Peru is a heaven for shoppers and treasure hunters! During your travel to Peru, you will find many traditional markets and souvenir shops in cities like Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa that offer this special something to take home from your holiday in Peru!
But what are the best Peruvian souvenirs and gifts to go for? What are the Top 4 best Souvenirs to buy in Peru?
In this blog, I will let you in on the secrets of shopping in Peru. Check out the 4 Best Souvenirs to Buy in Peru! And don’t miss out on my five shopping tips. This way you are well prepared before you head out to the shops and markets in Peru to get those souvenirs for your beloved ones back home!
Top 4 Best Souvenirs to Buy In Peru
1. Alpaca Textiles with Andean patterns
These typical Peruvian textiles are probably the most popular items among tourists on vacation in Peru! In Cusco, you can find them in countless little stores and markets all over the city. The reason why the textiles are so popular? They are pretty, practical and affordable!
You can bring Peruvian textiles home for your friends and family or just buy yourself some for the journey in Peru. Don´t miss out on the lovely sweaters, socks, gloves, beanies or scarfs out of alpaca wool. They will definitely do their job keeping you warm in the chilly nights of the Andean mountains.
Coming in all variations and the typical Andean knitting patterns, you won´t have any problems finding a perfect fit for everyone you want to take home a souvenir from Peru!
TIP #1 Buying Baby Alpaca in Peru?
Don´t get scared if a vendor offers you textiles made of “Baby Alpaca”. No little alpaca had to die for your sweater. This expression just means that the wool is the first cut of an Alpaca, so it is is even softer – and therefore more expensive! However, be aware that in the tourist markets or from street vendors, you are most likely not going to get the real high-quality Baby alpaca wool. Don´t get fooled!
2. Quinoa, Coca, Maca or Pisco
What is a better souvenir from Peru than something that originates from there? If you are thinking about what to buy in Peru, you will find a range of local products that make a great Peruvian gift for your friends and family. Or, an excellent souvenir for yourself, to remember your holiday in Peru!
- Peruvian Quinoa is probably one of the most typical Andean products you can easily take come with you as it doesn´t weigh much. Quinoa originates in the Peruvian Andes and it is widely used in Peru for various delicious dishes. You had Quinoa in Peru and would like to cook the same dish at home? Take a small bag of Quinoa with you! Also your cooking enthusiastic friends and family will enjoy an authentic present from your journey.
- Coca tea or Coca caramels are nice souvenirs and easy to take in your suitcase. The coca plant was holy to the ancient Incas for its use as a medicinal plant. Until today, coca tea or “mate de coca” is widely drunk in Peru – especially in Cusco and Puno – as the tea, and the chewed coca leaves are supposed to relieve altitude sickness and stomach aches! You can even buy caramels of coca in the streets and stores in Peru! Fun gift!
- Maca Powder Why not go for the unusual souvenir and bring something natural and special? Did you know the Maca root from the Andes in Peru is a popular natural energizer? Maca in powder is not only rich in minerals and vitamins, but it is also known as a “natural Viagra” for its aphrodisiac powers. However, a small spoon of Maca powder daily can also be the perfect natural supplement to make you feel more refreshed and fitter! Maca has a balancing effect on the nerves and the human hormone balance, which helps to prevent, fatigue, stress and even depression!
- Peruvian Pisco Did you enjoy the lovely Pisco Sours in Peru? Why not take a bottle with you and make some for your friends at home? You can bring the famous original Peruvian Pisco for your friends and family as a gift or buy yourself a bottle and invite them over for “Pisco Sour Night” and show pictures of your Machu Picchu Tour!
TIP #2 Buying Coca Leaves in Peru?
Attention: you may not be allowed to take Coca leaves with you. Check your countries restrictions. If you are unsure, it´s better you don´t buy the tea in leaves but the one in teabags.
TIP #3 Taking Peruvian Maca with you?
Remember you not allowed to export roots or living plants from Peru. Ground Maca is okay to export.
TIP #4 Pisco As a Souvenir?
Be aware of restrictions on quantity. You can take some pisco back home, but don´t get the customs suspicious by taking great amounts of products.
3. Decoration Items from Peru: Toros de Pucará
Toros de Pucará, or Bulls of Pucará, are a popular gift among Peruvians. The small bull figures serve as a decoration in the houses and are made of ceramic painted in different colors. Also, you can spot bigger bull figures on the rooftops of the houses in Peru!
The bulls are usually a present to the house owners and are supposed to bring luck and prosperity to the family living in the house. As a smaller, colored version, they will send the recipient many good wishes.
What do the colors of the Toritos de Pucará mean?
- White – protection and peace
- Black – keep off looks of envy
- Red – love
- Yellow – money
The Pucará Bulls are always given in pairs. Wouldn´t this be a great way to share Peruvian traditions with your loved ones at home?
4. Peruvian Jewellery: The Inca Cross
The shape of the Andean cross (la Cruz Andina) will be a reoccurring symbol during your trip to Peru. Due to its origins in the Inca culture, you will find this geometric shape in all sorts of ancient ruins in Peru. Today, the Andean cross is utilized in weaving patterns, paintings and also beautiful jewelry! This might be the perfect souvenir or gift from Peru; a nice mystical symbol for your friends and family!
The Andean cross symbolizes the believe-system of the Inca culture: the whole in the middle stays for the center of the Empire, Cusco. The four three-stepped sides of the Andean cross represent the three stages of Inca life. There are different opinions on the meaning.
However, according to many sources, the three steps are supposed to symbolize the three spheres of life, according to the Incas:
- the lower or underworld, Uqhu Pacha, represented by the snake;
- the middle or human world, called Kay Pacha and represented by the puma;
- the upper world of the gods, Hanan Pacha, represented by the condor.
TIP #5 Don´t get fooled by street vendors or at the markets
into paying a high price for jewelry. Vendors might tell you what they are selling is “real silver”- however, most likely it is not. If you are going for a real quality product with silver or gold, take a look at a real jewelry shop and don’t buy it on the street.
Are you preparing a trip to Peru?
Our trip councelors would like to assist in case you have any questions!
Dos Manos Peru Travel Agency is specialized in Tours en Treks in the Cusco area, like Machu Picchu Tours and Machu Picchu treks like the Inca Trail. But we also offer tours in Norther Peru, on the Peruvian coast (ica, Nazca, Pisco), tours in Lima and Tours to the Amazone, just to mention a few destinations in Peru. Don’t hesitate to contact Dos Manos Peru Travel.