In Part 1 of this series, we pointed you towards the most unique Peruvian souvenirs you could buy in Lima, Puerto Maldonado, Ica, and Arequipa. Where were Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Puno? Answer: They’re on this list. Unless you’re straying from the heavily traveled tourist route through Peru, chances are your custom Peru tour will take you to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Puno. Here are some Peruvian souvenirs distinct to each spot.
Cusco – Cusco School Painting, Retablos, & Alpaca Clothing
Cusco is the beating heart of Peruvian handicrafts. Its artisanal markets, art galleries, and boutique shops are treasure troves for hand-made goods often steeped in tradition and history. If you only buy one souvenir during your visit to Cusco, let it be a Cusco School painting reproduction, a colorful retablo (a wooden diorama of sorts depicting religious, historical, and everyday events), or an alpaca wool scarf, sweater, or blanket. Escuela Cusqueña reproductions and retablos can be found in some of the exclusive shops in Plaza de Armas or San Blas – the bohemian quarter of Cusco. While shops selling quality alpaca goods, they are scattered throughout town. Kuna and Sol Alpaca are two great options.
The Sacred Valley – Textiles, Chullos, & Maras Salt
When your tour of Peru makes its way to the Sacred Valley, prepare to fill a second suitcase with handwoven textiles, those funny hats with ear flaps called chullos, and some Peruvian pink salt mined from the Maras salt pans. The textiles, especially those by the artisans of Chinchero and Umasbamba, are absolutely exquisite. Attend a weaving workshop to watch how it’s done and then buy one or a few directly from the weaver for a truly special Peruvian souvenir. Chullos can be found at markets throughout the Sacred Valley but for the most authentic version, wait until you visit the Pisac Market. As for the salt, the picturesque Maras Salt Mines are located just 45 minutes from Cusco at the mouth of the Sacred Valley. Sample your way to the perfect salty souvenir while there.
Puno – Coffee, Pucará Bulls, & Taquile Handicrafts
During your visit to Puno and Lake Titicaca, keep your eyes peeled for bags of some of Peru’s best coffee (called Quechua), a twin pair of ceramic Pucará bulls, and if you make it out on the lake to Taquile Island, throw in some proper Taquile textile art as well. These are the quintessential Puno souvenirs. The coffee grown in Puno’s Sandia Valley is award-winning on an international stage, Puno’s Pucará bulls are the go-to wedding gift throughout the Andes, as they’re believed to bring prosperity, fertility, and happiness to those who keep them on the roof of their home, and the Taquile woven handicrafts are on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Saving space in your suitcase already?
Consider this and our last post a taster for all of the Peruvian souvenirs you’ll come across on your Peru vacation. There will be far more options before you, of course, but if it’s regionally distinct souvenirs that you’re after, then our list is something to keep in your back pocket for sure!