A good market is a magical thing. The colors, sounds and smells can make you fall in love with a place faster than the sappiest Meg Ryan rom-com makes you fall in love with Tom Hanks. And Mercado Central de San Pedro in Peru’s ancient Incan capital, Cusco, is the Sleepless in Seattle of markets.
Mercado Central is the beating heart of the city, packed with food stalls and vendors selling everything from fresh sugar cane to hand-made sausage, as the sounds of pan flute punctuate the murmur of busy streets. While you’re getting swept up in the marvels of Cusco’s market culture, at some point you may find yourself wondering something like: is that a bag of bile? And the answer is usually: yes. So, to help you break down San Pedro market’s overwhelming array of vendors, we’ve put together this handy visual guide to everything from salted and dried alpaca to herbs used in ancient shaman rituals. Don’t worry, we got you.