Lima is the much maligned capital of Peru. It suffers from the fact that when most foreign visitors tend to come to Peru, Lima is sitting under a blanket of coastal mist.
However, look through the mist and you’ll find a culturally vibrant city which is worthy of closer inspection.
Most visitors to Lima will stay in the Miraflores district and perhaps visit the downtown area during the day.
There is nothing wrong with this, Lima is home to some fantastic museums and collections of art.
However, what makes Lima exciting is its culture and cuisine.
Peru is at the forefront of a resurgent Latin American food movement. Lima is full of good places to eat.
Contemporary music, art and theatre is very much alive and well in Lima. Perhaps the best place to start looking for them is in the Barranco area of the city, just up the coast from Miraflores.
Miraflores including Larcomar is located on the coast. Parque Kennedy, is the small central park in Miraflores and is two blocks away from the hotel. It is well kept and has small open-air theatre and an arts and crafts market most evenings and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
In the opposite direction, a walk down Av Larco to Larcomar shopping mall on the sea cliffs is a pleasant evening (but please catch a taxi after dark).
Upon arrival in Lima you will be met by our transfer guide who will take you to your hotel and show you the local area.
If not included, a city tour can easily be arranged from the hotel reception and concierges/doormen are always very helpful. If you get lost take a taxi. The central area of Lima with the Plaza d’Armas is where most of the churches and museums can be found.
Highly recommended are:
Gold Museum, Sucro district of Lima, Av.Alonso de Molino 1100, Monterico. Open Mon-Sun 11:30-19:00 Entry 15 Soles. Contains a dazzling collection of pre-Inca gold jewellery and ceremonial objects also extensive exhibition of weapons and uniforms.
San Francisco, Lima center. First block off Jr Lampa, Plazuela de San Francisco, open Mon-Sun 09:30-17:45 English speaking guides only after 15:00. Entry 5 Soles. Re-constructed but remains the jewel of Lima’s old churches, with catacombs & monastery to visit.
Santo Domingo, Lima center. First block of Jr Camana. Built in 1549 the Cloisters are the most attractive in the city dating from 1603. Open 09:00- 13:00 / 15:00-18:00
Puente de los Suspiros, East of Parque Municipal, Barranco, Lima. The romantically named Bridge of Sighs is a lovely wooden walkway shaded with flowering trees. The bridge crosses over the Bajada de Baños, a cobblestone walkway that leads to Playa Barranquito.
On the far side is La Ermita, a lovely little chapel painted a dazzling shade of red.
Restaurants in Lima
There are restaurants serving traditional Peruvian food, as well as the usual international dishes. Seafood is obviously among the best choices, given Lima’s location.
Many of Lima’s best restaurants are in Miraflores, and there are also many good, cheap places.
There are plenty of cafes on Parque Kennedy, which are nice places for a beer and for people watching, as well as having reasonable food. Most have similar prices, charging about $5-$10 for a meal.
Café Haiti (Av. Diagonal 160) is the oldest and most traditional of these. Additionally, there are Café Vivaldi (Av. Ricardo Palma 260) and Café Ole (Av. Diagonal 314).
Running off Av. Diagonal is Calle San Ramón, commonly known as La Calle de las Pizzas or Pizza Alley.
There are plenty of pavement restaurants on this street, serving many kinds of food, but specialising in pizzas. Most are quite similar in price and quality.
Larcomar has a food court and a number of restaurants, often a view of the sea. Most are part of a chain but these are generally pleasant places to eat with decent food.
Café Café, Martin Olaya 250, Miraflores, also Larcomar. Recommended and popular with Limeños (locals) serves drinks, good coffee, sandwiches and deserts. Open Sun-Thurs 08:00-01:00, Fri & Sat 08:00-03:00.
La Rosa Náutica, Espigon 4, Costa Verde, Miraflores (tel 447- 0057). This is one of Lima’s loveliest restaurants set in a fabulous Victorian-style building at the end of a pier, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Excellent seafood. Set meals are good value and cost between $20-30. À la carte meals can easily reach over $50. Alternatively treat yourself to a Cathedral Pisco Sour in the bar and watch the sunset.
Huaca Pucllana, Av. General Borgoña, 2 blocks north of Av. Angamos Oeste, Miraflores, Lima (tel: 01 445-4042). You feel like a part of history at this beautiful restaurant, which faces the ruins of a 1,500-year-old pyramid. Excavations are ongoing, so you can watch archaeologists at work as you enjoy the breezes on the covered terrace. ‘Nuevo Andino’ cuisine.
Las Brujas de Cachiche, Bolognesi 460, Miraflores (tel 444- 5310). One of the best restaurants in Lima for Peruvian food. It is an old mansion converted into bars and dining rooms and is beautifully decorated. Meals cost around $25-30. Open Mon-Sat 12:30-00:30, Su 12:30-16:00.
El Señorio de Sulco, Malecon Cisneros 1470 (tel 441- 0389). At the end of Pardo overlooking the sea in Miraflores. Excellent criolla food (typical dishes from the coast of Peru). Dishes include fish, meat and vegetarian dishes and cost around $15-25.
La Ermanita, Bajada de Baños 340, Barranco, Lima (tel: 01 247 0069). Facing a cobblestone street leading down to the ocean, wide windows in the dining room let you watch people strolling across the Puente de los Suspiros. With the ocean practically at the door, the focus here is seafood with freshly caught fish.
Manos Morenas, Av. Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Lima (tel: 01 467-0421). A century-old house behind an iron gate has one of the most atmospheric restaurants in Barranco and possibly one of the best places in the country to try traditional food. Inside is a warmly lit dining room bustling with women in colorful headwraps serving up tasty Peruvian fare. The ají de gallina, a spicy stewed hen, is the best you’ll find anywhere. If you’re brave, sample the anticuchos, skewers of beef hearts. At night the place bursts to life with live music and dancing from the coastal regions. Tues-Sat from 21.30 $10 cover charge.
Las Mesitas, Grau 341, Barranco, Lima. Filled with a dozen or so marble-topped tables, Las Mesitas is an old-fashioned café a block north of Parque Municipal. Share a few humitas, steamed tamales that you season with pickled onions or bright yellow hot sauce. The best are those stuffed with chicken, onions, and green corn.
Bohemia, Pasaje Nicolas de Rivera 142, Lima. Opposite the main post office near the Plaza de Armas, Lima centre. Large menu of international food, great salads and sandwiches.
Wa Lok, Jr. Paruro 864-870, Lima (Barrio Chino). This is in Chinatown though there is also a newer Wa Lok in Miraflores. There is a very significant Chinese population in Peru so the Chinese food can be first rate, as it is at this restaurant.
Matsuei, Manuel Bañon 260, San Isidro, Lima. Chefs shout out a greeting as you enter the teak-floored dining room of this San Isidro standout. Widely considered the best Japanese restaurant in town, Matsuei specializes in sushi and sashimi. The tasty kushiyaki, one of the specialities, is a broiled fillet with a ginger-flavored sauce. There is plenty for vegetarians.