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Shopping in Colca Canyon
The markets in Peru sell all kinds of handcrafted goods made by the locals who use ancient techniques to craft the articles. The most commonly sold items are alpaca sweaters, jewellery, hand-woven rugs, ponchos, tapestries and a variety of other items made from materials such as leather, wood, copper and silver. The products are all reasonably priced.
The craftsmen of the Colca Valley are reputed for their fine work. They add embellishments to rugs, and create various types of embroidery, engraved wooden objects and hammered tinworks.
There are a number of shopping options throughout the Colca Canyon, and our Colca Canyon Shopping Guide below tells you where to find the best bargains and what to shop for. For more general information about shopping in Peru see our Peru Shopping Guide. While shopping, relax and revive your energy at one of the Colca Canyon restaurants throughout the region.
Colca Canyon Shopping Guide
Shopping in Chivay
Chivay has some typical Peruvian handicrafts such as the colourful Maquinaza embroidery. The embroidered pieces are inspired by nature and daily life. On the way to the rim of the Colca Canyon, you will come across small villages like Yanque and Maca. Both the villages have historical churches worth a visit, as well as a market area. The markets surround the central plaza and are full of handicrafts being sold by the locals dressed in traditional costumes.
Shopping in Arequipa
If you are keen to purchase items woven from the famous alpaca wool, Arequipa is the place for you. The town markets sell sweaters, shawls and scarves made from this fine and valuable fibre. In fact, Arequipa is known as the world capital of alpaca. The wool is obtained from the alpaca, an Andean camel. There are large factories and several boutiques offering excellent alpaca items at affordable prices.
The cost of good quality alpaca sweaters depends on the colours and designs used. Beware of getting conned into buying cheap but fake alpaca items at handicraft stores. In Arequipa you can choose from a wide range of coats, sweaters and scarves for men and women. The city has a couple of reliable shops where you can get yourself baby alpaca scarves, sweaters, and shawls. Apart from alpaca wool, Arequipa is well known throughout Peru for its vicuna wool, which is softer and more expensive. The wool from the wild South American vicuna camelid is woven into colourful blankets, sweaters and scarves, which are available all over the city.
The commercial centre of Arequipa is El Ekeko (Mercaderes street) or La Casona de Santa Catalina on Santa Catalina street. This modern area has over six sections selling high-quality gifts, clothes and household items. The street has perfume and video stores, musical instrument and equipment stores, as well as cafeterias, cyber-cafés and video game parlours.
If you head downtown to the main street - Mercaderes, you will discover numerous places to shop. There are supermarkets and stores selling electronic and household items, CDs, clothing and furniture. Arequipa's most contemporary mall - Panorámico is one of them other mall is Saga Falabella on Ejército Avenue, where you can shop clothes, food ro maybe go to the movies.
For the best clothes, local crafts, home decorations, ceramics, native instruments, antiques and carpets of vicuna and alpaca, visit the Santa Catalina Street and the Passage of the Cathedral. El Fundo of the Fierro Artisan Centre is in the San Francisco plaza. Here, in this beautiful colonial site, local craftsmen and artists exhibit and sell paintings and garments made from the finest fabrics of the region.