I am mad for a market. A wall-to-wall, stalls packed like sardines, brimming with lovingly hand crafted wares kind of market. I love to scout for bargains and I'm an unflappable haggler - I've had plenty of practise. There's an adventure to be had in not knowing what's around each corner. To find something unique and unusual to take home and then bartering down the price is a challenge I love.
South America pulls off some excellent weekend markets, but my absolute favourite on the whole continent was Pisac Market in Peru's Sacred Valley
(apologies for the potato quality photos, I upgraded my camera after travelling South America - so many of my photos from this time are pretty poor, sigh)
An hour out of Cusco by local bus from the station(prepare to have school children hanging off you), this bus drives right through the Sacred Valley, the heartland of the Inca Empire. It cost 2.50 Sol, but there are other ways to reach Pisac, such as taking a taxi or the Collectivo from the top of Puputi Street in Cusco for marginally more (4 Sol) but are much safer and more comfortable than the bus we took.
I felt Pisac's was South America's most authentic market, which covers the whole central plaza and explodes into the nearby streets on the weekends. Pisac market is not as well known as Otovalo's Market in Ecuador, but is by far my favourite just for the less tourist orientated feel. I found the wares here more unique, with the stall owner knitting her scarves and hats to peddle as she enticed in potential buyers.
It's worth noting that some vendors ask for money if you photograph their wares, and you may have to pay a sol or two. I usually just took them without being too obvious about it.
Even if you don't plan on buying anything, wandering the neat rows of stalls and wares is really enjoyable.
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