One of the best things about traveling is the souvenirs you get to collect from the different
places you visit, and when the place happens to be Peru, you’re in for a treat. The South
American country has some of the most unique and exciting souvenirs to offer to travelers.
Here are a few items that you must buy during your trip to Peru.
When you think of trekking in the Peruvian landscape, one thing instantly comes to mind: the beloved alpaca. The animal is found all across the country and is a living trademark of the place. It’s also a beloved animal for the Peruvian textile industry which uses alpaca wool to produce sweaters, scarves, hats, shawls, blankets, and other clothing items.
You’ll find plenty of shops selling alpaca clothing during your trip to Cusco Peru. From street vendors and small-scale tourist stores to boutiques, alpaca clothing is easily available. It makes for a wonderful souvenir considering that the wool used is soft, lightweight, skin-friendly, and cooler than other wool types. You can also opt for alpaca clothing items that use different blends of fabrics if you don’t want to invest in 100% baby alpaca wool products that are significantly more expensive.
Another classic Peruvian souvenir is the Chullo hat. This is an Andean-style hat that is made with brightly colored llama, vicuña, sheep, or alpaca wool. It typically has earflaps that can be tied under the chin, keeping the hat firmly in place.
Chullo hats are worn by locals and tourists alike. The bright colors and patterns in the hat design allow them to be used as stylish accessories. Moreover, since they’re made using wool, they’re especially helpful on cold Andean nights.
How to recognize the real alpaca fiber?
Recognizing genuine alpaca fiber can be challenging, as it is often imitated or blended with other materials. However, there are some key characteristics and tests you can use to help identify authentic alpaca fiber:
Touch and Feel:Alpaca fiber is incredibly soft and luxurious to the touch. Run your fingers through the material; if it feels soft, silky, and smooth, it may be alpaca.
Warmth:Alpaca fiber is known for its excellent insulating properties. It is warmer than sheep’s wool and yet lightweight. If a garment feels exceptionally warm without being heavy, it might contain alpaca.
Look for Labeling:Check the product label. Many genuine alpaca products are labeled as such. Look for terms like “100% Alpaca” or “Alpaca Wool.”
Fiber Length:Alpaca fiber is long and fine. It is typically longer and more delicate than sheep’s wool. When examining the fabric or yarn, check the length of the individual fibers.
Color Range:Alpaca fiber comes in various natural colors, including white, fawn, brown, and black. However, it can also be dyed into a wide range of colors. Genuine alpaca products may feature these natural shades.
Softness vs. Coarseness:Alpaca fiber is softer than many other animal fibers, such as sheep’s wool or cashmere. If a product feels coarser than you’d expect from an alpaca, it might not be genuine.
Price:While not foolproof, price can be an indicator. Authentic alpaca products are typically more expensive than synthetic or blended products.
Burn Test:If you have a small sample of the fiber, you can perform a burn test. Alpaca is a protein fiber and will smell like burnt hair when exposed to an open flame. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, will smell like burning plastic.
Water Test:Place a small piece of the fabric in water for a few minutes. Alpaca should absorb water slowly and not float. Synthetic materials may repel water.
If you’re musically inclined, there’s no better souvenir than an authentic Peruvian instrument. Peru has a vibrant culture that borrows from the Spanish, African, and Andean traditions. These influences are observed in Peruvian music as well which is a treat to listen to.
You’ll find plenty of stores selling classic Peruvian instruments such as wooden flutes, zamponas, Bombo drums, or charangos. Pick your favorite one to take back home!
Andean Soul Adventures provides a range of tourist packages in Cusco and other sites in Peru. Learn more about their tourist packages for Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco City, and other areas by getting in touch with their team today.