sunday markets and smaller markets during the week.
What to buy: There are many wonderful things to buy here such as sweaters,rugs,pottery,handcarved items,jewerly,fingerpuppets,blankets etc.The workmanship is beautiful.
What to pay: Haggling is to be expected and places with written prices are hard to find. You really do not have to haggle that much as the original price the vendor will give to you is usually very reasonable to begin with. For instance, I bought a beautiful winter coat for less than $20 US( and this was without haggling)
What to buy:
Local handicraft is excellent; you can find typical musical instruments, jewellery, wool clothes, pottery, wood carving...
La artesanía local es excelente; puedes encontrar instrumentos musicales típicos, bisutería, ropa de lana, alfarería, tallas en madera...
Make sure to stop by the Cusco market (between Tupac Amaru and Ccascaparo). When we were there we were the only non-Peruvians there and it was a treat! They sell everything there -- shoes, groceries, underwear, clothes, etc. We were there on a Saturday and so we got to observe the locals shop for their families and week's supply.
What to pay: You can negotiate for anything. Don't take their first price.
The Mercado Central was reported to be full of pickpockets and no place to walk about with your camera, but I found it fascinating and less touristy than the shopping areas around the Plaza de Armas.
What to buy: You can find just about anything in the market including great supplies for the Inca Trail.
This chocolate is very pure, and you can make wonderful cacao milk using it. Follow only the orders!
This shop on the Plaza sells native textiles - gaurenteed as authentic by the government. But that aside, who can resist wearing a warm, silly hat?
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