Some time ago, a friend of Claudiaexpat’s son was going to Lima, Peru, on a short visit, and asked her what she thought he could not miss once there. Claudia gave her tips, and Mociexpat added hers. The result is the useful article you read below: keep it as a guide both if you are moving to Lima (lucky you!) or just passing by for a visit.
Not to miss in Lima:
The San Francisco Convent is an absolute must in Lima, it has one of the most beautiful libraries we have ever seen in the world, amazing Spanish tiles, and a general great atmosphere. For a period, it used to serve as cemetery, and many skulls and bones are collected and preserved in the underground; this can be a bit suffocating.
While you are in the centre, visit the surrounding Plaza de Armas with the Desamparado Station (it is on the way to San Francisco), which is old and quite charming.
Walk back to Plaza de Armas and keep the Cathedral on your back: all the little street you see in front of you after crossing the square are worth the while, they have plenty of historical buildings and scenic points.
Some names to give a sense of how to move around: Casa Courret, Casa Riva Aguero, Callejon de Petateros, and also look for the old post office building, there is a nice alleyway now.
The Hotel Bolivar is just 10 minutes walk from here, and is a charming historical hotel where famous Latin American actors and other personalities of the artistic (the Rolling Stones) and political world slept. Go to the bar and drink a Pisco Sour. It is quite famous!
While you are in the Centre, you can also visit the Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI, located in the Palacio de la Exposición, one of the best examples of Lima’s eclectic architecture.
Barranco is the most charming neighbourhood in Lima, the place where rich Limenians went to spend the summer, leaving their big palaces in the centre, and living in the many typical villas you can still find today in this lovely area. Here are ten things to do in Barranco, but there are many more, including a visit to Las Pallas.
You can also do some paragliding in Barranco. The views are magnificent.
You can have some of the best gelato in town, there are several famous ice cream places in the area: Blue, Crem dela Crem, Zacatecas, Bosco Magico, among others.
There are several cozy and beautiful coffee places to stop and rest in every corner.
Chorrillos harbour is right after Barranco (going south), and is a quick but very typical visit. In the morning, there is a fish market where you can chose your freshly fished fish and ask one of the eating stalls to make you a very fresh ceviche 🙂
A museum we love is the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, in Plaza Bolivar, Pueblo Libre. The museum is relatively small, so it gives you time to explore without getting tired. It hosts the original Raimondi Stele, an unmissable piece of the Chavin Culture.
This museum is in a lovely neighbourhood (Pueblo Libre), which has been restored and has served as pilot project for neibourhoods’ livelihood in recent years. After the museum you can go and have a bite or a bier at the Antigua Taberna Queirolo, please don’t miss it because it is an old and traditional Limenean tavern, where you can breath the atmosphere of long ago.
You can also stroll in the area around the museum and the taberna, it’s lovely.
Parque del Olivar in San Isidro, is a small and very elegant, charming parc, which contains secular olive trees. It is really a lovely break from the city, and a delightful place.
What Claudiaexpat always suggests to do (though her sons laugh at her) is to take the Mirabus: starting point is in Parque Kennedy, Miraflores (which in itself is a lovely place to visit, it is a round square with an interesting church, shops and at night a small art craft market and other varied initiatives (at Claudiaexpat’s time in Lima they danced tango on the square).
Many do not fancy the idea of seeing a city from a bus, but Lima is huge and not all of its areas are safe to walk around. The Mirabus tour is really comprehensive, and it allows to look at the city life from the top without having to worry about getting lost or having to take care of your wallet and stuff. If you decide to do the tour, take the one at dusk, it’s romantic!
If you have time, you can also go to Callao, an independent province attached to Lima. There, you can visit La Punta, a very nice costal neighborhood and Monumental Callao, the restored area of Callao, a neighborhood that used to be quite dangerous and that now has been remodeled and converted into an artistic area, full of wonderful street art by several Latin-American artists.
Where to sleep
In case you look for a place to spend the night in Lima, Quinta Miraflores is a wonderful hotel run by a dear friend of Expatclic. It is in the heart of Miraflores, one of the loveliest districts of Lima.
Where to eat
In order of price, starting from the most expensive:
Central, (expensive). Virgilio Martinez was awarded the Best Chef of the Planet
La Rosa Nautica, (expensive)
La Gloria, fusion and Peruvian cuisine, delicious
La Scena, cozy restaurant with live performances of a variety of artists (magicians, dancers, etc.)
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant, very close to a beautiful “huaca”
Pescados Capitales, an absolute must
Osaka, one of the best Japanese restaurants in Lima
Segundo Muelle, there are several all over Lima
Cala, right in front of the sea
Jazzone, in Miraflores, it is a lively jazz club with live music and a great atmosphere
Cocodrilo Verde, in Miraflores, you can eat, drink, dance…
La Noche, this is a great place in Barranco, an old typical Barranco house that develops on several levels, you have a bar, live music, performances…
Cohiba Cuban Club, to dance the best salsa
Photo Credit ©Claudiaexpat