The Cusco region is Peru’s center of handicraft production, especially handwoven textiles, and Lima is the country’s premier shopping destination. Many Cusqueño artisans still employ ancient weaving techniques, and they produce some of the finest textiles in South America. Cusco overflows with tiny shops stuffed with colorful wares and large markets crammed with dozens of stalls. Sadly, many handicrafts are now mass-produced outside of the region, though authentic textiles and crafts can still be found if you look in the right places for the best luxury shopping in Cusco that helps support the local artists and craftsmen.
Ready to go shopping? Some of the items easily found in Cusco include alpaca-wool sweaters, shawls, gloves, hats, scarves, blankets, ponchos, and chullos, the distinctive Andean knit caps with ear coverings; silver jewelry; antique blankets and textiles; woodcarvings, especially nicely carved picture frames; ceramics; and Escuela Cusqueña reproduction paintings.
Kuoda believes in the importance of buying local and supporting artisan communities – so we’ve put together a list of places in Cusco that guarantee the highest percentage of the sale goes directly to the artisan, helping build more sustainable communities and ensuring that you come home with a product of the highest, handmade quality.
– For Handmade Textiles and Pottery:
• Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco
The idea of creating a group that would preserve Cusco’s textile heritage had its origins during the mid-1970s. Some weavers in Chinchero were deeply concerned that young people were turning away from weaving and that complex designs were being forgotten. Determined to revive their traditional textiles, this small group began to work together, using handspun yarn and natural fibers like alpaca, llama, and sheep’s wool as a first step toward restoring high-quality indigenous textiles.
This informal cultural project ultimately developed into the Centro De Textiles Tradicionales – which uses all natural textiles and authentic Incan weaving and dyeing techniques in each piece that they sell. The designs and skills here have been handed down from generation to generation.
• Market of Pisac
A few kilometers from Cusco on the route of the Sacred Valley tours, it is located in the same town of Pisac, the craft market of Pisac, works every day, although on Sundays it becomes a great craftsmen’s fair, occupying main streets and even the main square of Pisac.
This craft market is one of the oldest and most recognized craft centers in Cusco, most merchants are local people who produce their own products. It is best to visit Pisac on a Sunday because then it is market day. Many indigenous people come from out of town to the Sunday market in Pisac to sell their goods.
• For Alpaca and Andean Fashion:
It’s difficult to walk 10 paces in Cusco without running into an alpaca goods shop. Almost everyone in Cusco will try to sell you what they claim to be 100% alpaca scarves and sweaters, but many sold on the street and in tourist stalls are of inferior quality and might even be mixed with man-made materials such as fiberglass. To get better-quality examples, not to mention more stylish and original, you need to visit a store that specializes in upscale alpaca fashions or buys directly from artisans; they are more expensive, but compared to international alpaca prices, still a true bargain.
If you are looking for vicuña, which is more luxurious and pricier than alpaca, buy only from a reputable store.
Kuna is an award-winning Alpaca wool retailer based out of Cusco with a commitment to conserving, breeding, and improving alpacas in Peru as well as supporting the preservation of the Andean communities and culture.
Kuna offers the fashion world a unique style evoking nature, superior technical skill, and an invaluable cultural legacy. The Kuna brand is the culmination of thousands of years of Peruvian Alpaca breeding, and textile experience combined with generations of apparel manufacturing expertise, modern technology, and deep respect for natural fibers. The result is a marvelous expression of superior quality, high fashion, practical function, and lasting durability.
• Sol Alpaca
The wool from Sol Alpaca comes from all over Peru and uses sustainable methods of manufacturing all over the world. Avoid the import tax and get it here at the source in Cusco. The brand has learned from weavers, designers, and breeders from all over Peru to partner and produce the fibers used in their fashion, while also contributing back to local communities. The brand prides itself on its incomparable softness, high resistance, and inspiration in the aesthetic expressions of ancient Andean cultures.
Collectors are in luck when strolling through Cusco’s ancient streets. Such a melting pot of culture and unique local heritage can be represented by antique items displayed at one of the many antique stores and flea markets in Cusco, ready to be spotted and given a new home by a nostalgic and lucky browser. Visit one of these antique shops for a look into Cusco’s complex history.
• Antigüedades Arcangel
Visitors to Cusco and locals looking to sell their old things visit Antigüedades Arcangel daily to soak up the nostalgic and jovial atmosphere of this store, which resembles a flea market, and find a bargain. This antique fair in Cusco has a nice mix of religious and other antiques from the Cusco region and across Peru, including some reasonably priced gift items.
For Jewelry and Silver:
One of the finest jewelry stores in Peru deals in fine silver and unique Andean-style pieces and has several branches in Cusco. The store has an ample selection of replicas of colonial-era pieces, as well as some really creative and elegant originals. The internationally recognized shop is based in Lima, though there are multiple locations in Cusco, including ones in the Monasterio, Casa Andina Private Collection, and JW Marriott hotels.
• Joyeria Cachi:
Created by Peruvian designer Sonia Cachi, the store sells Andean-inspired jewelry. Sonia and her family have designed and created jewelry inspired by the cultures embedded in her native Peru for 45 years. She describes her work with silver, stones, glass, and hand painting as a melding of styles: Incan mystic, Spanish Baroque, and international modern.
• Craft center of Cusco
It is located on El Sol Avenue, one of the main streets of the city, five blocks from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, on the corner of Tullumayo Avenue with El Sol Avenue, Cusco.
The artisan center is open from Monday to Sunday from 9 in the morning to 8 at night.
The artisan center consists of several passages and various craft shops, there you can find all kinds of crafts: from musical instruments to clothes made of baby alpaca. Textiles, masks, ceramics, backpacks, paintings, jewelry, polo shirts, alpaca garments, shoes, stones, musical instruments, souvenirs, and more.
• San Blas neighborhood
One of the tourist and commercial neighborhoods of Cusco, the traditional neighborhood of San Blas, is called traditional because artists and artisans of ancient Cusco converge, who are dedicated to making handicrafts in all its commercial lines such as paintings, clothing, ceramics, instruments musicals, sculptures of saints and virgins, etc.
The San Blas neighborhood is very close to the city’s Plaza de Armas, passing through Hatun Rumiyoc Street, where the famous Stone of the 12 Angles of Cusco is located, a slope that will take you directly to the heart of the traditional neighborhood.
For Outdoor Gear:
As the gateway to outdoor highlands and Sacred Valley activities, including mountain climbing, trekking, and cycling, Cusco is well-stocked with outdoor gear shops for those who aren’t adequately equipped for their adventures.
• Tatoo Adventure Gear
Tatoo Adventure Gear is a go-to store for adventure lovers visiting Cusco. Selling outdoor equipment including the basics such as daypacks and fleeces to more technical equipment like water purifiers, camping gear, and climbing equipment, the store stocks the best local and international brands to help visitors prepare themselves for outdoor adventures in the Andes. The Tatoo store is where you will find everything from clothing, Nalgene drinking bottles, stainless steel coffee pots, and mosquito nets to carabiners, quickdraws, harnesses, and everything else in between.
Luxury Shopping In Cusco With Kuoda
Ready to shop your way through Cusco? Come back home with gifts for the family and memories that will last a lifetime. Let Kuoda plan your trip to Peru so you can experience the culture of the Andes through arts, handicrafts, jewelry, and more.
Main Photo Source: Facebook Kuna