We finally arrived in Lima, Peru, the first Latin American stage of our trip around the world! A dream that finally came true, and that didn’t come easy, since the trip from Australia was very long (more than 20 hours). We made a stopover in Santiago de Chile which reminded us a lot of our trip to Chile two years before!
We arrived at about 6pm in Lima, and during the flight we had met an Australian guy who proposed to take us in his car to our hotel (we told you that the Australians are very nice!). So we saw the place where we were going to sleep, and although we were a little shocked we were so tired that we took a shower and went to find something to eat nearby so we could go to sleep as soon as possible!
The next day was when we began our visit to Lima, capital of Peru. Lima has approximately 10 million inhabitants (one-third of the country’s population), and is the fifth largest city in Latin America. Most of its charm comes from its unparalleled location at the foot of the Andes and on the shores of the Pacific. Are you coming to discover Lima with us?
Where to sleep in Lima
It’s an excellent question haha! Well yes, for once we can not recommend a place to sleep since in Lima we chose the worst hostel of our entire trip around the world! So we advise against Casa del Mochilero, in the neighborhood of Miraflores. We still do not understand why it is so well-noted on TripAdvisor and Booking.com because honestly, it’s horrible! The cleanliness is mediocre, the room where we slept was basically a mattress and a tv, without even a small table or a fan.
There are only two bathrooms for 20 people, so you better run if you need to go to the toilet! The shower was hot once out of every four, one of the toilets was right next to our room and had a window that gave right onto our bed (Peruvian logic!) So we did not need to tell you that we were able to attend live showers and farts from 7 in the afternoon to 4 in the morning (and in fact a very nice lady had a beautiful diarrhea that we could hear and smell from the first row) … In short, we were disgusted. We recognize however that the owners were always available to answer our questions, but they were in their living room watching their TV blaring, so the privacy was nonexistent.
On the other hand, the neighborhood of Miraflores is very nice, but around the hotel there is nothing for a cheap dinner… it is a pretty expensive neighborhood.
What to visit in Lima
We were woken up early so we got up and went to visit the city before it was too hot. Let’s discover Lima in a few days!
Getting around Lima: Miraflores, Barranco, Centro
To get downtown we took the metropolitano (an express bus that has its own lane, which allows to reach the center in 15 minutes instead of an hour). We took it at Ricardo Palma station and got off at Girón de la Unión, right in the center. We had to buy a transport card for 5 soles (less than 2 €) and add our trips to 2.5 soles per person (less than 1 €).
The metro system is much faster than other bus lines, so you can get around a lot quicker if you take the big axes to visit the famous neighborhoods of San Isidro, Miraflores, Barranco and Centro.
What to see in the center of Lima
Once in the center of Lima we went for a stroll through the colorful streets of the historic center.
Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor
It is the most beautiful square we saw in Lima, right in the historical center of the city. It is said that the Plaza de Armas de Lima is one of the most beautiful in Latin America. If you look around the square, you will see the Government Palace of Peru, the Cathedral of Lima, the Church of the Sagrario, the Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, the Municipal Palace of Lima and the Club of the Union. The square was named a World Heritage Site.
We were fortunate enough to attend the change of the guard at 11:45 in front of the Government Palace. It was interesting but the sun was already hitting hard and we could not stay long. The Palace (which is also a World Heritage Site) is well guarded by the Cavalry Regiment.
A nice museum-shop dedicated to the Peruvian national drink, Pisco! We toured the interior because it was quite interesting. There is only one rule to remember: if a Peruvian asks you, the Peruvian pisco is always better than the Chilean!
Basilica and Convent of San Francisco de Lima
The basilica is the most important church in Lima, and has inspired the style of many other churches in the city and the country. Although the original constructions suffered damages due to several earthquakes, the complex is restored and today it is possible to visit it, including the catacombs!
Plaza San Martin de Lima
The Plaza de San Martín was chosen as the most representative square of the city of Lima, and we understood why! All white and with the libertador José de San Martín in the center, the square is a vibrant place all day long!
