A picture says a thousand words, but you can’t wear a picture. A unique, authentic, handwoven piece of alpaca will allow you to take home a traditional piece of Peru, and a reminder of your trip, and will have the memories rushing back every time you put it on. Here are the best fashion boutiques to seek out in Arequipa.
More than just a place to buy sweaters, Mundo Alpaca gives you the whole experience with a free tour or their facility. Alpacas and vicuñas wander in their grass patch, and come feeding time, you can get close enough to pet them. Move along and watch the workers sift through the piles of wool and learn about the types of wool that come from different types of animal, and finish up in the gift shop to grab your very own alpaca souvenir.
Michell, started by Frank W Michell, is a watchword for supreme quality in the alpaca world, and Mundo Alpaca is where they harness the wool for their products. You can visit their outlet store in south Arequipa to get a different range of merchandise. Note that they are only open for a few hours on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.
Baby Alpaca Boutique
Follow the road alongside the Santa Catalina Monastery, and you will find a lot of little shops with an eclectic range of jewelry, accessories, souvenirs, and clothing. For some very soft alpaca, Baby Alpaca Boutique has a foolproof selection to ensure that you find something of your liking. They stock more styles than the typical ‘alpaca across the chest’ design, and have a variety of articles for women, men, and children.
On Mercaderes, you will find a number of boutiques offering a great selection of all types of fashion items and materials, Kuna among them. It’s a stone’s throw around the corner from the Plaza de Armas, in the Patio del Ekeko, which also offers food if your shopping goes on for longer than expected. A couple of blocks north you can visit their second store, Kuna Casona Santa Catalina.
Wanting to add that little extra something to match the clothing you just purchased? Ilaria has you covered. Also located in the Patio del Ekeko commercial shopping center on Mercaderes, Ilaria is a well-known local jewelry brand that is unique to Peru. They have both simple designs and elegant pieces for women and men who like to accessorize.
If you’re shopping for a very special occasion, Jenny Duarte, over the river in Yanahuara, offers a range of fashion from casual to party and cocktail dresses, and even caters for that very special occasion of purchasing a wedding dress. An eccentric line of beautiful jewelry is available as well.
Calle San Francisco
For the wandering shopper who likes to stumble upon bargains almost by mistake, you will want to place yourself on Calle San Francisco, the street running north of the northeast corner of the Plaza de Armas. There are many individual souvenir shops where you can buy earrings, bracelets, alpaca socks, mittens, and other items of clothing, and the street will lead you right up to Parque San Francisco, next to the Artisan Market, Fundo el Fierro, where you can make the final touches to your shopping spree.