Yes—I did just have to quote Kanye in my title to get my point across about this cool city! The majority of fellow backpackers we met on the road would always scrunch their face when we brought up Lima and they would mention the pollution, the traffic and how overcrowded and loud the city is. While it is true that Lima does have a few blemishes, we’ll show you some of the wonderful places we discovered in just the few days we visited.
Lima is HUGE! Like many other capital cities in South America it has a lot going on and many different sectors to visit. Since we were pressed for time we decided we would focus our attention mainly on Miraflores and Barranco, the more touristy areas of the city. The first place we stayed was a great apartment we found on Airbnb located in Miraflores for 35 USD. It was well-situated and only two blocks away from the boardwalk. We decided to walk along the majestic coastline overlooking the Pacific Ocean and watched as the sky showed off its brilliant colors at sunset. This was the perfect introduction and welcome to the beautiful country of Peru.
One thing I really loved about Miraflores was the tremendous amount of green space and parks along the boardwalk. El Parque del Amor is one such park where you could really take in all the splendor of the coastline. All along the park you will find a mural gorgeously adorned with romantic phrases by some of Peru’s famous poets. It is an incredible sight to see. Although it can be a bit pricey Miraflores is definitely a must see when visiting Lima and a safe area to visit even late into the night.
The next morning we decided to check out the free city walking tour (fwtperu.com) but our GPS took us to the wrong place so we never made it. Despite this mishap we ended up having a great day as we walked further down the boardwalk to discover the cool neighborhood of Barranco- Miraflores’ more laid back, bohemian cousin. We decided we needed more time to explore Lima so the following day we booked a great room at Casita Libertad in Barranco. The place was perfectly situated in a tranquil neighborhood within walking distance to everything. Best of all, our host Maribel was welcoming and really made us feel at home.
We walked around our new neighborhood exploring everything it had to offer. We visited the Puente de Suspiros, a picturesque and romantic bridge. Although it looked like it was geared for kids, we also visited the nearby Electricity Museum (free entrance) and took a fun ride in a historic streetcar. Other spots we checked out were the beautifully preserved main square, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneous (MAC), and Paseo Sáenz Peña where we had an incredible panoramic view of Lima’s entire coastline.
My absolute favorite thing we discovered in Barranco was the Microteatro. Their tag line describes what it is perfectly: 15 minute plays, for 15 people, in a room that is 15 square meters. The performances and the story lines were incredible and in such a small and intimate space we felt as if we were in the play as well. Each mini play was priced fairly at S/. 16 and we were able to watch two. After the theater we ended up crashing a private event at Vernacula, an interesting clothing store/bar/café next door where they were having a fashion show. We somehow walked in by mistake before they closed the doors and Manu ended up getting free drinks at the bar. It was a super fun night in a really hip neighborhood. I love when things work out that way!
The next day (on our third attempt) we finally made it to the free walking tour. It started in Kennedy Park, a beautiful square in the center of Miraflores that is home to numerous adorable stray cats. We then rode the Metropolitano bus line to the main city center where we got lost from the group for a bit but eventually found our way back to the main square/ Plaza de Armas. Our guide showed us some of the most extraordinarily preserved historical buildings around the center. He also took us to the artisanal market and the food market where we were able to try some typical foods from Peru. Finally, we had a free Pisco tasting which was the perfect way to end our tour.
When it comes to food Lima knows it stuff! We had some of the best dishes ever during our visit to this magnificent city. I am not ashamed to say this: because we love ceviche so much we ate it in every restaurant we visited until our throats were burning! The delectable spicy and sour concoction was so incredibly fresh in Lima we couldn’t help but order it with every meal (sometimes just as a meal on its own). On our last afternoon in the city we splurged a bit and ate at Restaurant Javier in Barranco. Their portions were huge so we shared an appetizer that included fried rice with seafood, calamari, huancaina potatoes and of course ceviche. The food here was remarkable and so was the tranquil view of the Pacific Ocean from their lookout.