July 11, 2017 by jiejie768
Shopping in Ayacucho is a many-splendored thing. Wandering through the open-air market is a great way to experience Andean culture first-hand. There is a really good chance that this post is redundant of one we did in our first trip, but as we have new readers and that was more than 4 years ago, I figured I’d take another crack at it . I plan to mostly let the pictures do the talking.
Upon entering the market you have a couple choices: turn left for tourist goods (hats, weavings, clay houses, etc.), or turn right for bread and fruit. On this day our mission was food-centric.
Beyond the bread and veggies, one will encounter the “sección de carne” (meat section), which, as you can see above, is basically an open-air butcher shop with carts full of meat hanging for shoppers to peruse.
As I mentioned, the market also features a souvenir section where travelers can shop for any number of traditional Andean keepsakes. My favorites are the chullos (“chew-yos”), the colorful ear-flap hats made of alpaca wool and the casitas, or miniature houses made of clay. Meg is partial to the retablos (“ray-ta-blows”), which are wooden cabinets painted in bright colors and depict various scenes relating to local culture and religion. Both the retablos and casitas can be found all over Peru, but the tradition originates from the mountain villages outside Ayacucho.
Once one leaves the market-proper, there are still plenty of opportunities to buy as nearly every street in the centro is lined with carts and vendors offering everything from knick-knacks to food to kitchen supplies and more.
Of course, if you’re looking for a more US-style shopping experience there are a handful of grocery stores around Ayacucho that offer a more traditional (to us) array of packaged foodstuffs. Just know that if you only shop here you’ll be paying more and missing out on a major piece of life in Ayacucho.