Machu Picchu Town – Central Market What do we find?

The Machu Picchu Town market is probably the most ignored place in the whole district also known as Aguas Calientes. Few tourists visit it and know everything that is on offer there. In this blog, we will explore the different options of this place and some details of its construction and start of operation. We will also see the impact it has on the population of more than 5,000 people. It will also be important to know everything that can be found. We already mentioned that it is an excellent option for those who want to make an economical trip and for those who want to stay longer in Machu Pichu. We will also know some other details that are left out during the tours to Machu Picchu.

Aguas Calientes central market (Machu Picchu Town)

A brief history of the Machu Picchu Town central market

People going to the market of Machu Pichu Pueblo

Machu Picchu Town has an incredible history even before its discovery. Machu Picchu (archaeological site) was discovered in 1911, but before that, in 1907 the project to expand the railroad branches to connect the provinces of Cusco and Quillabamba was accepted. After this, in 1914, the work began to be carried out. Little by little, the railroad tracks were expanded with the help of several workers. Some of them decided to settle in a small village that was enabled to keep the machines and construction materials. Little by little this small village began to be populated with the workers of the place, making its foundation on October 1, 1941. Since then, housing and other services have been growing. These days it manages to house a population of 5 347 inhabitants according to the last INEI census of 2018.

We can find a considerable population of people who decided to settle and make their lives in Machu Picchu Town. Since, it is also possible to find schools, colleges, and different recreational areas, dedicated to the general population of this place. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the number of tourists that arrive daily. It is estimated that the approximate number maintains an average of 4044 daily visitors. This causes an important economic movement and job opportunities in Machu Picchu Town. That is why Aguas Calientes, the name also given to this district, offers services intimately dedicated to tourism, although a large sector of the population can also live a normal life, away from tourism.

On the other hand, and as already mentioned, there is a population dedicated to working in different tourist services offered. This is an important number of people who live in this district. They practically stay in the district for long periods per month. These people require cheaper services and also, surely, day-to-day products, specially referred to as food. Normally they are the ones who will visit the Machu Picchu Town Central Market, although anyone could do it.

As in most districts in Peru, you can find good prices in the Central Markets and Machu Picchu Town is no exception. We will detail all of this below. It is also worth mentioning that it is not only an option for the villagers, but also for the general public. The Central Market is an excellent option for those who wish to have a more economical option when visiting the wonder of the world. It can also be a special destination for people who decide to stay and need to buy some necessities. They can even find new ones there.

What will we find?

Vegetables and fruits that you will find at the market

In the market of Machu Picchu Town, we can find necessities. It will highlight the presence of fruits, a variety of tubers, vegetables, and more. The price will be higher than normal, but it will not be as drastic as in the other services. On the other hand, it is also possible to find food services such as breakfast and lunch. It is a place where you can save considerably compared to other services offered throughout Machu Picchu Town. If you are looking for an economical option for food in Machu Picchu, this place is an excellent choice.

The location of the Machu Picchu Town Central Market is on Imperio de los Incas Avenue number 603. To get there, you will have to climb some steps. Or simply cross the bridge of this district. A simple way to get there is from the bus station, where you only have to climb a few steps and you will arrive. It is also possible to arrive simply through the main square of the district, just by the street that connects with the thermal baths, you have to turn to the right. Take a few more steps and you will have arrived at the back.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that the market began its operation in 1990. Little by little the facilities were improved and today it has 95 active stalls. That is to say, it is in perfect operation. Therefore, it is possible to find a great variety of products. Likewise, it is worth mentioning that the products found in this place often have a lower cost. Those who want to save on their trip to Machu Picchu will have to consider visiting this place almost obligatory.

  • Supply sales – As mentioned in its name, it is possible to find various food and grocery products. That is to say, you can find a variety of prices in rice, sugar, milk, oatmeal, potatoes, fruit, and other products. During some seasons of the year, it is possible to find some fruits of the region such as avocado and passion fruit. Some farmers are encouraged to leave their products at a good price. You will also find personal care or toiletries. In case you have a kitchen or something similar, you can also find a variety of meats, cheeses, sausages, and many other products. Something that is probably not well known is that you can buy clothes in this establishment.
  • Breakfasts – Something that cannot be missed at the beginning of the day is the excellent nutritious breakfasts. Hot drinks are offered based on maca, amaranth, quinoa, barley, and other grains of great nutritional value and that have been inherited to date. These foods were and are native to the place, and were also the main source of food for the civilizations of the past. These breakfasts are served with small sandwiches, also economical, filled with cheese, fried egg, avocado, and other options. For those who want something more elaborate, you can also find powerful breakfasts such as broths, second courses of lomo saltado, Milanese, grilled chicken, and many more options.
  • Lunch – After visiting the wonder of the world, an excellent option to have lunch and save money is to go to the Machu Picchu Town Central Market. This place has a space dedicated to the sale of lunches, where you can also find other options such as the preparation of special dishes and the like. The average cost of these lunches will not exceed 15 soles. It is possible to find the dish of the day or some dishes prepared a la carte, as in restaurants. But they are much more economical. Many national and foreign tourists opt for this option.
  • OthersAmong other services that can be found in the market, perhaps we should highlight the presence of toilets. Also the possibility of finding drinking water. In case you do not like snacks or similar foods. We recommend you to visit the Central Market, as we mentioned, there you will find a section selling fruits, usually bananas are offered more regularly and tangerines. In case you want something more refreshing and at the same time delicious, an excellent option is a glass of fruit juice. An option that can replace breakfast.
The handicrafts market
It is one of the most important services of Machu Picchu Town. It is located very close to the train station of the place. Likewise, it has a considerable size with different stalls distributed throughout the place. There you can find from clay pieces to silver and gold pieces. However, beware of some imitations or exaggerated prices. It is important to shop wisely and compare prices. You can also find other services such as some bank tellers or agents.

Who visits the Machu Picchu Town Market?

Buses going up to the archaeological site, in front of the Central Market

The visit to the market of supplies of Machu Picchu is allowed for all the people who wish it or are in search of some of the services that we detailed. Since the end of the COVID-19 measures, the doors are open to the public without any restriction. As for the influx of people, it is quite normal, few tourists enter the facilities of this place, but fortunately, it manages to generate a stable, continuous, and safe economic movement. This even though tourism as such does not have a strong impact on this market.

This is not bad news, on the contrary, it made possible the appearance of something that could be of more interest to tourists. Especially to foreign tourists, the handicrafts market. Although it has a similar space to the market, it generates more economic movement for the different souvenirs and other purchases that can be found among the various handicrafts. Likewise, the sale of some jewelry with Andean motifs was made possible, all of them in carved gold and silver pieces. Similarly, you can find some handmade Andean textiles, art pieces made by Cusquenian artists, and other crafts alluding to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Inca mythology. In case you do not wish to purchase these souvenirs and products, we recommend that you have or make, even if briefly, a tour of this place.

Market opening hours

Market on a not very busy day

A good news about the Mercado de Abastos that we will find on the trip to Machu Picchu. It is that they are enabled from an early, unlike other markets. The entrance hours can start minutes before 6 am. However, it is worth mentioning that there were some dates when it was possible to enter even from 5:00 in the morning. They are open all day and begin to close their doors at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Now that you know more about this market of Machu Picchu, I hope you can take a short walk, to eat a snack or find what you are missing in case you have any problems with your backpack, slippers or similar. You will probably find something that can solve the problem or at least give you some comfort, at least until you return to Cusco. Finally, remember that this is one of the places where you can find a cheaper lunch or breakfast.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, February 28, 2024

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