Lima is a huge city. It’s not just a big city in Peru, it’s 2nd largest city in South America, 22nd in the world. I’ve heard often enough through research and from fellow travelers that Lima is not a great place to visit. But I disagree. I found Lima to be a fantastic place, full of art, great food and better friends. It’s a wonderful fusion of city and nature, art and industry. I spent a collective three weeks in Lima, and here are my favorite things about the city.
1. the food
Food in Peru has a reputation for a reason. The home-grown supply of fruits and vegetables are given international acclaim by talented chefs and a strong culture focused on food. Whether you have it in your mind to go to a number six best restaurant in the world or paying less than 3 USD for a 3-course lunch, your taste buds will be satisfied. My favorite restaurant was the cevicheria in Barranco, Canta Rana. The restaurant, amaz, was also amazing, featuring Amazonian dishes.
Barranco has street art and beach views.
2. explore barranco
Barranco is one neighborhood south of the popular Miraflores. And while I ventured to Miraflores often for shopping and nights out, Barranco is where I happily spent the majority of my days. I loved the coffee shops, the art galleries, the street art, the bars, the ocean views and the general vibe of life in Barranco.
My favorite coffee shops (for work + play) in Barranco are:
- La Bodega Verde
- Colonia & Co
- La Panetteria Barranco
3. if you must museum, go to museo larco
I dig museums, and I went to a lot more than just Museo Larco while in Lima. However, if I can only suggest one in all of Peru, I suggest Museo Larco. It’s a beautiful museum that’s well put together and has the largest collection of pre-columbian erotic pottery. So that’s fun.
See all the cats in Kennedy Park.
4. wonder around parque de la exposición
Parque de la Exposición was created in the 1870s for the Lima International Exhibition. During the 1970s, the park fell into disrepair, but was restored and expanded in the 1900s. It has museums, green space, cool architecture and dozens of things that go on any given day.
5. visit the skulls at basílica y convento de san francisco de lima
This church in Lima is beautiful, but there is a weird side to this San Francisco that is fantastic! In the bow of the basílica you can explore the inner workings of the catacombs. It is estimated that 25,000 bodies were buried in the crypts, and for s/.15 you can see all the skulls and bones for yourself.
6. visit huaca huallamarca and/or huaca pucllana
For a taste of old world Peru, check out Huaca Huallamarca or Huaca Pucllana for some pre-Colombian greatness.
Callao is the port area of Lima.
7. go down to callao and isla palomino
We ventured to Callao specifically to catch a boat out to Isla Palomino where one can swim with sea wolves. Callao, itself, was a gem worth visiting. The OG port city is colorful and has great, fresh fish.
8. explore miraflores
Miraflores is the well known area of Lima and beckons the attention of most tourists. My favorites of the neighborhood were Larcomar mall, which hangs over the cliff towards the ocean, Kennedy Park with all the cats and the Miraflores Indian Market.
Ocean views from Miraflores’ Larcomar.