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San Pedro Market Cusco–It is more than likely that this local market is one of the most colorful and very interesting ones in Peru. Today this market is a must-see place for anyone if want to immerse deeper into local lively areas of this destination.
Cusco recently has been considered one of the best cities in Central and South America by the prestigious magazine “Travel and Leisure” in the “World’s Best Awards 2018” is why it allures hundreds of visitors who are amazed to visit this fantastic historical city.
Most travellers arrive to visit Machu Picchu, but there is a very different place that is very close to the Plaza de Armas (main square) of Cusco which is the traditional San Pedro Market; a place where you can experience the day to day customs of the Cusquenians.
San Pedro Market Cusco Peru
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.
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
San Pedro Market Location Map in Cusco
It is easier and faster to get there walking than taking a cab, so venture into the City of Cusco and visit the Central Market of San Pedro.
In the historical City of Cusco, there are many places which you can visit and enjoy them just in a very short time, like this traditional San Pedro Market or also called Central Market.
There are plenty of things to see since the very bizarre stuff to the colorful fruits and handicrafts.
The “San Pedro Market” is a very picturesque place, often visited by national and foreign visitors, where you can find many alternatives to buy traditional souvenirs, as well as taste some typical food, good cheese stalls, accessories for traditional costumes, fabrics, stalls of healers and witchcraft, herbal tinctures, and ointments based on the tallow of certain animals.
Here you can buy coca leaves and prepare your own infusion; coca tea is one of the best natural remedies to combat altitude sickness and we are sure it will be very helpful during your stay in Cusco.
Nowadays some people who come from nearby provinces, come with typical costumes, carrying their babies on their backs in typical blankets, which will surely fascinate you. A whole experience to feel the pulse of an intense city that is not only touristy but also popular.
Do not expect something fancy but expect something odd at some meals. Trout ceviche, deep-fried pork, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, chicken soup are just some of the most popular dishes that can be tasted here, on the other hand, there are some odd dishes that are served for a specific reason like the frog soup to boost to intelligence or the roasted guinea pig to celebrate someone’s birthday. Here is where you will meet all the locals at lunchtime but be aware that service is basic, prices are very low.
You can also find the jugueria–juice section to quench your thirst with freshly squeezed juices, ask the mistress to add some local exotic fruits in your juice, and why not some black beer. Like the meals, some type of juice might be very strange for you, or you can even request a juice with super nutritious ingredients like the black beer, bee honey, bee pollen, frog, and you can add the huanarpo roots to enhance your sexual life.
If you are venturing in trying some food, our recommendation would be to try Aji de Gallina, Lomo Saltado, Roasted Guinea Pig, Chicken Soup, and Caldo de Cabeza (sheep head soup). On juice, try Lucuma juice.
Since the San Pedro market Cusco is focused on locals, meals or any type of food can be not good to you, we strongly recommend you skip the meals here if you are thinking to travel to Machu Picchu or taking a hike to Machu Picchu, you can try something after accomplishing your trip to Machu Picchu or any tour. This place can’t guarantee you won’t leave with a bad nasty stomach upset, It is still worth visiting though, even just to roam through the food aisles.
The baked guinea pig is one of the typical Cusco dishes that has to offer and don’t leave Peru without trying… Cuy (pronounced “kwee”), which is a guinea pig. While it might seem unusual to tuck with furry creatures better known as domesticated pets in the West, this Andean mammal has been a staple in Peru’s Andean diet for around 5,000 years (It even has its own national holiday on the second Friday of October).
These little animals require little space and happily eat vegetable scraps, factors that make them ideal to farm. Gourmet cuy for restaurants, however, are fed an exclusive alfalfa diet to ensure the meat is as tender as possible. They’re often cooked whole—yes, with the head, tongue, ears, and other parts left intact and doused in salt and garlic to crisp up the skin. It’s very usual to add in the belly aromatic herbs (huacatay herb) cut in pieces mixed with peanuts, and its fried guts.
Two popular dishes are cuy al horno, a dish native to Cusco and other regions of Peru, which is baked in an oven and cuy al palo (a stick goes through the cuy), where it’s roasted on simmer.
Most of the restaurants offer this typical dish and some restaurants started to specialize in guinea-pig, which have been offering cuy in variable presentations and flavors. As for the taste, it’s sort of like a cross between rabbit and chicken.
Our recommendation to try is the “cuy al palo” if there is a chance although this type of dish is rarely offered at restaurants, cuy al palo is mostly cooked in the countrysides of Cusco, Apurimac, Ayacucho regions. Otherwise, you can go for cuy al horno, which is more popular than the previous one.
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.
San Pedro Market 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, etc, just ask the vendors for a couple of the described fruits (peel or take the skin off the fruit).
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.
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.
Monday to Saturday from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm. Sundays until noon.
San Pedro Central Market, Cascaparo, Cusco.
On foot: along Santa Clara Street, 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas.
The Central Market of Cusco or Mercado de San Pedro was built in 1925 and is the oldest in the city. The construction was directed by Gustav Eiffel, the same who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Originally located in the Plaza de San Francisco, it was moved to a new building located in the Plaza San Pedro, in front of the temple of the same name, south of the Plaza de Armas. With a single rectangular floor plan, this colonial-style building occupies a city block and bears the hallmark of Eiffel’s constructions: columns and metal roofing.
San Pedro Market Cusco would be definitely a great add-on to your Peru adventures, a place to rub shoulders with the locals and savor just a little taster of what life is really like in Cusco.
And as every good cultural experience has its funny side, part of the fun is to hear the ingenious ways of the vendors to get the attention of customers.
Contact us for a free quote today, for any day tour we have in Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. All tours are personally designed for you by one of our local experts here at Peru Summit Adventures.