The Peruvian capital has the greatest variety of shopping in the country, from tiny boutiques to handicraft and antiques shops. Although shopping at markets in sierra villages and buying direct from artisans in the highlands or on the islands of Lake Titicaca are superior cultural experiences, don’t discount the fact that, unless you ship the loot home, you’ll most likely have to lug it back to Lima. In Lima, you can find traditional handicrafts from across Peru; prices are not usually that much higher, and the selection might be even better than in the regions where the items are made. One exception is fine alpaca goods, which are better purchased in the areas around Cusco, Titicaca, and Arequipa, both in terms of price and selection.
Miraflores is where most shoppers congregate, although there are also several outlets in Lima Centro and elsewhere in the city; Barranco is also growing as a shopping destination with many independent boutiques. Most shops are open daily from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3 to 8pm.
Antiques & Jewelry
Look for silver jewelry and antiques along Avenida La Paz in Miraflores. In particular, there’s a little pedestrian-only passageway at Av. La Paz 646 that’s lined with well-stocked antiques shops, many with nice religious art, including La Línea del Tiempo (tel. 01/241-5461). Other Miraflores antiques shops include La Relique, Prado 187 (tel. 01/9647-2299) and Kerubin, Ugarte 233 (www.elkerubin.com; tel. 01/241-9191). Another great shop is La Casa Azul, Alfonso Ugarte 150 (tel. 01/446-6380), which specializes in colonial furniture, religious art, and other fantastic decorative pieces. The friendly owners can help arrange shipping and assist with getting export approval for especially valuable pieces.
Ilaria, Av. Larco 1325 in Miraflores (www.ilariainternational.com; tel. 01/444-2347), as well as in the Larcomar and Jockey Plaza shopping centers, is the granddaddy of Peruvian silver stores. With dozens of shops across the country, it’s tops in terms of design in elegant silver art objects, jewelry, and decorative items. Many designs are based on traditional, antique Peruvian designs.
Lorena Pestana at Av. Borgoño 770 (www.lorenapestana.pe; tel. 01/446-4033) spent time in a small Amazonian village studying weaving and handicraft techniques, as well as the ancestral art of the Chavin culture, all of which she uses as inspiration. Many of the creative pieces pair silver with organic materials such as feathers or seashells.
Additional platerías and joyerías (silver and jewelry shops) worth a visit are El Tupo, La Paz 553, Miraflores (www.eltupo.com.pe; tel. 01/444-1511) and in downtown Lima, Joyería Gold/Gems Perú, Pasaje Santa Rosa 119 (tel. 01/426-7267), which stocks Colombian emeralds and fashionable, inexpensive Italian steel jewelry.
High-end designers are mostly found in independent storefronts in San Isidro, especially along Avenida Conquistadores, which is the closest thing Lima has to a Rodeo Drive. The sister of fashion photographer Mario, designer Giuliana Testino has a showroom at Av. Pérez Araníbar 2132 in San Isidro (www.giulianatestino.com; tel. 01/264-3874), where she sells items from some of her most recent collections of upscale women’s wear. Sumy Kujon’s creations, which often blend her Chinese-Peruvian heritage, are seen on runways from New York to Paris, but in Lima you can visit her at her San Isidro boutique, inside of a residential building at Av. Pardo y Aliaga 382 #301 (www.sumykujon.com; tel. 01/441-9106). In an adobe house from the 1900s at Atahualpa 479 in Miraflores, Alessandra Petersen (www.alessandrapetersen.com; tel. 01/242-5374) sells original dresses and jackets, mostly using natural materials such as Peruvian pima cotton, alpaca wool, and silk.
Shoemaker Botería Negreiros, at Calle Las Casas 041 in San Isidro (tel. 01/442-0599), makes and sells a variety of leather boots and sandals for women, including knee-high equestrian and Hiram Bingham–style boots. With notice, the retailer can even create custom shoes based on designs you pick. You can also find stylish, handmade shoes for men at La Zapateria, at 28 De Julio 206a in Barranco.
Handicrafts & Textiles
Miraflores is home to the lion’s share of Lima’s well-stocked shops, which overflow with handicrafts from around Peru, including weavings, ceramics, and silver. Several dozen large souvenir and handicrafts shops are clustered on and around Avenida Ricardo Palma (a good one is Artesanías Miraflores, no. 205) and on Avenida Petit Thouars (try Artesanía Expo Inti, no. 5495). Indigo, Av. El Bosque no. 260, San Isidro (www.galeriaindigo.com.pe; tel. 01/440-3099) is one of Lima’s top handicrafts and gift stores, with thoughtfully selected original designs from most regions across Peru. You’ll find items here that you won’t find in the big, multi-booth markets. Handicrafts shops elsewhere in Miraflores include Agua y Tierra, Diez Canseco 298 (tel. 01/445-6980), and Silvania Prints, Diez Canseco 378 (www.silvaniaperu.com; tel. 01/242-0667).
