I buy a lot of things from every country I visit. One reason is because I really like to have a collection of international treasures. Another reason is that I want my home and space to be a reminder and reflection of my travels. Lastly, I like to support local business’, artists, craftsmen etc. Although still souvenirs, it is important to me to always come back with something that will really be a reflection of my time in that destination.
With that said, I always come back with a suitcase of treasures, so I’ve decided to make a shopping list of goodies that can be purchased in the places I’ve travelled to. So to start, here is a shopping list for…
Peru is the mecca for sweaters. With an abundance of llama and alpaca wool, you can find them anywhere. There are high fashion/high price tag sweaters and even side of the road sweaters. Sweaters with llamas and fringe as accents, sweaters for the whole family! You really cannot go wrong with bringing someone a sweater back as a souvenir. They are comfy and warm, and hey, if you don’t love it, you can always wear one to an ugly sweater party! Regardless, it is a great purchase, and you will stumble upon them everywhere!
Peru is a country of many talents. All sorts of artisan crafts can be found everywhere. There are some great options for pottery lovers. Miniature items, all the way to life sized pieces. Most painted in vibrant colours, others in natural rustic tones. Regardless of what your taste is, there are pocket-sized treasures for you and all your friends! If you’re lucky, you may even stumble upon some hand made treasures that are made and painted right in front of you.
One of my absolute favourite purchases to date is an amazing oversized painting I had purchased in Cuzco. It is so vibrant and full of life, it can literally brighten any room. Besides my personal selection, the artwork is immense. There is something to suit any style, and any décor! From a small post card size, to something to fill your wall, I urge you to support Peruvian artisans and buy a little bit of art, I guarantee it will be a favourite for life!
ALPACA BLANKETS // TEXTILES // RUGS
Along with sweaters, other textiles and blankets are readily available. From bright colours, to cool neutrals; there are many comfy variations. Blankets were my personal favourite (I got three!!), however there are great alpaca rugs (so much softer than shearling), stuffed animals, tablecloths etc. To add a little vibrancy to your home, there are many great additions to be found.
All right ladies and gents; Central and South America is swarmed with awesome silver jewelry and accessories. Peru is no exception! There are so many beautiful pieces (I got two rings myself). Be aware though; some silver is good, some is bad, use your judgment wisely. There are some stores of the higher end variety, where you generally have a guarantee that you are getting a great piece of jewelry. Then you have your standard souvenir shops, which may have some really pretty things, however be careful, because they may not be the quality you’re hoping for.
Along with textiles, a lot of weave work and crochet work is found throughout. My personal favourite was on the Uros Islands, where I got some great pillow covers and a wall hanging. All of which were pretty much made and weaved before your eyes. Every item is a reminder of skill and talent that still exist.
Most countries in the world have a signature alcohol. In Peru, that alcohol is pisco. A very potent liquor made from the skins of grapes, which bears no resemblance to wine. With that Pisco, comes a pisco sour. Although it’s not my favorite of the liquors, the Pisco sour sure is tasty! Be sure to bring a bottle home for that liquor connoisseur, as it is rather difficult to come by in Canada and the US.
This is an odd Peruvian favourite. Essentially it is very similar to a cream soda, but bright yellow. I’m not sure why the folks in Peru love it so much, but hey, to each their own. With that said, bring a bottle home and have a little taste of Peru as you wallow in sadness as you already miss the country so much!
The coca leaf is a funny plant. On the one hand, it is the creator of cocaine. On the other hand it also makes so many tasty treats!! From candy to taffee, tea, juice, lotions and potions; you can basically find anything made out of the coca plant. Widely used in Peru as a home remedy for altitude sickness, it can really be used for anything. Coca is so popular in Peru, there are even museums dedicated to the plant! Be careful bringing some items home, don’t forget, it is made from the cocaine plant.