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Exploring the Heart of Cusco: Mercado Central de San Pedro (Cusco’s Central Market)

Mercado Central de San Pedro Important Details:

  • Address: Mercado Central de San Pedro, Cusco, Peru (Google Maps)
  • Hours of Operation: Open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Cost of Entrance: Free
  • Recommended Time to Spend: 1-2 hours
  • How to Arrive: Easily accessible by walking, taxi, or public transportation
  • Distance From Plaza de Armas in Cusco: Approximately 1 km (Google Maps Route)
  • Distance from the Airport in Cusco: About 6 km (Google Maps Route)
  • Ideal Month(s) to Visit: All year round
  • Ideal Time of Day to Visit: Morning or early afternoon

How to Get to Mercado Central de San Pedro

Located just a kilometer away from the iconic Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Mercado Central de San Pedro is a vibrant hub of culture, flavors, and tradition. Visitors can reach the market by walking through the charming streets of Cusco or by opting for a short taxi ride. For those arriving by air, the market is approximately 6 kilometers from Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport.

The History of Mercado Central de San Pedro

With a history dating back to pre-colonial times, Mercado Central de San Pedro is a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of Cusco. The market was a vital trading post during the Inca Empire, where produce, textiles, and other goods were exchanged. Today, it continues to thrive as a bustling market, offering an authentic glimpse into the local way of life.

What to Do at Mercado Central de San Pedro

As you step into Mercado Central de San Pedro, you’re immediately enveloped by the vibrant colors and tantalizing aromas of Peruvian cuisine. The market is a culinary treasure trove, featuring stalls laden with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and local delicacies. From exotic fruits like lucuma and chirimoya to traditional dishes like ceviche and rocoto relleno, there’s a world of flavors to explore. Chat with the friendly vendors, sample regional specialties, and pick up some souvenirs like alpaca wool clothing and handmade crafts.

Mercado Central de San Pedro – Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mercado Central de San Pedro Safe?

Yes, the market is generally safe for tourists. However, like any bustling place, it’s wise to keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets.

Can You Walk There from Other Tourist Attractions in Cusco?

Yes! The market is within walking distance from popular attractions like Plaza de Armas and the San Blas neighborhood, allowing you to enjoy the city’s charm as you make your way there.

What Can You Buy at the Market? 

Mercado Central de San Pedro offers an authentic Peruvian experience. It’s a chance to interact with locals, savor traditional flavors, and shop for unique products like Andean textiles, spices, and handicrafts. Exploring this market allows you to connect directly with the vibrant culture of Cusco in a truly meaningful way.

What Are The Most Famous Foods at Mercado Central de San Pedro?

When it comes to exploring the flavors of Cusco, Mercado Central de San Pedro stands as a paradise for food enthusiasts. The market offers an array of amazing foods that are not only delicious but also reflective of the region’s rich culinary heritage. Here are some of the most famous foods to savor and buy at this bustling market:

  • Ceviche: A quintessential Peruvian dish, ceviche features fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, typically lime or lemon, and mixed with onions, cilantro, and chili peppers. The result is a burst of refreshing flavors that capture the essence of the ocean. Mercado Central de San Pedro has amazing Ceviche.
  • Anticuchos: These skewered and grilled meat treats have their origins in the Inca Empire. Commonly made from marinated beef heart, anticuchos are a flavorful street food favorite, often served with potatoes and a spicy chili sauce.
  • Rocoto Relleno: If you’re in the mood for a spicy kick, don’t miss out on rocoto relleno. This dish consists of stuffed rocoto peppers, which are indigenous to the Andes. The filling typically includes minced meat, vegetables, and cheese, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and heat.
  • Chicha Morada: For a non-alcoholic treat, try chicha morada, a vibrant purple drink made from purple corn and flavored with fruits and spices. It’s a refreshing and sweet beverage that pairs well with the bold flavors of Peruvian cuisine.
  • Andean Fruits: Mercado Central de San Pedro showcases an array of exotic and indigenous fruits that might be unfamiliar to many travelers. From lucuma, known for its unique flavor reminiscent of sweet potato and maple, to the custard-like chirimoya, exploring these fruits is a delightful adventure for a traveler’s new Peruvian palate.
  • Quinoa-based Dishes: As a staple of the Andean diet, quinoa takes center stage in many dishes. Look for offerings like quinoa salads, soups, and even desserts that highlight the versatility and nutritional value of this ancient grain.
  • Empanadas: These savory pastries are a hit among locals and tourists. Whether filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables, empanadas are a convenient and tasty snack that can be enjoyed on the go.
  • Local Cheeses: Cheese enthusiasts will love the selection of regional cheeses available at the market. From mild to pungent, these cheeses offer a glimpse into the diversity of Peruvian dairy products.
  • Fresh Produce: Mercado Central de San Pedro is a treasure trove of fresh fruits and vegetables that are an opportunity to taste the local harvest. From avocados and mangoes to unique varieties of potatoes, the market’s produce section is a colorful spectacle.
  • Peruvian Pastries and Sweets: There is also an array of traditional Peruvian pastries and desserts. Alfajores, picarones (sweet potato and squash fritters), and more await those who have a sweet tooth.

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