Peru is a country that’s famous for the rich diversity of its land, flora and fauna. Travelers to Peru soon find that the country has a widely diverse choice of souvenirs to take home, too. In fact there’s so much to choose from that souvenir shopping in Peru can get out of hand. Many a traveler has found themselves purchasing an extra suitcase just to carry home all their souvenirs!
Every place you travel to in Peru will have an offering of souvenirs that are typical of that place. There are many handcrafted and artisanal items to choose from. If you’re traveling in the rainforest and jungles, you may find dried and mounted insects, lizards or frogs available for purchase. Make sure that you check regulations – some people have made purchases only to later find that the items are illegal, because of the creature’s endangered status.
When traveling to the Andes, you’ll find many examples of handmade goods, crafted from alpaca wool. The wool of the alpaca is one of the warmest known, and the wool is exceptionally soft. It makes fabulous sweaters, hoodies and hats, the latter known colloquially as chullos (pronounced CHOO-yo). The wool is also woven into magnificently colored blankets, rugs and wall hangings. Of course, alpaca is also a food source, and the skins are used to make exquisitely soft fur throws and rugs. You can even find stuffed animals made from real alpaca fur.
You should never purchase anything that is an archeological type item. Textiles, earthen ware and other items that have been stolen from primitive graves are sometimes illegally offered on black markets. While there are many replica items available to purchase at the markets, be wary of anyone who says that an item is authentic. You can get into serious trouble for trying to take anything of this sort out of the country.
While purchasing items as you travel can be fun, if you’re doing a lot of traveling you might not want to carry everything around with you. If that’s the case, you can do all of your souvenir shopping in Lima. There are several mercados indios (Indian Markets) where items from around the country are offered for sale. The best known is in Miraflores, Lima’s shopping and tourist district. The market is actually a strip of markets, on Av. Petit Thouars from block 52 through block 55. The markets are quite extensive and offer souvenir items imported from all over. There are many unique items to be found, as well as the more generic and mass marketed tourist items.
Besides handcrafted and artisanal items, you’ll also find paintings and other types of artwork. You’ll most likely find the prices to be quite reasonable. Because there is so much competition, you don’t need to worry too much about being over charged. However, it is accepted practice to haggle a bit, and to ask for a discount when making multiple purchases.
If you’re looking for more upscale items, go a block west to Av. Larco and follow it down to the coastal cliffs where you’ll find the LarcoMar entertainment and shopping complex. Here, you’ll find the very finest in jewelry and goods made of alpaca wool and leather.
Whether you buy your souvenirs on the road during your travels or come back to Lima to shop ’til you drop, you’ll not be disappointed with souvenir shopping in Peru.