Lima is an underrated city. Before arriving we had several friends recommending that we spend as little time as possible there, but for us it was a great place to return to in between hikes and indulge – and by indulge I mean EAT. Apart from eating there isn’t much to do in Lima but that suited us just fine, especially given Lima’s miserable weather. We visited the city on three separate occassions and only once caught a glimpse of the sun, the rest of the time Lima was grey.
We stayed in Miraflores, an upscale neighbourhood where most tourists end up. We considered staying in Barranco, Miraflores’ artsy and lively neighbour, but we liked our accommodation in Miraflores so much that we decided not to move. We stayed at the Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast on all three occassions – a peaceful guesthouse with lovely rooms, friendly owners and a super cute dog named Inca that we wished we could take with us.
Although we weren’t organised enough and didn’t make bookings at some of the city’s (and the world’s) top restaurants such as Central or Maido that didn’t stop us from eating well – too well really! We were definitely bad backpackers in Lima so most of the places below are not budget friendly but we loved the following:
- Coffee – we found two great coffee shops in Miraflores, Aromia Cafe and Neira Cafe Lab, the latter only a two minute walk from the Lighthouse;
- Brunch – with its on-site bakery and yummy pastries and toasties El Pan de la Chola was an awesome place for breakfast/brunch. The coffee was good as well and they have craft beers and pizzas in the evening;
- Cebiche and seafood – we ate at both La Mar and El Mercado and loved them both. The cebiche was absolutely delicious and the cocktails were excellent (unfortunately both are only open for lunch);
- Cheap eat – the tasty burritos at Burrito Bar in Barranco;
- Nice dinner – we really liked the casual vibe and excellent food at the neighbourhood restaurant and bar COSME;
- Pisco Sours – we had our first pisco sours in Peru at Huaringas Bar, who set the bar pretty high; and
- New York Glamour – when we stepped into Osaka we felt like we were stepping into a New York bar. It was very chic and the cocktails and the food were very good.
Apart from eating, we did check out the lovely Kennedy Park, which is famous for having a large number of resident cats though I’m not sure where they all were on the day of our visit as we didn’t see that many! To pretend we were decent tourists and not just in Lima to get fat we also visited Huaca Pucllana. This is an archaeological site right in the middle of Miraflores where you can see pre-Inca ruins. Whilst unquestionably an architectural marvel to have lasted so long as you may be able to tell from the picture below, they were not particularly exciting.
We did love wandering around Barranco and seeing all the amazing street art as well as MATE – Museo Mario Testino (also in Barranco) that showcased Mario Testino’s awesome variety of photos covering fashion, celebrity and his famous session photographing Princess Diana just before she died. I had no idea that Mario Testino was Peruvian!
Other travellers that we met also ventured to Downtown Lima (you can do a free walking tour) but we were a bit lazy. We also heard that the Circuito Magico del Agua, water and light show, was very good but unfortunately we didn’t get there either.
For us Lima was really all about the food and for treating ourselves between all of the hiking we did in Peru. It doesn’t make my list of favourite cities but I would definitely return for the cebiche!
Next: we leave South America for a while and hop over for a month in Mexico.