Black Markets & Piracy in Peru – A new Tourist Attraction?

Peru is famous for a multitude of cultural attractions and has developed to one of the most visited countries in South America. Peruvian food by now is known all over the world and many international chefs incorporate ingredients or recipes of Peru's diverse cuisine. Exclusive hotels and exquisite restaurants are present everywhere. A very stable economy has been providing national & international investors a solid base with good returns in mining, industry, fishing, production, import and export. Additionally the country is hosting numerous national and international conferences, seminars and fairs. All in all Peru is a rising star in South America catering for tourists and business travelers alike.

Unfortunately Peru has also gained a reputation of being one of the main producers of "coca paste" (the base for cocaine) and the production of high quality counterfeit currency (US$ - Euro). Well known in the country are also certain markets selling counterfeit consumer goods (knock-offs) and piracy of any types of digital media (movies, music and computer programs) that are highly frequented by the Peruvian consumers.

It seems that exactly these markets now have as well caught the attention of tourists visiting the country. We are getting specific inquiries asking for directions on how to get to places like Polvos Azules, Wilson, Gamarra and even Las Malvinas and how to behave there all the time. Be aware that not all the products offered in these places are of dubious origin, but yes you'll be able to find quite a lot of "bargains" there.

If you are up for this kind of bazaar like shopping experience where a large number of merchants are united in one shopping complex, you can visit at least some of the mentioned places. But please take a little bit more precaution than at home; don't show off (like carrying your 2000 US$ digital camera on the belly), just carry the amount of cash you will need, leave your valuable at the hotel and don't wear your Rolex (by the way you can buy pretty good replicas in those places also...). And be aware as well that when entering your home country or other countries customs might not be happy finding pirated movie DVDs in your luggage ...

In Lima we highly recommend avoiding one place in particular called "Las Malvinas" by any means. This Commercial Center and the surroundings of the Av. Argentina are known places for the distribution of stolen goods (!) and attract obviously dubious characters. In our opinion this is no place to hang out, especially not for tourists.

If you are up for the thrill, below a listing of the most "popular" places:

Polvos Azules

Paseo de la Republica block 3 and 4, La Victoria, Lima

In Polvos Azules you can find hundreds of stores offering clothes, shoes, sports gear including running shoes and trekking boots, backpacks, bags, toys and perfumes. Well known is Polvos Azules as well for their wide range of electronic equipments. You get among many other things TVs, MP3 and MP4 players, Playstations, Wii's, CD and DVD players, cell phones, all sorts of accessory and of course (mostly pirated) music CDs and movie DVDs. Polvos Azules is a great place to make a snatch and ideal for people who like this kind of shopping experience. We have a dedicated page on Polvos Azules...


Jr. Agustin Gamarra block 6 to 10, La Victoria, Lima

Gamarra combines a cluster of small stores with modern shopping malls. Here you can find literally everything regarding local and imported fabrics, Peruvian made clothing and accessory for sewing and needlework. Gamarra is a great place to buy casual wear, stunning evening gowns and everything in between for men, women and children. We have a dedicated page on Gamarra...

Polvos Rosados

Av. Aviación 5087, Santiago de Surco, Lima

This is a smaller version of Polvos Azules, but they are just about to finish a brand-new building with nearly double the space and shops.

Wilson (Computer Center)

Av. Garcilaso de la Vega (former A. Wilson) block 12

In Wilson you can buy among many other things complete new or used computers and laptops, screens, printers as well as computer parts, equipment's and fittings. Most of the products might surely be name-brand and legitimate, but some might probably be fake or contraband. Therefore take care not to be ripped off. Wilson is also well-known for its mostly pirated computer software, games and movie DVDs. Just flip through one of the bulky folders or ask for a special program or movie and within minutes you get your "copy". We have a dedicated page on the Wilson Computer Center...

CompuPalace Miraflores

Av. Petit Thouars 5356, Miraflores, Lima

On 4 floors and 240 shops you'll find nearly everything on computing, phones, tablets, laptops, GPS, Printer and parts. When you walk in you'll right away hear some sellers offering "Software" (Spanish = programas) – most of them "copies"...

CC Las Malvinas (Mesa Redinda)

Av. Arentina, block 1 to 6, Lima

There is a commercial center with the same name but it is basically a multitude of small shops in the whole area selling mostly stolen goods (!) that also attract obviously dubious characters. In our opinion this is no place to hang out, especially not for tourists.