Whilst walking Perus Inca Trail is a life experience that shouldnt be missed, so is shopping in any of the countrys traditional markets, particularly the large Incan Market at Miraflores. From silver jewellery to Alpaca shawls, theres certainly plenty at the stalls to tempt you. However, if youve never haggled before it can be quite daunting. Remember to always start by offering a third of the price that youre quoted and work your way up to the sellers final price. Once youve worked out how to haggle, youre going to need to know what to buy….
Plaster by the Mendivil Family
You might need to wait until after walking Perus Inca Trail to stock up on plaster pieces; after all you dont want your backpack to be too weighed down! Luckily, for the majority of people the Inca Trail ends in Cusco, where the Mendivil family are famous for making plaster figures of the Virgin Mary. Statues are made from a mixture of wheat flour, rice, mashed potatoes, plaster and papier mache.
Carving gourds out with a hot needle is an ancient Peruvian craft and one that you will see often while walking Peru. The most common carved gourds are from the town of Cochas and depict countryside scenes. However, gourds carved in the shape of owls are becoming increasingly common and make a great gift for the cat-sitter.
You may be tempted to buy an alpaca wool shawl to keep yourself warm whilst walking Perus Inca Trail. They also make fantastic souvenirs for family and friends, particularly when they are made from baby alpaca wool, which is slightly softer and less prickly. Alpaca mixed with lambs wool is a cheaper option, and unsurprisingly ponchos are a common purchase. If youre after something a little less out-there than a bedecked Incan poncho, the Cusco belts made from alpaca wool with geometric motifs are real collectors pieces, and add a colourful touch to even the most monochrome wardrobes.
Walking Peru, youre going to see panpipes for sale almost everywhere. These make a cheap and inexpensive gift and are particularly good to take home for the grandchildren. Although panpipe music is synonymous with Peru, small guitars known as charangos and mandolins are also sold in the marketplace. A CD of traditional Peruvian music will not only give you an idea of what the instruments sound like played together, but is bound to bring back some happy memories of your holiday walking Peru.
Gold and silver items are popular mementos, but when buying silver be certain to check for the hallmark 925. Colonial and Republican tableware is stunning, but coffee sets can be expensive and therefore a small piece of filigree jewellery often proves to be a more sentimental keepsake. Peruvian turquoise is a beautiful blue-green stone that pairs well with silver and can look stunning on a necklace.
After walking Perus Inca Trail, you may be dreaming of lying back and taking it easy for a few days. Perhaps this is the reason that so many tourists return from walking Peru with a hammock in their suitcase? Hammocks are made locally with strong cotton and vegetable fibre from the Amazon rainforest. But if you dont like the idea of lugging your bed home with you, you could always buy a handbag made from the same material instead.
Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. Operating since 1946, they now offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in more than 90 different countries. While walking Peru with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, you can see the most scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.