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Located a couple of blocks from Lima’s Plaza de Armas, this multi-storey market offers an incredible glimpse into the daily shopping of limeños. The huge main building is organized by sections ranging from animal products to clothes. Those looking to cook with the day’s freshest ingredients will have aisles and aisles of choices. Meanwhile, those merely looking will be content to wander past unusual sights such as pig’s heads, bins of shellfish and bags of quinoa. The streets surrounding the official market building are even more to marvel at; filled with cookware, electronics and shoes, as well as vendors willing to barter. Don’t miss out on the market’s food stalls for a cheap, authentic Peruvian meal.
Lima’s largest fish market opens before dawn and closes after 8am, making for an exciting dash of seafood vendors, restaurateurs and locals looking for the day’s catch. Terminal Pesquero is filled with hundreds of stalls selling painfully fresh seafood from the bounty of Peru’s coastal waters. Any variety of seafood imaginable is on display. Those adventurous enough to make their own ceviche can have their fish cleaned and cut by the market’s filleters. The spectacle of workers hurriedly yet expertly striping flesh from scales is alone worth a visit. Even without purchasing anything, visitors reach a newfound appreciation of the incredible freshness and attention to detail that goes into making Lima’s famous ceviche.
This massive indoor market is regarded as the place to find nearly anything at a discount price. The three floors of Polvos Azules are filled with stalls selling electronics, clothes, furniture, CDs and backpacks, along with thousands of other items. What started as an informal collection of vendors in a parking lot has moved indoors and developed into Lima’s busiest market. Residents of Lima line the shopping center, while those continuing treks elsewhere in Peru search for hiking gear or warmer clothes. Visit Polvos Azules if only to see the huge assortment.
Surquillo is one of the best markets for food in Lima. The larger No.1 Mercado holds food stalls among its array of goods. Seafood is highly prepared for a cheap price, as diners can get an inexpensive two-course menu. The first course (entrada) is often a choice of ceviche or soup, and the second course (segundo) is fried meat or fish with rice. Filling and incredibly fresh, the menu is a delicious way to brush elbows with market workers and limeños on their lunch break. For another incredible option, visit the adjoining Calle Narcisco de La Colina, a designated ‘gastronomic boulevard’ filled with small vendors.
Those looking for souvenirs and Peruvian products to bring back home will appreciate Feria Artesanal. Although further away from the tourist and hotel-filled Miraflores, this market offers lower prices and an extensive selection. Stalls throughout the market sell craft goods such as jewelry, handbags and carvings. The omnipresent alpaca sweaters can be found here, along with t-shirts and sweatshirts commemorating a trip to Peru. Travelers will appreciate the range of handicrafts from all over the country. Bartering is an essential part of shopping in an artesanal market, as prices are not fixed and depend on your ability to speak Spanish.