Get Updates by Email

Catch up in your inbox.

Us ⤵
Photo of Lauren and Todd

Lauren's the writing shutterbug. Todd's the artist. Together we have a bit of wanderlust. Learn more...

Travel Stories

Peru’s finest petting zoo. No…wait.

March 22, 2013 by Lauren in Travel Stories with 4 Comments

There’s more to getting lunch at Arequipa, Peru‘s largest market than just showing up and finding the most popular and promising food stall. You really need to be careful which route you take through the market’s many aisles.

What you should not do, under any circumstances, is start your visit to Mercado San Camilo by walking up the stairs to the balcony that wraps around the second floor of the market.

Climbing stairs, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo

Climbing with a heavy burden.

From the balcony, you can get a view of the entire market.

Resting up, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru


Including a view of the meat section.

Heaving meat, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru


The raw meat section.

Tearing at meat parts, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo


Which is surprisingly clean and organized, considering all the meaty tidbits being flung about.

Sorting meats, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo


But still an awfully unsettling scene to an empty stomach, especially when viewed from above.

Arequpia’s San Camilo Market is sprawling. But you have to read “sprawling” with a slow southern drawl, dragging out the word so long that it violates the time-space continuum. C’mon, say it with me—


Hidden in the second floor is a small live meat market where you can buy live guinea pigs to take home for dinner. The cuy were plump and healthy, nibbling and squeaking the last of their days away.

Guinea pigs for sale, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo

Guinea pigs, it’s what’s for dinner

But, they won’t sell you dogs or cats. Somehow that would be taking things too far.

Animales Vivos, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo

Prohibido la venta de perros y gatos

Chicken, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo


We never managed to sit down for lunch at San Camilo Market. We’d seen much much too much.

Eating chicharron, Mercado San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru photo


Tagged , , ,

You may also like


  1. jillApr 9, 2013Reply

    There was this part of Cuzco market where there are stalls after stalls selling fresh juice. We go there every morning. Unfortunately it borders the meat section. It was such a weird experience sipping our morning juice and seeing a pig carcass being sawed into 2.

    • LaurenJul 15, 2013ReplyAuthor

      Seeing AND hearing and smelling the pig carcass being sawed in two, I bet!

      The things you get used to while traveling…

  2. ArianwenApr 10, 2013Reply

    This looks interesting. When I was in Arequipa, I totally missed the market. I must’ve been visiting Colca Canyon at the time. It’s a shame because I was also too late for the animal market part of Otovalo in Ecuador. Looking at some of those photos, perhaps it’s for the best!

    • LaurenJul 15, 2013ReplyAuthor

      I like to imagine being someone who shops at one of the markets I visit when I travel, and think about what they would think of an American mega-grocery store, with our individually shrink-wrapped bananas and heavily processed “food products.”

      Now THAT’s weird!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book Hostels Online Now Pimsleur Spanish Blue 125x125button Shop at UtrechtArt.com for Quality Art Supplies for Less Equal Exchange, Inc


Must-Have Travel Gear

When you click links to other sites, we may get a tiny bit of money, which won't increase your price yet supports our blogging costs. We always disclose freebies or compensation we get when we post about it. Much to some people's dismay, we're always honest. Advertise with us >