Peruvian cuisine is an endless source of colors, tastes, and creativity, and Lima has rightfully been named South America’s Gastronomic capital.
Lima’s markets are loud and often chaotic, but also extremely vibrant and full of life. If you find yourself in Peru’s capital, be sure to stop at one of its markets to meet the locals, widen your horizons in cooking, and discover new flavors.
For an incredible glimpse into the Peruvian culture, here are the five best markets in Lima that you will not want to miss.
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Polvos Azules is one of the busiest shopping complexes in downtown Lima and one of the city’s biggest retail hotspots for clothing items and electronics.
Polvos Azules translates to “blue dust” in English and legend has it that this Peruvian market got its name thanks to its blue-colored building and its centuries-old history of being a street market.
Although many stores at Polvos Azules have been formalized and adhere to basic safety standards, it’s good to know that some of them are a major source of knock-off and contrabanded clothes, shoes, and electronics.
Insider Tip: Many retailers will tell you whether an item is an original or a knock-off and – if you’re up for some haggling – Polvos Azules can be a great destination for scoring bargain deals.
Not too far from the city’s historic center, you’ll find Lima’s Mercado Central. This lively indoor Lima market will surprise you with an astonishing diversity of fresh seafood, fruit, vegetables, meats, and spices. You’ll even find different souvenirs, jewelry, and household items.
Insider Tip: With thousands of things to discover at Mercado Central, you can easily spend several hours here. If you are looking to dive even deeper into the local culture, however, explore the bustling streets around the market, too. You’re bound to find some interesting clothes, shoes, toys, and cooking tools.
The Surquillo Market is one of the best places in Lima to try traditional Peruvian food. It is also a go-to place for trading meats, fruit, vegetables, herbs, nuts, and spices from across the country.
A short walk from Kennedy Park will take you right to the heart of Mercado de Surquillo. Here, you can eat out for nearly every meal without breaking the bank. This food market’s stalls offer delicious food such as fresh ceviche, fried fish, rice dishes, and chirimoya (custard apple).
Insider Tip: Right behind Mercado Surquillo, there are a number of sub-markets where you’ll find many of the Market’s goods but with an even more local flare.
Inka Market Lima
The Inka Market is an artisan market in the Miraflores neighborhood. It has one of the largest selections of souvenirs specially designed for tourists. Vividly colored textiles, alpaca scarves, silver jewelry, and ceramics are some of the gems you’ll find here.
Insider Tip: The easiest way to get to the Inka Market is from Kennedy Park. Head down Arequipa street for two blocks, then turn right at Petit Thouars Avenue. The Inka Market has a big sign at the front, making it hard to miss.
Gamarra is one of the most authentic Lima markets and the go-to place for Peruvians looking for cheaper clothing items. The majority of the street market stalls at Gamarra offer affordable clothes and shoes from nameless brands, as well as knock-offs of famous labels.
Right at the center of the market, you’ll find a small food court where you can taste local food such as Caja China pork and, of course, ceviche.
Insider Tip: Gamarra is extremely popular among locals. This means that it’s very crowded and you can easily get lost. It is best to visit the market with a local or a group of Spanish-speaking people.
The Best Lima Souvenir Market
Peru is known for many incredible things including food, textiles, alpaca wool crafts, and handmade goods. When traveling to Lima, be sure to save up some space in your luggage for Peruvian souvenirs.
If you’re looking for an authentic souvenir market in Lima, here’s our top choice.
Miraflores Indian Market
If you’re visiting Lima, the Miraflores district should be on your list. Along with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, the neighborhood boasts a colorful Indian market where you can find all kinds of pottery, paintings, textiles, and handcrafted items.
Insider Tip: While the souvenirs you’ll find in Lima are sure to be eye-catching, they tend to be more expensive than souvenirs you’ll find in other parts of Peru. If you’re also traveling to Cusco, you’ll likely find many of the same items there at more affordable prices.
What should I buy in Lima, Peru?
No vacation is complete without picking up a few local items to commemorate your trip, and when you’re in Peru, traditional crafts are sure to recall wonderful memories of your trip for years to come. Here are some of our best picks:
- Alpaca wool sweaters, scarves, ponchos, and naturally dyed pompoms
- Peruvian textiles
- Hand-embroidered crafts
- Chullo (a traditional knit hat with earflaps)
- Peruvian coffee
- Salt derived from the incredible Maras salt mines
While in Lima, you should also consider splurging on the city’s world-renowned food scene and tasting flavors indigenous to the jungle, coastal, and Andean regions of Peru. You can get traditional Peruvian food at one of the city’s markets or indulge in an exquisite dining experience in one of Lima’s best restaurants.
What are the average prices for markets in Lima, Peru?
Peru is among the most affordable countries to visit in South America and, compared to countries such as the United States, the prices of basic products and food are much lower.
The average daily costs come at $58 (or 227 soles), with meals accounting for $13 (or 52 soles). Dining out at higher-end restaurants typically costs around $20 to $60, while cooking your own meals with fresh produce from the market or grabbing a meal from one of the food stalls will be much more affordable.
What to do in Lima?
Did you know that Lima hosts South America’s largest collection of catacombs? Lurking beneath the streets of historic Lima, the catacombs are an unforgettable experience that can easily be followed up with a tour of the Historic Center or one of the many other exciting things to do in Lima.
If you’re looking to pack in some adventure, know that Lima hosts some of the country’s best surfing spots, paragliding tours, and sand dune buggy rides. Be sure to get a hold of a comprehensive Lima travel guide to make the most of your trip.
How safe is Lima for tourists?
Lima is a largely safe destination for travelers, as long as you stick to the main tourist areas such as Barranco and Miraflores. As a general rule of thumb, avoid wandering through areas that are not well-lit or populated at night time. One of these areas is the historic center due to its proximity to ‘red-zone’ districts.
It’s also worth noting that Lima is a metropolitan city and – because many touristic areas tend to get crowded – petty theft is common. When visiting, stay alert of your surroundings and keep valuables out of sight.
What are other cities nearby Lima with interesting food?
Although Lima has been crowned the hotspot of Peru’s culinary scene, there are plenty of other places where you can enjoy authentic Peruvian food.
Cusco is one of the most prominent examples. With a variety of unique flavor blends, the city offers a fantastic taste experience. Adventure-seekers can combine a Cusco gastronomic experience with a visit to breathtaking sites such as Machu Picchu and Huacachina during a Peru 7-day tour or, for those with some more time to explore, an 8-day Peru itinerary.
For an even more authentic Peruvian food adventure, head to Arequipa for some chupe de camarones (shrimp stew) or Huancayo for papas a la huancaina (sliced potatoes with eggs, olives, and cheese sauce).
Ready to discover Lima?
Peru’s capital is bustling with artisan markets and food spots, but it has much more on offer. Hop on one of our tours in Lima to explore the city and uncover its hidden gems.
We also offer a lot of custom tours in Lima, just send us an e-mail to email@example.com and we’d be happy to set up an unforgettable itinerary for you.