Best Places to Visit in lima, Peru
January 23, 2019
by Dennis Kirchner
Lima, the capital of Peru. Located on the edge of the Andes mountains and on the coast of the Pacific ocean. Due to its location, Lima is the perfect spot to start your trip along the “gringo trail”. During the two months I lived in Lima, I fell in love with the city. The food, the people and the culture took me in and showed me all that Lima has to offer. Lima is often considered a dirty, noisy city with lots of crime. This is partially true, like any big city. However, this article will help you to get the best and most out of your trip to one of Peru’s hidden gems.
Best food in Lima
Lima is called the food capital of South America for a good reason. In the list of 50 best restaurants worldwide, made by Forbes. Lima secures three spots in the list. Two of those restaurants are even in the top 10! If you are planning to go to Lima and enjoy the experience of eating in one of these top list restaurants, make sure to make your reservation months in advance. These and other high-end restaurants around the city are very popular among short term travelers and food lovers so it can take a while to secure a spot at one of their tables. Another way to get in quick is to make a reservation for lunch instead of dinner. The waiting lists for lunch tend to be shorter and the food is just as good.
Eating ceviche in Lima
For those who don’t have the time or the budget, Lima has lots of amazing restaurants and local dishes to offer. Try for example the freshly made ceviche in the Mercado no.1, or the mix of Peruvian and Japanese sushi at KO Asian kitchen. Both are located in the district of Miraflores and offer amazing food for backpacker prices. So, what is ceviche exactly? Ceviche is a dish made out of raw, white fish meat, marinated in lime and onion. It usually comes with sweet potato and corn to balance the flavor. Ceviche is one of the most popular dishes in Peru and is often eaten by the Peruvian people. Mercado no.1 is definitely the place I recommend to go for ceviche. It is cheap, good and you eat with the locals on the market.
Alternative food options
In Lima, it’s possible to get a good meal for under 2 dollars! Go where the locals go. Don’t be surprised if the menu offers few choices. Which is mostly a dish with chicken and rice. That’s the way the locals eat. it’s cheap, simple and tasteful. More into fast-food? Lima has the solution. There is an app called Domicilios to have the pizza delivered at your hostel front door.
What to see in Lima
Lima has several must-go areas that are worth a visit during your stay in the city. The highlight for me is still the district of Barranco. This old district in the southern part of Lima is mostly known for its street art and laid-back hippy culture. In this small neighborhood, you will find streets full of locals and travelers selling handmade jewelry. There is no better place to wander around and check out some of the best street art in Peru. In the evening, Barranco turns into a place with a bustling nightlife, offering everything between salsa nights and techno raves in one of the many clubs. Inside tip: BarBarian, located in the center of Barranco has some of the best craft beers in Lima.
This district is located right next to Barranco and is one of the wealthier parts of Lima. During my stay in Peru, this was the place I called home. Most of the hostels and travelers can be found in this part of the city. Mostly because it is one of the safer and beautiful areas in town. Located at the coast, the district of Miraflores is a good place for surfers. Beach lovers might get disappointed though, the beaches of Lima are mostly covered in big rocks and are not suited for sunbathing. If you are not into surfing, Miraflores also has amazing parks to offer. Right in the center lies Kennedy park, named after John F. Kennedy. Around the park, you will find dozens of restaurants, shops and markets. In the evening, this park turns into a market itself where you can find all sorts of stuff. From jewelry to art. occasionally, dancing parties are held for the older local community. Something you have to see for yourself.
Sunset in Lima
Travelling is for most people about relaxing so, another great spot to visit in Miraflores is the love park on top of the cliffs that Lima was built on. During the day, this is the perfect spot for a paragliding trip over the city or your daily sports activities. At dawn, there is no better place to watch the sunset with beers and friends. Every evening, the park is full of people to watch the sunset and paragliders. If you want to get the best sunset pictures, this is the place to go.
If you stay in the district of Miraflores or Barranco, which I recommend, it can be quite a hassle to get to the center of Lima. The public transport in the city is not bad but, it takes some time to get all the right busses. Uber might be a better option, although it’s a little more expensive. Once you finally get downtown, you can pay a visit to the royal palace and roam through the old streets and huge indoor markets. My personal favorite was a visit to La Cathedral, the place where the first pisco sour cocktail was invented. Pisco sour is a Peruvian/ Chilean cocktail that is definitely worth a try. You can order it in every respectable bar and once you’ve tried it, there is no way back… trust me. Every evening, there is a water fountain show called “THE MAGIC WATER CIRCUIT” at the Parque de la Reserva in downtown Lima. You don’t want to miss that one. For a few dollars, you get access to the park where you can chill on the field, have a drink and enjoy the light and water show.
Where to stay in Lima
Like earlier mentioned, Miraflores and Barranco are the best places to go. My stay in Miraflores was perfect and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It felt relaxed, had a good vibe and it is located close to everything you need during your stay. I have seen several hostels during my time there but, the one I enjoyed most was Hostel Alpes Lima. With a reasonably priced bar and lounge area on the roof, good beds and friendly staff, this was by far the best place I have been in Lima. Make sure you book it a few days in advance though, since they are full most of the time. Many hostels in Lima take in volunteers to work for food and accommodation. Helpful, if you want to stay longer and maintain your budget.
Tips for staying in Lima
Uber is big in Lima. