As you know, I love shopping. But when traveling in a foreign country or heck, when traveling to another state in the US, I avoid typical souvenir purchases. During my recent trip to Peru, I hunted for things other than llama-laden wear, pan pipes, and similar trinkets. This helped me stay (somewhat) focused and picky.
Note to shoppers heading to Peru: Bring an empty suitcase just for purchases. Cross fingers the exchange rate is still a little above 3 Peru Nuevo Soles for 1 American dollar. That’s right – 1 dollar got you 3 (Peruvian equivalent) dollars. I could have filled two or three extra suitcases!
My shopping in Peru was restricted mainly to markets in touristy areas. Because I was with a small group with a clear sense of purpose, we didn’t much time to wander. For example, in Pisac we had a single hour; I could have spent so much more time!
I also didn’t a lot of cash with me in Pisac, and cash rules the markets in Peru. I did get two hand-made necklaces directly from the artisan. The larger is said to be for protection, the smaller is made of what everyone called the “Machu Picchu” stone. It may be adventurine, I’m not sure.
The group ate at a restaurant right on the market square of Pisac. I snapped a few pictures from the second story of the restaurant. The picture in the center is of a typical street in the center of town.
The shopping highlight was wandering through the market in Agua Calientes; if you go to Machu Picchu, this is the town you have to travel through. This easily dwarfed the markets in both Pisac and Ollantaytambo in terms of size and variety. I bought hats for Christmas gifts and a gorgeous alpaca cape from this market.
I also picked up four alpaca hats. They were easy to stuff into my overloaded suitcase and were a big hit at Christmas.
On my last day in Peru, I went kinda crazy at the market near the Ollantaytambo ruins. There was the necklace from the woman who was related to the guy who sold my friend a picture.
This kind of thing is a normal happening in Peru. My friend stopped to look at paintings. While she was looking, a woman came hawked jewelry she claimed was hand-made. I’m not so sure about the hand-made part, but it is a gorgeous necklace. Turn over to see colors representing the chakras.
I also bought two sweaters and two blankets from a single stand. First thing in the morning, I got the blankets; then I went on with my day.
I returned later with traveling companions and bought two sweaters. The woman running the stand spoke only a little English, but we were able to take care of the transaction with no issues. And I got a big hug of appreciation for being both her first customer of the day, and for bringing people back later in the day.
Also at Ollantaytambo, I purchased a purse and hat – both in the Incan style that will be great for summer.
And finally, and far from the least, I bought a Ye Ming Jhu necklace from trip organizer and facilitator Ashera Sefarty. This is a ‘real’ piece of jewelry, and definitely no bargain. Still, it glows in the dark, and wouldn’t leave my hands. The website says these are living beings and are “said to bring health, good fortune, increase Qi, and strengthen the aura. After exposure to light, heat, and sometimes even Qi they can glow for hours on end.” I feel very fortunate to own this small, beautiful necklace.
My Peru journey was organized and facilitated by Ashera Sefarty at Luminosity Healing Arts. The retreat was co-led by Daina Puodziunas Awakened Potentials for Woman. I’m only getting started with telling you about the amazing spiritual journey to the Sacred Valley of Peru. Subscribe now so you won’t miss a single post.