For fine alpaca goods, head to Kuna, Av. Larco 671, Miraflores (tel. 01/447-1623), one of the most original and highest-quality purveyors of all things alpaca, with excellent contemporary designs for men and women. Other locations include the Larcomar shopping mall, the Larco Herrera museum, and the Westin. Other alpaca shops include Alpaca Mon Repos, Centro Comercial Camino Real (tel. 01/221-5331); Alpaca Peru, Diez Canseco 315 (tel. 01/241-4175); and All Alpaca, Av. Schell 375 (tel. 01/427-4704). Also, be on the lookout for high-end alpaca knitware from Ayni (http://ayni.com.pe), which can be found in the MATE museum gift shop and elsewhere.
For artisan furniture and decorative art objects skillfully handcrafted from wood, don’t miss Artesanos Don Bosco, Av. San Martín 135 (www.artesanosdonbosco.org; tel. 01/265-8480), which recently opened a storefront/gallery in Barranco in a beautiful 19th-century casona. A nonprofit organization begun by an Italian priest in the Andes near Huaraz, in north-central Peru, these artisans (trained in poor, remote highlands communities) create extraordinary, unique pieces, with a tongue-and-groove technique and many with curved forms. Each piece is the work, start to finish, of a single artisan. The organization operates a charity promoting development efforts among indigenous communities throughout the Americas.
One of the largest shops, which stocks a huge range of Peruvian handicrafts from all over the country, is Peru Artcrafts in the Larcomar shopping mall, Malecón de la Reserva 610 (tel. 01/446-5429). Although it’s considerably more expensive than other shops (all prices are in dollars), it’s perhaps the best for last-minute and one-stop shopping. A giant artesanía market with dozens of stalls is the Mercado Indio, Av. Petit Thouars 5245 (at General Vidal), Miraflores. (In fact, almost all of Avenida Petit Thouars, from Ricardo Palma to Vidal, is lined with well-stocked handicrafts shops.) For most visitors to Lima, this is one-stop shopping for Peruvian handcrafts, arts, gifts, and souvenirs from around the country. Another good spot for handicrafts from around Peru, in Lima Centro, is the Santo Domingo artesanía arcades, across the street from the Santo Domingo convent on Conde de Superunda and Camaná.
In Barranco, the finest upscale purveyor of crafts and home furnishings is Dédalo, Saenz Peña 295 (tel. 01/477-0562). If you arrive here around midday and hungry, you’ll be happy to find a little cafe out back in the garden, serving salads, sandwiches, and tamales. A superb selection of folk art and handicrafts from across Peru can be found at Las Pallas, Cajamarca 212 (tel. 01/477-4629); the owner, a British woman named Mari Solari, has been collecting Peruvian folk art for 3 decades and displays it all in several rooms of her fine Barranco house.
Markets & Malls
Lima Centro’s crowded Mercado Central (Central Market), open daily from 8am to 5pm, is south of the Plaza Mayor, at the edge of Chinatown. You’ll find just about everything there, but you should take your wits and leave your valuables at home. The Feria Artesanal (Artisans’ Market, occasionally called the Mercado Indio, or Indian Market, but not to be confused with the Mercado Indio in Miraflores) has a wide variety of handicrafts of varying quality, but at lower prices than most tourist-oriented shops in Lima Centro or Miraflores (quality might also be a bit lower than at those shops). Haggling is a good idea. The large market is located on Avenida de la Marina (blocks 6–10) in Pueblo Libre and is open daily from noon to 8pm. Small handicrafts markets, open late to catch the bar and post-dinner crowds, are situated in the main squares in both Miraflores and Barranco.
One of my favorite markets in Lima is the fascinating and diverse Mercado de Surquillo (Avenida Paseo de la Republica at Ricardo Palma, Miraflores/Surquillo), where Limeños and many of the top chefs in town go to get fresh produce, seafood, meats, and a wide array of kitchen implements. It’s a terrific food-shopping and cultural experience, and in recent years, several really nice food stands have opened in and around the market.
Jockey Plaza Mall (tel. 01/437-4100) is a modern, American-style shopping mall—the biggest and best in Lima—with department stores, restaurants, movie theaters, a supermarket, and some 200 exclusive shops, plus bars and a food truck court. It’s next to the Jockey Club of Peru at Hipódromo de Monterrico, at the intersection of Javier Prado and Avenida Panamericana Sur in Surco. Most stores are open daily from 11am to 9pm. Centro Comercial Larcomar (tel. 01/445-7776) in Miraflores, along the malecón and Parque Salazar (near the Marriott hotel), is one of the swankiest malls in Lima, with a slew of restaurants, movie theaters, and upscale shops overlooking the ocean. It’s open daily from 10am to 8pm and is a weekend destination for many Limeños.
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