Even though most visitors to Chiclayo come for the surrounding ruins, it isn’t to say that the city itself is short on culture or sights. One of the best ways to experience the city is to wander the local markets, where the literal and symbolic colors of Peru can be found at every stall.
The most popular market is Mercado Modelo, where Chiclayo locals spend the mornings stocking up on produce and supplies. While the scene itself is authentic enough, the main draw of this central market is the section devoted to witchcraft. Within the sprawling Mercado Modelo, traditional healers and Peruvian shamans gather to practice their craft, and it’s just as easy to have your future told as it is to purchase dried snakes.
If the animals and potions are just a bit too much, head outside the city to Mercado Moshoqueque to feel the energy of everyday Chiclayo. This fast-paced market is Peru’s second largest, and simply wandering the market’s dusty alleyways, the smell of herbs and freshly cut produce wafting on the desert breeze, is as much of an authentic Chiclayo experience as visiting any museums or temples. For some artistic shopping and souvenirs, travel south of Chiclayo to Mercado Artesenal, where ceramics, weavings, baskets and straw hats highlight the traditional crafts.