Frommer's shopping in Peru

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The capital has the greatest variety of shopping in Peru, from tiny boutiques to artisan and antiques shops. Shopping at markets in sierra villages and buying direct from artisans on Lake Titicaca are better experiences, certainly, but don't discount the fact that, unless you ship the loot home, you'll most likely have to bring it back to Lima anyway. In Lima, you can find traditional handicrafts from across Peru; prices are not usually much higher, and the selection might be even better than in the regions where the items are made. One exception is alpaca goods, which are better purchased in the areas around Cusco, Puno, and Arequipa, in terms of both price and selection.

Miraflores is where most shoppers congregate, although there are also several outlets in Lima Centro and elsewhere in the city. Most shops are open from 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3 to 8pm. Most prices include an 19% sales tax, which, unfortunately, is refundable only on purchases made at the international departure lounge of Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Antiques & Jewelry
Look for silver jewelry and antiques along Avenida La Paz in Miraflores. Platerías and joyerías (silver and jewelry shops) worth a visit are Ilaria, Av. Larco 1325 (tel. 01/444-2347), and El Tupo, La Paz 553 (tel. 01/444-1511). In downtown Lima, Joyería Gold/Gems Perú, Pasaje Santa Rosa 119 (tel. 01/426-7267), stocks Colombian emeralds and fashionable, inexpensive Italian steel jewelry. Miraflores antiques shops include El Almacén de Arte, Francia 339 (tel. 01/445-6264), and Porta 735, Porta 735 (tel. 01/447-6158). A shop I particularly like 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 INC export approval for especially valuable pieces.

Handicrafts & Textiles
Miraflores houses the lion's share of Lima's well-stocked shops, which overflow with handicrafts from around Peru, including weavings, ceramics, and silver. A terrific shop with carefully chosen, unique items of artisanship is Killari, Alcanfores 699 (tel. 01/447-8684). Several dozen large souvenir and handicrafts shops are clustered on and around Avenida Ricardo Palma (a good one is Artesanías Miraflores, no. 205) and Avenida Petit Thouars (try Artesanía Expo Inti, no. 5495).

Handicrafts shops elsewhere in Miraflores include Agua y Tierra, Diez Canseco 298 (tel. 01/445-6980), and Silvania Prints, Diez Canseco 378 (tel. 01/242-0667). Alpaca sweaters and other items can be had at Alpaca 111, Av. Larco 671 (Larcomar shopping center; tel. 01/447-1623); Alpaca Peru, Diez Canseco 315 (tel. 01/241-4175); Mon Repos, Centro Comercial Camino Real (tel. 01/221-5331); and All Alpaca, Av. Schell 375 (tel. 01/427-4704). 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.

Another great 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 Miraflores, a giant artesanía market with dozens of stalls is the Mercado Indio, 5245 Av. Petit Thouars (at General Vidal). In fact, almost all of Av. Petit Thouars, from Ricardo Palma to Vidal, is lined with well-stocked handicrafts shops. For fine retablos and artisanship typical of Ayacucho (which produces some of Peru's most notable pieces), visit the Museo-Galería Popular de Ayacucho, Av. Pedro de Osma 116, Barranco (tel. 01/247-0599).

Markets & Malls
Lima Centro's crowded Mercado Central (Central Market) 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, also 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 market is located at Avenida de la Marina (blocks 6-10) in Pueblo Libre; it's open daily from noon to 8 p.m.

There are small handicrafts markets, open late to catch bar and post-dinner crowds, in the main squares in both Miraflores and Barranco. The Jockey Plaza Shopping Center (tel. 01/437-4100) is a modern American-style shopping mall -- the newest, biggest, and best in Lima -- with department stores, restaurants, movie theaters, a supermarket, and some 200 exclusive shops. It's located next to the Jockey Club of Peru at Hipódromo de Monterrico, at the intersection of Javier Prado and Avenida Panamericana Sur in Surco. It's open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Centro Comercial Larcomar (tel. 01/445-7776) in Miraflores along the malecón and Parque Salazar (near the Marriott hotel), is one of the swankest malls in Lima, with a slew of restaurants, movie theaters, and upscale shops overlooking the ocean.

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