Best Souvenirs in Peru

Old Nov 5th, 2013, 12:22 AM
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Best Souvenirs in Peru

Hi All,

Headed to Cuzco in a few weeks. Very excited to do the Inca Trail and see MP.

I have quite a long list of friends and family (~dozen or so) that I would like to get souvenirs for, but I am also trying to be conscious of my spending/don't have a very large budget.

Anyone have any recommendations?
Doesn't need to be extravagant, and would definitely love to incorporate Peruvian culture.

Small in size is a plus
Practical use is a plus
Always love the affordable

What only comes to mind are
-magnets
-key chains
-woven head wear/bandanas/handkerchiefs?

Would love to hear any other ideas.

Thanks so much in advance!
darwinLA is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2013, 06:39 AM
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There are lots of handicraft markets in Cusco and in other small towns in the Sacred Valley that are fun to browse. Most of what I brought back was for myself (is that selfish?!), but I had just a backpack and not much room. There are some beautiful handmade tapestries, scarves, headbands, sweaters... the list goes on. You don't need to buy at the first stand you see - there are tons! I think you best bet is to wait until you're there to decide what to bring back, as you can see what types of items there are to choose from and see how much room you have to fit the items.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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Hi DarwinLA,

For souvenirs in Cusco, try the San Pedro market or the handicraft market at the end of Avenida del Sol for a wide selection of alpaca products (yarn, sweaters, pants, scarfs); jewelry; bags and purses.

The artisanal market every Saturday in the San Blas Plaza also has a nice selection of souvenirs and original artwork.

Also check out the Pisac Market in the Sacred Valley. Every Sunday local vendors sell artwork, local crafts, alpaca products, jewelry, and fresh produce.

Good luck with your shopping.

Happy Travels!
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 08:37 AM
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The big covered market adjacent to the Aguas Calientes train station is good place for inexpensive souvenirs. You are expected to haggle.

Since holidays are approaching I like things that can be used as ornaments, look for llama knit fingerpuppets with hanging loops (you can also glue these to magnets), little pottery bulls, carved gourds shaped like cuy. Weavings range in quality from "probably made in China" to hand crafted locally produced. It is hard to find the latter at the markets anymore, the demand outstrips the supply. Still the cheap acrylic/alpaca blend scarves make nice gifts, just don't overpay and be sure that they aren't scratchy. Little coin or makeup purses from recycled textiles are another inexpensive option.
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for the replies everyone!

I've jotted all these ideas/locations down. I'm not very good at haggling, but I am patient with looking at prices/product.

@ktzweber
haha you're not selfish. I only have a backpack too but I'm saving some weight and space by renting a sleeping bag while I'm there and my trip isn't that long and only limited to Peru. Will definitely try to find some hand made stuff

@latinamericaforless
can't wait to see those spots

@mlgb
using my own glue back at home is a really good idea and ornaments is a really original touch too.


Thanks everyone!

any other ideas/recs are much appreciated
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Old Nov 5th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Two easy ways to haggle are 1) offer a price 20 to 25% less, or offer to buy 4 of something for the price of 3.

Just ask for a discount.

Try walking away and see what they offer. Many of the items are sold by dozens of vendors and you will soon get an idea of what the going rate is by doing the "walk away".
mlgb is offline  
Old Nov 6th, 2013, 02:46 PM
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I bought alpaca gloves and scarves for almost everyone - soft, warm, and colorful, and useful where I live. They also pack easily and are obviously lightweight. Small gourd ornaments make nice gifts, too. So many gorgeous things to choose from.

Besides the various market areas mentioned, try some of the artisans' shops in the San Blas area. Some very unique things.

I went back several times to one of the textile sellers, and not only got very fair prices but had fun chatting with the owners and their children.

I like to bargain, but I also try and keep the big picture in mind - I want to get a price I can afford, but I don't want to spend forever to save a dime. I like to greet the owners, spend a bit of time looking around, buy in multiples as mlgb suggested, and remember not to feel pressured. Have some fun with it!
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Old Nov 6th, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Oh, and mlgb mentions finger puppets: great for the small children on your list. I bought condors, llamas, parrots, monkeys, etc.
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Old Nov 10th, 2013, 01:45 AM
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Shortly after 9/11, I was in Peru. I took a trip to a market (and elsewhere) from Cusco and picked up a small demonic figure cheaply there. It sat on the mantlepiece at home for some months and handling it one day, it came apart in my hand, with the top half coming off to reveal a hidden blade four inches long. This had been through customs and x-rays on my way home.
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Old Nov 11th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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We found packets of Peruvian Salt for sale at one of the local convenience stores - they were packaged nicely in a woven bag and we bought quite a few of them as gifts for our "foodie" friends. They were a little heavy though even though the package size was small.
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