Lima Travel Guide

Shopping

Exchange

For some reason it is very hard to change money other than Euros and US-Dollars in Lima. You can't even change the currency from neighbouring countries in normal money exchanges and banks. You might find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but they often charge ridiculous service fees and exchange-rates. Changing money in Miraflores can be done safely with cambistas on the street, but you must follow a few simple rules to avoid being cheated. First, make sure that the cambista is wearing the vest-uniform indicating that he or she is an authorized, licensed cambista. Always ask for the exchange rate ("tipo de cambio"). It is worth it to compare with several cambistas, especially if you are changing a significant amount of money. Some of them do tricks with their calculators in your face and you won't notice, so the best way to know how much you should be getting is to bring a calculator yourself or use the one in your cellphone. Finally, make sure that the bills the cambista gives you have his or her seal ("sello") stamped on them - that way, if by chance one of them turns out to be counterfeit you can come back and complain. I have never gotten counterfeit notes from a cambista, but asking for the seal probably helps maintain the incentive for honesty.

Withdraw

As anywhere, your best bet is usually to simply draw money from an ATM. There are banks dotted all over Lima and some of them have guarded ATMs. Chances are your bank will charge you a fortune every time you withdraw money so it is better value to get as much as possible when making a withdrawal. Banco de Credito and Scotia ATM's generally allow withdrawals up to 700 soles. Interbank has been known to charge insane fees (around $18 for a $50 transaction).

Always be cautious when using an ATM you may be followed and robbed. Change as small an amount of money as possible.

Shop
Markets Av. La Marina in San Miguel on the way to the airport. An idea might be to stop there for last-minute shopping before leaving the country. These goods are similar to those of Av. Petit Thouars, but as the neighborhood is considerably less upscale and fewer tourists come here, the prices are a little lower.

If you are interested in purchasing Peruvian folk musical instruments, there are a number of stores selling charangos, quenas, antaras, etc. on Calle Cantuarias right near Astrid y Gastón. If you have the time, a number of these stores can help you find a teacher to learn how to play your purchase.

Markets Av. Petit Thuars in Miraflores, full of handicrafts stores
Markets In downtown Lima the whole salers of handicrafts are in front of Santo Domingo Church

source: Wikivoyage

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