A visit to any country is never complete without a good old trip to the local marketplace. The allure that comes in finding knick-knacks, exotic foods, and perusing the visual display of products is never lost. Below you will find a detailed description of the five best markets in Lima.
Whether it’s a food market, an artisan market, or just the best of the best the country has to offer, it never loses its quaint charm and makes for a memorable and fun shopping experience.
In the heart of Miraflores, the tourist district, you can find this market that boasts handcrafted objects and typical Peruvian souvenirs. Some of them include traditional textiles, Inca style jewelry, Peru’s famous alpaca scarves, and shawls, Pisco, and much more. When it comes to souvenirs, this is one of the best markets in Lima.
This gift shopping zone is a great place to go to if you are looking to bring a few remembrances of Peru to the folk back home.
Try putting those haggling skills to good use as the shopkeepers oftentimes demand steep prices for their goods. With a winning smile and a bit of persuasion, you are sure to leave with your bags full.
This food hot spot is one of the best markets in Lima. Walking through, you can see a vast array of local vegetables you probably never heard of, dry goods, meat and poultry, spices and many other rare food gems that can only be found in such a place as this.
They also have a section in the centre of their market where little food kiosks prepare fresh seafood dishes with the daily catch and menu style food (a typical combo meal that includes a starter, a main, and a drink) for very cheap prices.
Organized walking tours can be done through tour operators to this market and you get to see and taste the odd, the interesting and the exotic all around you.
This is an excellent way to experience the traditional food that comes out of Peru and perhaps take some back with you.
Unlike the previous two markets, Gamarra is fully dedicated to clothes. Don’t count on finding Alpaca clothes though as this market caters to Peruvians and thus sells tight dresses, sweaters, jeans, shoes, lingerie, … just everything. They literally have it all.
It is the place Peruvians go for some cheap shopping. Gamarra offers cheap alternatives from nameless brands but also sells knock-offs of your favourite brands for about 1/4th the price. At the centre of Gamarra there is a relatively small space where you can have delicious foods, including pork prepared on a Caja China, which is some sort of BBQ box. Whatever it is, it is godly.
Although the ultimate mekka for shopping, Gamarra comes with a label of its own … it is one of the busiest markets in Lima and on Saturdays it won’t take long before you crave your bed and some quiet.
Gamarra is well worth a trip from Miraflores and it doesn’t even take that long thanks to the electric train. A train ride from Cabitos station (go down Benavides Street to Ovalo Higuereta from Miraflores) to Gamarra station takes about 12 minutes and drops you right at the entrance.
Deep in the heart of Lima is this multi-storey market with everything and anything. Separated by sections, there is no end to what you can find in this place.
Some sections will take you through aisles of fruits, vegetables, the freshest seafood and hanging cuts of meat; another section will display a wide range of spices and dry goods while yet other sections will bring you to anything related to office and school materials.
The surrounding area outside of the market is just as packed and crazy with vendors selling everything from cheap kitchenware, to shoes and even electronics.
If you dare to brave the throngs of local people that crowd to this market, and don’t mind the heavy bustle of activity then it’s not one to miss and will certainly be a great day for exploration.
This commercial centre was once dedicated to the Black Market trade of dodgy products, some contraband, and resold goods. Nowadays not much has changed.
You can find hundreds of stores offering everything from clothes to shoes to electronics and it attracts people from every social strata for its wide variety in products and also for its great bargain deals.
Most shop keepers will tell you straight up if an item is original or a knock off, and once you decide on the kind of thing you want to buy, you can let the haggling begin, although they can prove to be a tough crowd.
They also have a huge electronics section of phones, TV’s and other electronic devices that is worth checking out, although I wouldn’t put it past them to be selling stolen goods.
If you are looking for a wilder shopping experience with the risk of getting lost in the endless aisles of goods, then this is perfect for you.
If you would like to think about what you would like to buy while you are visiting these markets, then check out our list of the 20 best gifts and souvenirs in Peru!
Nicola King is an Australian journalist that is travelling the world in search of good food, nice people and the best stories.