It’s a sad fact that there’s a total dearth of great shopping in the valley. Whilst the food markets are wonderful (especially the one in Urubamba!) and while Pisac is great for artisanal blankets, rugs and jewellery, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more modern, well – good luck!
And it’s a shame. There’s such a wealth of stunning natural materials here, from silver to vicuña, and of course, there’s a ton of weaving talent. Couldn’t the artisans make their goods to look a little bit more, well, stylish, though?
Some savvy shop owners are indeed providing us with chic clothing made from local materials, but with a less rural vibe. Most of the best stores are in Cusco, but there are a few scattered throughout the valley, too – and we hope this number will grow!
Here’s our list of the best places to shop in the Sacred Valley, from Cusco and beyond. Did we miss any? Please let us know in the comments section!
This cute little hipster hangout is very well known for its handmade jewellery, which is sold both at its store and its coffee shop in San Blas. They also sell designer clothes made from alpaca, tees from prison-made brand Project Pieta, and interesting framed photographic prints.
Owned by Ingrid Thieblemont, a Parisian designer who moved to Cusco, this boutique screams ‘French chic’. There’s also a lovely cafe on the side, which has some of the best views in all of San Blas and Cusco.
Atoqsayk’uchi, Cusco, Peru Image: Voyage Perou
Bored of your wardrobe? Da Colektor will show you bags, shoes, clothes and jewellery to spice it up! There’s also a selection of blankets, rugs and ceramics for the home, and soon, I understand they’re making a cafe in the garden so you can perk yourself up after a day of shopping.
Tater Vera Ceramics
Tater Vera is a Cusco native from a family with a deep love of art and antiques. This little gem of a ceramic store is located in San Blas on Suyt’uqhatu street and is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy high quality ceramics.
Tater Vera specializes in the glazed ceramic technique that was traditional in Cusco following the arrival of the Spaniards back in the 15th century. After the earthquake in Cusco in 1950, most of the potters lost their workshops and restarting their craft was no longer so profitable, with the arrival of cheaper materials like plastic and metals on the market. But luckily, Tater is working hard to save this exquisite lost art form from extinction.
A La Lau!
Stylish leather and woven purses, carved marble home accessories, ponchos and some of the most gorgeous handmade jewellery in the Valley is all on offer at this Cusco based shop. And the best part? It’s all ethically sourced from local artisans!
Forget hippy jewellery – this is fine, handmade jewellery with a twist! Crafted from sterling silver, mother of pearl and precious crystals, this array of rings, bracelets and necklaces beautifully matches the hand-knit alpaca fashions at Iya Mayta, too.
Alpaca garments start to look same-ish until you head to Kuna, one of the two alpaca empires in Peru. Here, you’ll find an array of finely knit baby alpaca and vicuña shawls, sweaters, hats and scarves for both men and women. There’s a good selection of solid colours and black, in case you feel, as I do, there’s often too much ‘Andean flare’ in knitwear here. There are multiple locations of this store all over Peru, including the airport.
When you enter the Esma handmade jewellery store, you get the feeling that acquiring one of their pieces is something special. It’s more than just a purchase, and is in fact an act intended to turn a small object into something unique and personal.
The different creative lines make choosing just one piece very difficult! Their use of copper, alpaca silver and bronze, accompanied with other materials like leather, seeds from the jungle, enamelled copper, textiles and quartz crystals makes each piece unique, and their silver line with semi-precious stones like topaz, amethyst, and Australian opals are in keeping with latest trends and customer tastes.
Calle Triunfo 393, Inner Patio 106, Cusco.
French-Peruvian Architect Elise started to make unique clothing by using serigraphy to stamp her photos of locals onto cotton bags and T-shirts, but then she decided to expand her range by selling delicate, stylish jewellery, chic leather accessories, and beautifully knit sweaters, wraps, hats and more, all made from fine baby alpaca. Today, her vibrant range is hand manufactured by local women’s knitting cooperatives in Ollantaytambo, Anta and Quillahuata.
Handmade from all natural ingredients (often organic), such as calendula, neroli, jasmine oil and roses, all of Begonie’s Botanical products are so pure, you can practically eat them! But just because they’re not full of fancy chemicals like the big beauty brands doesn’t mean they don’t work – in fact, in my own personal experience, these work BETTER than anything you’d pay twice the price for in a department store. If you’re looking for non-toxic skincare for men, women and children, there’s really nobody who does it better!
All images: via the brands on Facebook