Central Markets (in Spanish: Mercado Central) are one of the best ways of immersing oneself in the Cuzco gastronomical culture. Typical food, handcraft, local inhabitants that buy and sell altogether with the foreign visitors. There are two main markets in the city: San Pedro Market and San Blas Market.
San Pedro Market
The San Pedro Market is only a few meters from the Plaza de Armas, it is one of the biggest and best supplied markets in this ancient Inca Empire’s Capital City. Located in front of the Train Station and the San Pedro church, it is known because of the variety of products it offers: food, spices, flowers, clothes, souvenirs, etc.
What to do in the San Pedro Market?
The first image the San Pedro Market offers is that of a complete chaos. However once you go into its hallways you start distinguishing the organization of the diverse types of products. The stands respect an order and they form different sections: meat, bread, chocolate, fruits, vegetables, souvenirs, clothes, food to go, and at the back the main dining room.
The traditional canteens inside the San Pedo Market are one of the most important attractions. Here you can taste typical Peruvian dishes at a very low price.
Going across its hallways the visitor might see an important collection of traditional Peruvian clothing, fabrics, “aguayos”, flags, etc. In the stands’ shields or even on the ground you will see shoes, handcrafts and products of all types both for tourists and locals.
San Blas Market
Going up the steep slopes of Cuzco’s streets, close to the gorgeous San Blas Square and the homonymous church there is the San Blas Market. This central market is defined as being a lot more quiet and with less variety of products than the San Pedro market, this is because of its location: a little bit further from the historical center of the city of Cuzco.
Inside you cannot find almost any tourist item, but products such as meat, vegetables and fruits. There use to be more local inhabitants than tourist here, which turns this market even more interesting if you visit Cuzco.
Just like the San Pedro and the San Blas markets, it holds a series of dining rooms inside where you can give a taste to some traditional Peruvian dishes at a very low price. It is the only market in Cusco that counts with a vegetarian food stand.
The popular markets of San Pedro and San Blas are both imperative stops for those who visit Cuzco and for anyone who wishes to learn more about the Peruvian gastronomic culture.