4 Best Places to Shop in Ayacucho, The Central Highlands

Casa del Retablo

Fodor's choice
If you think Ayacucho's retablos are incredible, just wait until you see the precision that goes into their making. Maestro Silvestre Ataucusi Flores invites you into his workshop, after which you can do a little mask-painting yourself, or browse among his stunning depictions of Carnavals, musical instruments, and bullfights. A 15-minute taxi ride from the Plaza de Armas gets you here.

Mercado Andrés Vivanco

Ayacucho's produce and meat market is found behind the Arco del Triunfo in a one-story building; shops continue for several streets behind.

Mercado Artesanal Shosaku Nagase

The widest selection of handicrafts in Ayacucho, from retablos retablos to sweaters, can be found at Mercado Artesanal Shosaku Nagase, about a kilometer north of the city center near the big sports complex.

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Santa Ana

The Santa Ana neighborhood is dotted with some of Peru's finest workshops. These local artists and their galleries are clustered around the Plazoleta Santa Ana, and most are happy to share their knowledge and even their life stories with visitors. In particular, look for complex tejidos (textiles), which have elaborate, and often pre-Hispanic, motifs that can take more than half a year to design and weave. Many artists painstakingly research their designs, pulling abstract elements from Huari ceremonial ponchos. These creations, made of natural fibers and dyes, can cost US$400 or more for high-quality work. Standouts include the textile workshops of Alejandro Gallardo (Plaza Santa Ana 105) and Edwin Sulca Lagos (Plaza Santa Ana 82), who also makes carpets. And don't miss the beautiful alabaster (huamanga) carvings of José Gálvez.