Lovely Lima, Peru
Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru. It seems to have it all- beauty, lots of deep history, wildlife, incredible food, diverse landscapes and bright vibrant people and clothing.
We flew into Lima and stayed for two nights in the Magledena Del Mar area before flying to Cusco and back to Lima. When we returned back we stayed four nights in the Barranco area. We really did enjoy both areas we stayed, however Barranco has a lot more to offer in terms of shopping, restaurants and night life. Majority of the tourists coming to Lima are only staying a short time before flying to the very popular destination on Machu Picchu. We recommend that travelers make sure to spend enough time in the capital to truly explore this coastal city to the fullest. We stayed in Lima for about a week in total which was probably too much time as we had a lot of time to see and do everything throughout the city.
THINGS TO DO IN LIMA
Walk or work out along the coastline
The city of Lima is set up right on the coast of the country and is divided into different districts. Miraflores is the most popular district located along the coast, provided locals and tourists a very nice boardwalk cliff side over looking the Pacific Ocean. This boardwalk goes on for miles and also has some very interesting stop along the way. The boardwalk has designated biker lanes, walking lanes, exercise equipment, tennis courts, skate parks, mountain biking and doggy parks. This is a great area to just explore by foot and see what the city has to offer.
Visit the park of love
Along the Miraflores Boardwalk is the Park of Love which is a landscape park overlooking the ocean with a huge kissing sculpture, mosaic walls & a snack stand. This is one of Lima’s most beautiful parks and a popular meeting place for lovers. Created by Peruvian artist Victor Delfín in 1993. This park is definitely worth coming to and relaxing while looking out to the ocean side. While you are relaxing watching the sunset, grab a fresh passion fruit juice and a homemade churro. Delicious!
Visit a pisco Museum and try a cocktail
Pisco is a yellowish-to-amber colored brandy produced in wine making regions of Peru and Chile. Made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit, it was developed by 16th century Spanish settlers. A pisco sour is an alcoholic cocktail of Peruvian origin that is typical and served throughout the country. In the historical center of Lima you will find the Pisco Museum, educating how this alcoholic drink was made and produced. And of course after your tour, you can belly up to the bar and enjoy this delicious cocktail in many different ways.
Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacombs
This church and monastery of St. Francis (1674) is known for its catacombs that contain the remains of more than 70,000 people and a magnificent library that houses thousands of antique texts. This is a must to learn more about the history of colonial Peru as it it houses some fascinating antiquities and beautiful architecture. The only way to tour this breath taking church is to buy an admission ticket to a guided walking tour for a reasonable price. This tour is well worth it as you will be able to observe the thousands of skeletons underground in the basement of the church. The remains were buried here as they could not afford a proper grave.
Beach it up on the pacific coast
Whether you want to take a surf lesson or simply just relax on the beach, this city has it all. As we were staying in Barranco, we just decided to walk to the local beach to enjoy the sand in our toes and wind in the air. The beaches are different just north of here as there are large pebbles instead of sand. On the beach are different local vendors that walk by with different snacks/drinks and souvenirs. REMEMBER- winter and summer months are opposite of the USA as they are on the other side of the equator (plan accordingly).
Walk through the historic district
Lima’s historical city center is love at first sight with its long and honorable history, beautiful squares and monuments, churches filled with art and its restaurants and bars offering traditional flavors. As we stayed along the coast of Lima, getting to the historical district is quite the journey. As there is a public transportation that is very efficient and reasonable, we chose to use Uber as the fare is paid through the app and there is no need to figure out which stop to get off at (ALSO VERY CHEAP IN THIS COUNTRY). When arriving in the district you can either sign up for a guided tour which take you to all of the well know and popular attractions or you can be like us and do it yourself. Along the streets of the historical district are many different vendors selling the infamous “alpaca” wool. This material is very nice to the touch and keeps you warm in this chilly country. Make sure to pick up a pair of gloves and hat to take home with you!
DO YOU DARE?! Depending on the daily weather conditions, this activity along the coast of Lima is one of the most popular. When walking through the Miraflores Boardwalk it is impossible not to see a handful of para gliders soaring through the sky. This adventurous pastime is probably the the best way to take advantage of the steep cliff view. Don’t worry you are attached to a professional the entire time. You can even pay a little more and have a go pro video of the experience to take with you. While we were visiting, James insisted that he did this. He got all suited up for it but then the windy weather wasn’t cooperating with what was needed. We waited and waited for conditions to change but it was not his lucky day. Next time we return to Lima, this will be the first on the list to do.
Enjoy the local cuisine
Of course, our favorite part about being in a different country, is trying out the local cuisine. Peruvian food is all about spices and big flavors, some clean and crisp, others deep and heavy. Some of the most popular dishes you must try in this country are
- Ceviche (seafood and vegetables marinated in citrus juices)
- Lomo Saltado (beef stir fry, usually served with french fries)
- Cuy (Yes, guinea pig…. we could not get ourselves to try this one)
- Papas a la Huancaina (potatoes with a spicy cheese sauce)
- Rocoto Relleno (stuffed peppers)
- Anticuchos de corazon (grilled heart)
- Inca Kola (is a soft drink that was created in Peru in 1935, similar to cream soda)
Sometimes while visiting a different country it is also nice to get some food in your belly that makes you think of back home. It is something about Eggs Benedict that just makes me get in such a comfortable mood. What can we say, we LOVE american breakfast. We ate at Cafe A Bistro three different times while in this city. The food is so delicious and the wait staff is very nice and pleasant.
Take a surfing lesson
If you are a surfer, sportsman or you want to learn where to surf, Lima has the best beaches for you where you will always find some awesome waves and sunshine all year long. No need to plan ahead (if you do that is fine as well) as you can walk down the beach and find locals who are there to teach or rent their boards out to locals and tourists. If you are a beginner surfer we advise that you still get some lessons as Lima is known for their intense surf waves! If you are not into this at all it is still a great time to head down to the beach and watch the locals ride the waves in, they are pretty incredible.
Cristo del Pacífico, “the Christ of the Pacific”, is a 120 foot high statue of Jesus in Lima. Built in 2011, this statue was inspired by the Christ Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. The views from up here are surreal of the coastline and the city of Lima. Getting to this beautiful statue can be done by feet however it is up a very steep hill that does not have a sidewalk. You can get a ride to the top from a motorcycle tuk tuk (which is QUITE the experience) at the beach for around 3.50 soles. Also you can call an uber to come get you but the network is not the best up at the top so maybe arranging transport ahead of time is the better idea.
Another stop along the Miraflores Boardwalk is the lighthouse which sits 72 feet high. This lighthouse is still actively used and one of the most popular in the country. With a focal height of 354 feet above the sea, its light can be seen for 18 nautical miles and consists of a pattern of three flashes of white light, over a period of fifteen seconds.
Shop cliffside at the mall
Larcomar is a must visit for shopping and especially for eating, if for no other reason than the views. The multi-level shopping center has a large number of restaurants and popular clothing boutiques. If you have been in Peru for awhile, it is a nice departure from the Peruvian markets selling crafts.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LIMA!! NOW GET OUT THERE AND EXPLORE!