Puno was our last stop in southern Peru, so we took an afternoon bus to Arequipa (plus an exciting afternoon in the bus parking lot waiting for the bus to start), spent the night (and picked up my charger) then took an incredibly long overnight bus to Lima. It was nice to arrive in Lima since it’s technically our home, so we didn’t have to wander around looking for anything.
Unfortunately, I got sick after a few days back in Lima and ended up sleeping our last two days there, so we didn’t get the chance to hang out with our friends as much as planned. By the time we got on the bus at 10pm on Saturday night, I was feeling mostly better, so I’m very thankful for that! The biggest problem with my stomach bug was that we were unable to get our Yellow Fever shots – again! Now we have to find a way to get them while we’re in Trujillo. More on that later.
I’ve decided to use this week’s blog as a way to share some of the best things to do in Lima. After living there as American expats for 8-10 months, we know all the cheap things to do and all the great places to eat! So, for those of you with a stop in Lima, you can probably do everything in just a couple of days.
In no particular order:
1) Eat anticuchos at La Grimanessa. She is famous because Gaston Acurio loves her anticuchos, they are the best we’ve tasted. You can find it by walking down Enrique Palacios until it turns into Avenida La Mar. Turn left on Ignacio Merino. It’s the second door on the left (“Anticucheria”) It opens around 6pm, and get super packed. If you go around 8, you’ll be waiting in line for a while. (But a good trick – tell them you’re ordering to go “para llevar” and you can jump to the front of the line and eat them across the street on the benches.)
2) Parque de Las Aguas. This is an amazing water/music/light-show park that is better described in pictures. Take a bus from Ovalo Miraflores that goes “todo Arequipa” (all of Arequipa) tell them you’re going to Parque de las Aguas and just ask them when to get off. It’s about a 20-30 minute bus ride. You really want to go when it is dark to see the light show; we normally go around 8 or 9.
3) Eat at one of Gaston’s restaurants; he’s considered a Peruvian gem, and really put Peru on the map when it comes to cuisine. Two recommendations – La Mar on Avenida La Mar (for ceviche) or Panchita on Dos de Mayo (for meat, parillero-style)
4) Visit Mercado de Surquillo, definitely in the morning, and preferably on a Sunday. This is a huge open market on the edge of Surquillo and Miraflores. (Near Paseo de Republica – the Via Espresa)
5) Central Lima & La Cathedral. Okay, so there is a downtown district of Lima, which the historical center, government officials’ houses/mansions, and a huge church. But, my favorite thing about this area is the restaurant called La Cathedral’s HUGE Pisco Sours. They’re doubles, they’re 20 soles, and they’re amazing. You want to go to the place to the right of the fancy hotel. The fancy hotel has the same drink at their fancy bar, but it is twice the price, so go to the cheaper one next door! It’s amazing!
6) Barranco – the coolest little artsy district. I would recommend taking a Lima Bay Tour with Lima Bike Tours, because they take you through Barranco and give you some history as well. We love to go to La Piselli, an old Italian bar, for little snacks and Chilcanos. You should also visit the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros), and learn about the myth and the history of the area.
Okay, other things to eat: Ceviche (the national dish!), Pollo a la Brasa (Pardo’s is really good), Lomo Saltado, Arroz con Pollo, Papa huancaina, Tacu Tacu, Picarones. Make sure you try a Pisco Sour at some point, and the Cusquena Red Lager or Malta. (Most of the rest of the beers taste like Bud Light and will give you a wicked hangover.)
Also recommended by others (but too expensive for me) is the artifacts of the Incas at the Larco Museum. It’s 30 soles, which is a lot when you live here on a teacher’s budget. We did go to Huaca Pucllana, which is a series of ruins from the Lima tribes. It’s not bad, but kind of a short tour for 12 soles.
Also, if you want to experience “gourmet” food at lower prices – check out Le Cordon Bleu Peru’s school restaurant Wallqa. We went for lunch and it was pricey but well worth it. The food is amazing.
For those of you looking for a day trip out of Lima, we went to Cieneguilla twice, which was pretty easy to do and a nice way to find the sun during those gray-gray-gray months of winter. (uck!) You can also hit up Punta Hermosa, Lurin, Chosica, or Palakala Falls.
Let me know if you have any questions about any of these places!