As a place named after food, I already had an inkling this place was going to be good.
For many Lima is just a passing through point. For us it became more than that. Awkward flights meant we ended up with 5 days in Lima, which we felt was far too much, we were wrong. I could have stayed for much longer (or forever).
We stayed in Miraflores, a ridiculously nice area full of beautiful holiday apartments, scenic beaches, fancy malls and most importantly a huge variety of eateries. Though some may find it plasticky and contrived, there is so much to love here too.
It can be an expensive place and on a backpackers budget a bit of a challenge. But if you’re smart and willing to spend just a little more on a few things, you can have the most amazing time.
In Lima there are a lot of fast food and touristy restaurants. We skipped these and instead headed straight to the wonderful supermarket Vivanda, there are a couple in Miraflores. There you can buy plenty of traditional take away foods of very high quality for not a lot of money and you can spend a lot of time (if you’re strange like me) just gawping at all the lovely Peruvian produce there.
In terms of restaurants, hands down the best place we found was called Las Olas del Mar, a little place in northern Miraflores, frequented by lots of locals, with some of the best fish I’ve ever had. Make sure you turn up hungry and order the ‘ronda marinero’ basically a huge plate with a portion of each of their three specialties: ceviche mixto (with perfectly cooked squid), chicharrón mixto (delicious mix of fried fish and seafood) and arroz mariscos (basically seafood paella). Fish to die for.
Another lovely restaurant (though nowhere near the standard of Olas) was Mama Olla, more centrally located in Miraflores. Also great fish dishes.
Finally, as a very hot place, Lima has an abundance of icecream and froyo places. Instead try cremolada (a rich, half icecream half milkshake) there’s a very popular place at the end of Calle Bolognesi just before the Parque del Amor called Curich that always has a queue, day or night. It’s worth the wait and get the lucuma flavour.
Then take it down to the park, watch the sunset and enjoy.
Tips for visiting Lima:
1. A great place to stay if your budget allows is Imperial Inn Hostel, the friendliest staff we encountered in Peru. It’s also very well located.
2. Stay in Miraflores not in the centre, though take a bus/taxi to the centre one day and check out the main square, cathedral, museums and shops.
3. Don’t miss out on the Museo Larco, it’s the best museum we saw in South America and very stylish, lovely restaurant too (but expensive). If you want lunch somewhere typical nearby, walk 20 mins to Pueblo Libre, lots of cheaper traditional restaurants here.
4. If you have a spare day and some Spanish, do a daytrip to Pachacamac. A fascinating Inca site (admittedly with not that much left to see) but the desert environment is interesting and you can combine with a day on the beach if you hop on a bus after down to Punta Hermosa.
5. Make sure you take food with you when you go to the airport in Lima, there are very limited choices (awful dry, old sandwiches for 10 USD!!!) and they are extortionate.