Lost Girls Guide to Lima, PeruCity Guides, Country Guides, Peru, Travel Guides - Country Guides — By Alex B on March 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm
By Leora Novick
“Lets just spend one night in Lima, and then get the hell out of there!” In the midst of a planning session for my two-month backpacking trip to Peru, I thought I knew it all. Everyone kept issuing warnings about the dark and rainy Peruvian capital, and how if we knew what was best, we would skip over it altogether.
Talk about a case of a bad reputation.
Travelers to Peru typically have a set itinerary in mind, now commonly known as the Gringo Trail. Fly into Cusco, visit Machu Picchu and perhaps hike the Inca Trail, pick up some local Alpaca sweaters, take a boat ride across Lake Titicaca, surf the sand dunes of Huacachina, fly over the Nazca lines, and catch a sight of Penguins at the Ballestas Islands. This trip alone can keep you occupied for weeks on end, but what most tourists don’t realize is that they are skipping one of the most fascinating Peruvian cities: Lima.
The capital of Peru is more than just a steppingstone to the attraction-filled south. Host to a cutting edge culinary scene and an abundance of cultural sites, there has never been a more exciting time to visit the city of Lima.
A visit to Lima must include a day in Miraflores, Lima’s premier tourist destination. Stroll along the boardwalk overlooking the Pacific Ocean and it’s pebbly beach, and make your way to the lighthouse. Join in with locals for a yoga class, Capoeira session, or just some lazy people-watching from the grassy lawn. Don’t miss out on the neighborhood’s pride and joy, Park Kennedy. Groomed on a daily basis, it’s easy to see where Miraflores gets its name!
Spend the afternoon in the artist district of Barranco. Here you can purchase some locally made crafts as you walk down the imposing staircase leading to the beach. Soak up the sun, but don’t forget your sunscreen!
As the sun starts to set, head to the city center for a bit of Chifa, the local Chinese/Peruvian fusion in Lima’s Chinatown district, and stroll through the large Plaza de Armas to catch a glimpse of Lima’s imposing governmental buildings.
As the night quickly approaches, end your day in the Rimac district with a visually thrilling light and water show at El Circuito Magico del Agua. This show contains 13 different fountains, each in varying shapes and sizes, which are accompanied by light and music. Cool off from the city heat as you race through each fountain’s swirling waters.
With a culturally rich history dating back far beyond the famed Incas, Lima is proud to educate visitors on their tumultuous past. Start off in the museum district in the center of Lima at the Mali, Lima’s renowned art museum. Here you can find clay vessels and artwork from native Peruvian tribes alongside modern collections of newspaper trimmings from the 18th century.
If you’re traveling with a younger set, you can’t miss the newly constructed Museo Metropolitano. An interactive journey through the history of the city of Lima, visitors experience volcanic simulations and 3D videos, as they experience firsthand the Spanish conquering over this Inca Empire.
Too loud for your tastes? Tiptoe through the deathly quiet underground tunnels of the catacombs in the Monastery of San Francisco. Dust covered piles of bones are arranged artistically, with tiny skulls peeking out from each corner.
With hundreds of unique dishes, each containing traditional fruits, spices, and flavors, you never need to eat the same thing twice in Peru. Enjoy lunch with the locals at Miraflores’s sandwich café, La Lucha. Try one of their juice combinations, and don’t be afraid of the mystery fruits on the counter. Add some Lucuma and Guanabana to your morning routine to really get some Peruvian flavor.
If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, then look no further than Manolo’s. Giving an equal sensation to wearing those iconic heels, this eatery is known for it’s mind-blowing churros. Choose from chocolate, vanilla, or dulce de leche fillings.
End your day with Peru’s national dish, ceviche, or set aside five hours for the dinner experience of your life. Diners at famed chef Gaston Acurio’s restaurant, Astrid Y Gaston are treated to the ultimate in cocina Peruana.
As part of Latin America, its no surprise that Peruvians love to dance all night long. Start your night at Munich, a local German style pub with it’s own piano man. Down a few pints and then practice your moves as you join the couples on the dance floor.
If you’re looking to continue your city tour at night, El Mirador is the spot for you. A nightclub in the center of Lima, this seven-story building offers different themed floors, and exceptional views.
For those beach lovers, dance the night away at Antiqua, a beachside club with confetti cans, salsa music, and a salty ocean spray in its outdoor lounge.
Leora is a freelance travel writer with an extensive background in fashion. A former executive for Burberry, she now comments on style around the world at An American Girl in Transit. Leora is most interested in the different definitions of beauty around the world.