One of the most visited neighborhoods of Cuzco, San Blas is famous for many things. There, were born Cuzco’s master craftsmen among the narrow streets with surprising names in Quechua that almost no one can memorize. It is where many people get turned around as if in a labyrinth that traps them with its spells. But that is not all. One of the most visited attractions in San Blas is its public market.
San Blas is not only popular for its narrow streets with charming colonial houses, the warmth and friendliness of its people, nor for the wide range of visitors it attracts, its market also draws visitors and speaks for itself.
It is found just a block from the main square of San Blas, its plazoleta and has the same name as the neighborhood. The Tanda Tapada street takes us to it.
For people used to super markets with their intense lights, cash registers, and rows and rows of packaged food, the San Blas market is a bit of a surprise with its women sitting surrounded by piles of vegetables, fruit, spices, nuts, cheese, or other kinds of food.
Not only can you find ingredients for making food in San Blas’ Market but also prepared food. From very early in the morning the women, we call them caseras, await us with delicious breakfasts. At midday they offer us traditional lunches. And they also have vegetarian offerings for those who prefer something more healthy. This is a market place shared by all.
One of the best things about a vsit to this market is to be able to speak with the caseras. They are enchanting and fascinating. They steal your heart in the way they talk with you. They are always charismatic and willing to converse. Both local people and tourists go there to ask for information and to just talk. They show people respect and demonstrate important things like ayni (our major value, reciprocity) in the way their interactions with their companions and with clients.
In San Blas the party begins early, around 5 am approximately, when the doors of the market open to receive the people of the neighborhood and visiting tourists.
This market is a place where locals and tourists can easily interact, each learns from the other by trading stories and life experiences. There is nothing better than to lear from other cultures and the fascinating histories they carry within them as you are having breakfast or taking lunch in one of the caseras’ stands.
Besides being popular, the Market of San Blas offers warm hospitality to visitors who are passing through the city. It is the only market that truly embraces you with its warmth and the friendliness of the caseras as well as the wide variety of visitors. They come from all over the world.