Most of the people we met or spoke to before we headed to Peru, told us not to stay to long in Lima. It’s crowded, dirty, lot’s of traffic, unsafe,… lalala… sooo: but we had to stay longer, because of Michaela’s wisdom tooth. And glad we did so 😉 – it was a bit scary at first – because we’re not used to get stucked in traffic for hours and hours, but if you know when and where to go, the city is absolutely worth to give a chance, stay a couple of days there to explore it’s maybe hidden beauty. We stayed a week at first and then another 3 nights – so not to short right? ;))
Curios for some tips? Here we go…
Miraflores – the place everybody knows.
It’s the part of Lima where all the tourists stay, where all the expensive hotels are, where you’ll find lots of parks, sport-options, singing parrots, shopping opportunities, safe streets and, and,…
What we really recommend there?
El Malecón with it’s Parque del Amor.
Go for a walk along the coastline, the so called “El Malecón” with all it’s nice parks (about 10km prepared green to walk, rent bicycles, try parasailing, relax, be sporty, play tennis, look for some artsy sculptures, lighthouses…) and enjoy the view with all the surfers and sun-seekers down at the beaches. Our highlight was the romantic and colorful Parque del Amor. It’s design remembered us of Antoni Gaudí but it’s originally from Víctor Delfín.
End up at Larcomar.
And splurge a bit. You’ll find nice sunsets at the coast, cocktails, food, shops and all that touristy stuff.
Go and eat somewhere.
Try some local dishes. The best thing you can do. Not always go for that touristy restaurant – they’re really not as good as the local ones. And guess what: we never had stomach problems after the local one’s, but after the touristy one’s we experienced some troubles.
We’ve been to Punto Azul, which is recommended everywhere. But there are a lot of other options.
Be artsy fartsy at Barranco.
Wonderful place for art lovers. There are some really nice museums, craft shops, cute boutiques, creative artists, local markets, trendy coffee shops and nice streets to stroll around. There is also a nice park, street-music everywhere and even sea view above the coast. The MATE (Mario Testino Museum) we went to, was really stunning, with all those beautiful photographs and paintings. We stayed there longer than expected.
Visit the Historical Center.
- Church & Convent Santa Domingo
This was surprisingly interesting and worth to see.
- Plaza Major
Just nice strolling around there.
You cannot miss this one from the outside. We didn’t pay the entrance fee for inside, because we saw the other church, but maybe that’s also nice.
- Go to a Pasteleria
There is a hidden gem right in the center which is really good. We had empanadas, juices, coffee and Alfajores at Peru Caca0 – which is a specialty in Peru – made out of milk and sugar, cooked to caramel, filled in some fluffy pastry.
- Pedestrians Street
Walk along the pedestrians’ street. A lot of people, a lot of stores, keep an eye on your belongings, but was nice to see it.
- Drink a Pisco Sour at Hotel Boliviar
or somewhere else in the city 😉
- San Francisco monastry
we missed it – but it should be nice – with bones everywhere to see.
- San Cristobal Hill
Walk to the bridge and see the San Cristobal Hill – you can even drive up for the view when there is nice weather.
- If you have time in the evening, there is a water show in the middle of Miraflores and the historical center.
- What we really missed out, is going to the national theater. This would have been amazing. Next time, we definitely will.
Where to stay?
We stayed 3 night’s at a local family’s place in Villa el Salvador which was really, really nice and inspiring. We got loads of local dishes to try and enjoyed our time learning a bit more Spanish. The neighborhood was really interesting to see, lots of families live there and it’s pretty busy especially on the streets. You have all the mototaxis, collectivos and buses, but also a lot of trucks and cars. Don’t even think about renting a car there. The crazy part is, that you need about 2.5 hours! during rush hour from the airport to get there and about 1 hour to Miraflores. On those streets you have a lot of yummy food stalls and some restaurants. If you go there, you see way more of the everyday life than in the touristy parts.
We also had 6 night’s in popular Miraflores in a super cute guesthouse which was also pretty cool. There it’s a lot more quiet, modern and green. You’ll find all those parks and malls there and a lot of food options. Like another world, we’d say. Miraflores is a very good option regarding the location. Close to everything. Even the historic center, where we didn’t stay, but for sure went to visit, was reachable in about 20mins by a super cheap Uber. If you like parrots, Miraflores it also is for you.
Barranco is also a really, really nice place. It is an even more colorful, artsy fartsy place. 😉 We spend there a day, visited the market, some view points, the cathedral, and of course all the cool shops, coffee roasteries and art museums. We really enjoyed it.
We even went to the dentists (unfortunately because Ela had to pull out her wisdom tooth aua) for 3 times and did some grocery shopping in Surco (another part of Lima). At our second stay in Lima, we had to go more to the North to Los Olivos, to get some contact lenses out of the post office/ministry of health (which was a nightmare, but we did it). So we had parts of the real Lima, compared to the more touristy, business like and also the historic Lima.
So… to sum it all up (finally haha) we’d recommend you to stay in Miraflores.
We can really recommend this guesthouse (click to reserve it right here), which has a very good location. And if you want to see more of the real city, maybe you also have the chance to find a local family/homestay in another part – or go check it out for a day or so. If you want to be a bit further out of the touristy area, pick Barranco. You’ll love it.
How to get around?
We didn’t use them in Lima because the Uber was cheaper. But if you do so, check if you got an official one. And try to have coins ready. In Arequipa for example we always used them – it was always 7 Soles and we always got to the right place and had some nice conversations.
A really good option in Lima. There were plenty of them one around and it always worked fine. You can check the number and the driver and can pay with credit card.
From Miraflores it’s easy to catch a bus. Most of them departs from Kennedy Park. Cheap but it takes a bit longer than Uber. For travelling on a budget it’s a super option.
They work like in Mexico. You just give them a sign and they’ll stop. You have to read on the vans, where they go. It’s the cheapest option but takes longer, because passengers hop on and off everywhere on the road. But it’s funny – we do it often – just to see how the locals get around.
In some parts of Lima you even have Tuk Tuk’s like in Asia. It’s funny because they look different, but it works the same way. We checked them in the Sacred Valley.
There is one line from Villa el Salvador to the center.