Lima is the clearinghouse for handicrafts produced in places like Huancayo and Ayacucho and sold with a considerable markup. There is a huge range, from cheap tourist-oriented items to boutique shops, but bargaining is always an option.
Several American-style malls have been built in Lima, most notably the cliffside Larcomar at the end of Avenida Larco and under the Parque Salazar.
In Pueblo Libre, an excellent crafts markets with a cause is La Casa de la Mujer Artesana Manuela Ramos (Juan Pablo Fernandini 1550, 15th block of Brasil, Pueblo Libre, tel. 01/423-8840, www.casadelamujerartesana.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.). Proceeds from this market benefit women’s programs across Peru.
The largest crafts markets are in Miraflores on blocks 52 and 54 on Petit Thouars. Market after market is filled with alpaca clothing, silver jewelry, ceramics, and textiles from all over the country. Mercado Indio (Petit Thouars 5245) and Indian Market (Petit Thouars 5321) are the best of the lot, with nicely presented stalls and wide selections.
Nearby is a Manos Peruanas (Plaza Artesanal, Petit Thouars 5411, tel. 01/242-9726, 10:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily), with a contemporary line of handcrafted silver earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Other huge, cheap crafts markets are Feria Artesanal on Avenida Marina on the way to the airport (every taxi knows it) or in central Lima across from Iglesia Santo Domingo, at the intersection of Camaná and Superunda.
Miraflores’s other main shopping strips are in the area next to Parque Kennedy that includes La Paz, Schell, and Diez Canseco Streets. The reasonably priced Hecho a Mano (Diez Canseco 298) has a high-quality selection of crafts from all parts of Peru, especially Ayacucho.
Another plaza at Diez Canseco 380 is filled with jewelry shops, and a wide selection of baby alpaca sweaters can be found at Diez Canseco 378.
For a more upmarket shopping experience, visit the hugely popular Larcomar (Malecón de la Reserva 610, www.larcomar.com), an elegant open-air mall dug under Miraflores’s Parque Salazar and perched over the ocean. Upscale alpaca clothing stores (the finest of which is Alpaca 111, www.alpaca111.com), cafés, a sushi restaurant, bars, a disco, and a 12-screen cinema are just a few of the businesses here.
An excellent place for high-quality jewelry, alpaca clothing, textiles, and creative gifts is Peru ArtCrafts (Malecón de la Reserva 610, Larcomar, www.peruartcrafts.com).
The most sophisticated range of handicrafts in Lima can be found in Barranco. Las Pallas (Cajamarca 212, tel. 01/477-4629, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is a high-end gallery with exquisite Amazon textiles, tapestries, and carved gourds from Huancayo, as well as colonial ceramics from Cusco. Prices run US$30–800.
Another good option for high-end crafts and art is Dédalo (Saenz Pena 295, Barranco, tel. 01/477-0562, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sun.).
Unique art and antiques from all over the world can be found at San Francisco Gallery of Art (Plaza San Francisco 208, tel. 01/477-0537, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 3:30–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.).
Expensive gifts, including jewelry and purses, are sold in the courtyard. For Ayacucho crafts, try Museo-Galería Popular de Ayacucho (Pedro de Osma 116, tel. 01/246-0599).
Sáenz Peña is the street for contemporary art. There are numerous galleries, whose work is mostly modern and anything from paintings to photography to sculpture.
Check out Lucía de la Puente Galeria de Arte (Sáenz Peña 206, tel. 01/477-9740, www.gluciadelapuente.com), in a large, old mansion, PPPP Design (Grau 810, tel. 01/247-7976), or Yvonne Sanguineti (Grau 810, tel. 01/477-0519, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.).
If you need to buy outdoor gear, you will pay a premium in Peru and your only options are Lima, Huaraz, and Cusco. Varying qualities of white gas, or bencina blanca, can be bought at hardware stores across Peru, so test your stove before you depart. Gas canisters are available only at specialty outdoor stores.
Miraflores has several stores: Alpamayo (Larco 345, tel. 01/445-1671, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) sells tents, backpacks, sleeping mats, boots, rock shoes, climbing gear, water filters, MSR stoves, and more.
Similar items are found at Camping Center (Benavides 1620 Miraflores, tel. 01/242-1779, www.campingperu.com, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Sat.) and Mountain Worker (Centro Comercial Camino Real, A-17 in basement, tel. 01/421-2175).
Todo Camping E.I.R.L. (Angamos Oeste 350, tel. 01/242-1318, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) also sells more technical equipment like crampons and higher-end fuel stoves.
The best bookstore in central Lima is El Virrey (Paseo los Escribanos 115, tel. 01/427-5080, www.elvirrey.com, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. and 1:30–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.). If you are looking for specialty books in science, history, or sociology, this is the place to find them. The store also has shops in San Isidro (Miguel Dasso 141, tel. 01/440-0607, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) and at Larcomar in Miraflores (tel. 01/445-6883, noon–9 p.m. daily).
Additionally, there are several bookstores, or librerías, in Miraflores with good English and other foreign language sections.
(Angamos Oeste 301, tel. 01/241-8490, www.sbs.com.pe, 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) has the best collection of English-language guidebooks. Its storefront on Parque Kennedy goes by the name Ibero Librería (Larco 199, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) and it has an excellent selection of English-language books as well as a helpful staff.
Crisol (Santa Cruz 816, Óvalo Gutierrez, tel. 01/221-1010, www.crisol.com.pe, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily) is a huge, glassy bookshop in the same mall as the Cineplant Alcázar.
Other options are Zeta (Comandante Espinar 219, tel. 01/446-5139, www.zetabook.com, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., also at Lima airport) and Delta Bookstore Librería (Larco 970, tel. 01/445-8825, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.).
International newspapers are available from Miraflores street vendors in front of Café Haiti by Parque Kennedy.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition