Arequipa Juice Ladies


Cathy Fulton

Ever feel intimidated by the Peruvian markets? Learn how to order a fresh juice and become a regular.

One of the highlights of the San Camillo market in Arequipa, is the long line of women (about 50 stalls!) selling just about any kind of smoothie or juice you can imagine. Along with the Seccion Fruitas (Fruit Section), the Seccion Jugos is the most colorful part of the market. The women stand in elevated stalls and encourage you to come over, sit down and order.

(Photo: Cathy Fulton)

If you find it hard to decide which stall to patronize, choose the one that has the friendliest face. A bigger problem is figuring out what to order. 'œWhy,' you ask, 'œis it so hard to decide?' Well, take a look at the menu. What would you choose?

(Photo: Cathy Fulton)

Someday I am going to try one that includes cerveza like Ponche de Cerveza (Beer, milk, egg, honey, maca, and algarrobina). I am not sure, but it sounds like some kind of hangover remedy. Maca is a root vegetable in the radish family, sometimes called Peruvian ginseng, that is native to the high Andes. It is eaten for its vitamins B, C, and E; and for health benefits such as increasing stamina, curing acne, and alleviating mood swings. Oh, it is also an aphrodisiac and relieves erotic dysfunction.

Algarrobina is a sweet syrup made from the black carob tree and is high in vitamins and minerals. It is often used in smoothies and cocktails and tastes kind of like molasses. Again, it is also known for its ability to alleviate erotic dysfunction. Are we seeing a pattern here?

Whatever you choose, be prepared to get your money's worth. For example, at first glance, the price of say jugo de naranja of S/6 may seem a bit steep compared to other food costs you may have seen in Peru, but you get about a half-liter'”6 or 7 oranges worth'”of juice. Bring a friend to help you drink it!

The juices are served in real glasses and you sit on little stools to enjoy your drink. As you near the bottom of the glass, be prepared for your hostess to empty the rest of the blender jar's contents into your glass. If it is too much for you to drink in one sitting, you can bring your own bottle to be filled.
Each juice lady has her regular customers. Many people stop by with newspapers in hand and read the day's news while sipping. If you return a couple more times, your juice lady will greet you with special smiles and it won't be long before she remembers your regular order.

To find Arequipa's San Camillo Market, from the southeast corner of the Plaza de Armas, walk 2 blocks east on Santo Domingo and then 2 blocks south on Calle Piérola. The juice stalls are located inside on the eastern side of the market.

Cathy Fulton is a somewhat nomadic US citizen who has spent two (southern-hemisphere) summers in Peru. She enjoys staying in one place for one to two months savoring the local way of life, getting to know locals, hiking, and exploring the food and fiber. You can read more about her Peruvian slow travel experiences here .