Lima has a great collection of both traditional and modern souvenirs which can be found in the local markets and shopping malls. The most popular purchase in Lima is clothing as the city is home to all the well known Peruvian designers whose shops can be seen lining the streets in Miraflores and San Isidro. The ‘must see’ shopping mall is Larcomar because it is perched on a clifftop and has marvelous sea views and some of the city’s best restaurants.
All the world famous brands can be found in Lima at good prices – especially in the markets. Gamarra is the largest clothing market – 24 blocks of colorful stalls! If you like the Bohemian style, there are two really good monthly markets at Feria Cachinera and Feria Marciana – both in the Barranco district. If you are looking for small inexpensive Peruvian souvenirs for friends, there is a really good selection on sale at Mercado Indio.
So, have a look at the top 10 souvenirs to buy in Lima.
1. Admire the elegance of Chulucanas pottery
The technique for making this striking monochrome pottery is more than 4,000 years old. The black color of the lamps, jars, and vases gives the pieces a simple elegance and they are each decorated in white for maximum impact.
2. Ensure good luck with a Pucará Bull
These brightly colored models of bulls are very popular as good luck charms and given as a wedding gift they wish the newly married couple happiness and fertility. It is the custom to fix them on the rooftop of the newly-weds’ home.
3. Get ready for winter
The traditional hat from the Andes is the chullos which is a snug fitting hat with ear flaps that tie under the chin. Made from alpaca, llama or vicuna wool, a chullos is the perfect headgear for a winter’s day and as they are brightly colored and decorated, they are a fun winter cheer up! Alpaca jumpers, scarves, and blankets are all good buys as alpaca wool is very insulating, lightweight and hypoallergenic.
4. Cheers with some Peruvian liquor
The best-known liquor which is considered by many to be the national drink is Pisco. A Pisco Sour is the popular drink and it is a ‘must try’ as it is served topped with an egg white on top! Pisco is a good souvenir to pack in your suitcase as it can be used in a variety of cocktails.
5. Get musical with an Andean quena
Peru is well known for its very distinctive and haunting music. The unique sounds are produced using a variety of local instruments, in particular, the melodic quena – Andean flute. Other local instruments you will come across are the ten-stringed charango, cajÓn, and zampona which are pan pipes made from 11 graduated reeds.
6. Cherish some Andean chakana
This distinctive cross jewelry is very important to Andean people as it is a symbol of Incan cosmology as the chakana is found at many archaeological sites in Peru. Jewelry includes rings and pendants, but you will also find the chakana in textile designs.
7. Challenge yourself to get a gourd home
If you are looking for a really special souvenir of your time in Lima, and you have plenty of room in your suitcase, a carved gourd is the perfect solution! This handicraft, known as ‘mates burilados’ is more than 4,000 years old. There is a fascinating selection to choose from. Some of the gourds are decorated with relatively simple patterns, whilst others have been intricately carved to depict scenes from everyday life, history, and mythology.
8. Choose a traditional kero cup
This style of drinking cup has been used since the Incan civilization. Some kero cups are made in glass, others in ceramic and more unusually, some are carved from wood. All of them are used to drink Chicha an alcoholic corn beer that is considered a sacred drink by Andean people.
9. Invest in a fun backpack
The backpacks on sale in Lima are every size and color imaginable! They are made from traditional fabric which is hard wearing and comfortable. There are some colorful plain backpacks, and also many with bright traditional designs.
10. Squeeze some pink salt into your bag
For budding master chefs, what better way to impress in the kitchen than to use natural pink salt? Bags of the salt in different sizes are widely available in Lima, but it is much more fun to go to the salt mines in Maras where the salt is collected by hand from an ancient mountain lake at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters.