Jorge Chávez International: Latin America’s star performer ….
Among Latin America’s airports Lima’s Jorge Chávez International is undoubtedly a star performer. In fact, Peru’s largest airport has won the coveted title of ‘Best Airport in Latin America’ in the influential Skytrax airport awards for the past three years running.In contrast to many of its regional rivals privately operated Jorge Chávez regularly gets rave reviews from travellers for being clean, modern and efficient with luxury VIP lounges and a decent selection of shops and restaurants.Peruvian tourism has been booming since the turn of the millennium and Jorge Chávez airport has had to expand fast to meet demand. Passenger traffic has more than doubled since 2004 and now stands at over 10 million per year. Since 2005 the airport has opened a new concourse, a shopping centre and four-star hotel as part of a wider upgrade programme. And further down the track there are plans for both a second runway and a new terminal building.
International travellers used to be slapped with an annoying $30 airport tax when trying to leave the airport. Queues tended to build up at the payment kiosks as travellers fumbled to find the required change. Thankfully from 2011 there has been a change in the rules and the airport tax is now included in the price of your flight.
The main pre-security draw in terms of shopping is the spacious Peru Plaza, which is located on the third floor and one of the highlights of the airport’s new look. It is the only airport shopping centre to be situated landside in Latin America, and undoubtedly the best place at the airport to pick up a souvenir or Peruvian gift. Take your pick from silver and gold jewellery, alpaca wool clothing, leather goods, handicrafts and Peruvian coffee.
Peru Peru is the one of the larger gift stores and has outlets airside too, while Ilaria specialises in elegant, feminine Peruvian silver and gold jewellery that makes use of Peruvian stones such as Andean opal and Peruvian turquoise (see http://www.ilariainternational.com/english.html for more details). Meanwhile Kuna, a Peruvian fashion brand with stores Argentina, Chile and the Middle East sells some beautiful alpaca clothing lines that have taken the eye of Hollywood actresses such as Susan Sarandon (http://www.ilariainternational.com/english.html).It is not all about gifting in the Peru Plaza complex. There are more practical shops too such as the handy AirShop, a mini-market selling medicines, toiletries and travel items, and the recently opened Travel Zone, a convenience store which also stocks toys, confectionery and leatherwoods. On the second floor you will also find a Food Court offering everything from fast food and sweet treats (McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts) to pizza (Papa John’s) and fresh fruit juices (La Gran Fruta).Spanish travel retailer Aldeasa runs the duty-free concession in departures. It is also worth remembering there is an arrivals duty-free store too and personal allowances are pretty generous too: 3-litres of spirits, 400 cigarettes and 3 bottles of perfume (see our allowances guide Peru Allowances). Back in departures you will find Aldeasa’s The Shop boasts a full range of fragrances, cosmetics, watches, jewellery, spirits, tobacco, confectionery and fashion accessories.
Now in our view a retailer as large as Aldeasa could do better with a better online presence. Passengers are a captive audience, but that doesn’t mean they will automatically reach for their wallets just because they see a “duty-free” sign. The majority of international travellers these days are web savvy and many would like (and expect) to check prices and availability before they travel. Sadly, they can’t do that at Jorge Chávez, but you can at least get a run down of the brands offered at http://www.aldeasa.com/tiendas/pages/en-uk/NuestrasMarcas.aspx?codnego=2&cp=514&ex=2.
Away from the main duty-free store you will also find some fashion boutiques from big names such as Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfilger, Esprit and Versace. For the more price-conscious shopper Bijoux Terner offers a range of gifts and fashion accessories at a low fixed price.
Once you’ve got your shopping done, smokers will be pleased to learn that there is a Smoker’s Bar in the international terminal, where you can also get a beer and even a bite to eat. It is nice to see an international airport treat smokers like human beings rather than herding them into small, crowded smoking lounges or banning it altogether.
Official Jorge Chávez International shopping website