Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Toil and trouble: touring Peru's witches market

Underneath the Gamarra station in central Lima, you'll find snakes, frogs and charms for what ails you

1 of 8

Mario Gonzales arranges a boa constrictor at his stand. Gonzales sells jars of boa constrictor fat, left, that are used to relieve arthritic pain.

Jody Kurash/AP

2 of 8

Maria Rios organizes a display of candles. Rios, originally from Iquitos in the Amazon jungle, sells candles and natural perfumes. The perfumes are formulated from a recipe that has been handed down for generations.

Jody Kurash/AP

3 of 8

Beatrice Torre sells items made from huayruro hembra and el macho, which are bright red and black Amazonian seeds.

Jody Kurash/AP

4 of 8

A frog is seared in a pan at the stand of Mario Lopez. He makes a folk cure from frogs that is purported to cure respiratory problems, impotence and anemia, and work as an aphrodesiac.

Jody Kurash/AP

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 8

Mario Lopez pours a freshly mixed folk cure made from live frogs into a strainer.

Jody Kurash/AP

6 of 8

A bin of hatun hampi: The mixture is made of various elements of the Peruvian terrain including seeds, vegetables, dirt, minerals and spices. It is used in ceremonies as an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth).

Jody Kurash/AP

7 of 8

A dried reptile sits on a bottle of natural perfume at Maria Rios’s. Her perfumes are alleged to attract money, find true love or ensure health.

Jody Kurash/AP

8 of 8

Fernando Naveda, right, discusses the merits of a perfume mixture with its creator Maria Rios at the witches market.

Jody Kurash/AP

Report an error
Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.