Calle Capón: Chinatown of Lima
A Chinatown in Lima? Yep! In fact the Chinatown of Lima is the third most important of all America, and the seventh in the world! There you will find shops, Chinese-Peruvian restaurants (called Chifa in Peru), and a large market. We were able to spend several hours there, it was pleasant and it reminded us a lot of our trip through China during our trip around the world!
Rímac: old Lima
On the other side of the Rimac River is the Rimac neighborhood, and above all the Calle Jirón Trujillo. Rímac (that in Quechua means “to speak”) is one of the most traditional districts of Lima. For us it was very nice to cross the bridge and see another version of the city!
Casa de la Gastronomía Peruana
It is a nice house next to the Government Palace, where we could make a free visit of an exhibition about gastronomy from Peru. Very interesting!
What to see in the neighborhood of Miraflores in Lima
The neighborhood of Miraflores is the second most visited by foreigners who come to Lima. With its beautiful walk on the cliffs (the malecon) and its views on the sea, it is a very modern and residential neighborhood of the Peruvian capital. We visited:
A small park dedicated to love that we found very pleasant, with a large statue representing two lovers. The style is clearly inspired by Gaudi, with its colors and the shape of the benches.
Malecon and Antonio Raimondi Park
A little further west from the Love Park, Antonio Raimondi Park is a large green space, known mainly because it’s from here that paragliders take off. You can hire a paragliding flight to do a few minutes with an instructor. However, be advised that that the organization depends a lot on the weather conditions. Head to the port toward 5pm-6pm and ask if you can take a ride! On the other side of the park is the famous lighthouse of the Marina.
The central park of Miraflores is Kennedy Park, a quiet place and at the same time alive. Here you will often find people dancing and outdoor exhibitions.
Larcomar Shopping Center
We recognize that the only reason we went to this mall is because of its beautiful views over the Bay of Lima. From here we took a colectivo (a private van that serves as an urban bus) to go to Barranco, the next neighborhood! We paid 1 sol per person (0.25 €). Ask the local people for help, they will help you find your colectivo and they will even tell you where to get off!
What to see in the neighborhood of Barranco in Lima
The neighborhood of Barranco takes its name from a large gap in the mountain that crossed it and through which ran the waters of the rain. Today the breach still exists, but it has been conditioned and turned into a nice walk!
Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs of Barranco was built in 1876, and united the two sides of the breach. Tradition says that you have to cross the bridge without breathing so that your wishes are fulfilled. Under the bridge passes the Bajada de los Baños, a pedestrian street through which fishermen used to get to the sea. Nowadays it is a nice walk down to the beach. Along the street we were surprised to see the colorful houses and all the street art.
Chocomuseo: The Chocolate Museum in Lima
If you have followed our trip around the world on our social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram, you will know that we had a great afternoon at the Chocomuseo, the Chocolate Museum. We will tell you everything in an article that we are preparing!
Where to eat in Lima
In Lima we tried several restaurants. Being vegetarian, we are going to propose only the restaurants that we liked, but do not hesitate to share your ideas and tips with us in the comments section!
Manantial Restaurant Vegetariano: here we tried the menu of the day, really cheap and two steps from the Plaza de Armas.
Italiano Donatello in Miraflores: an Italian not far from our hostel. We ate two very tasty pizzas and even a glass of sangria!
Super Rueda in Miraflores: a kind of cheap Mexican near the hostel. We do not have photos because we were exhausted after the trip from Australia, but we ate for very little money.
El Pan de la Chola in Miraflores: a trendy cafe we went to for breakfast one day. It is a bit more expensive than the rest of the restaurants on this list, but it was rich!
Café de Lima in Miraflores: the only restaurant we went to twice in Lima! We had dinner there twice, and we even went for coffee and juice another day. The service is impeccable, and the dishes very good and healthy, although a bit more expensive.
Restaurant Sabor y Delicias in Barranco: a tiny typical restaurant where we wanted to try a good vegetarian cebiche. Very good and really very cheap!
Conclusion of our stay in Lima
We spent a few days in the capital of Peru, and we can say that we had a great time! Although it took us a little time to get used to the Peruvian way of life (very different from Australia’s), we discovered a rich and mysterious culture that we liked! The next step of our trip would be in a totally different and much more natural place!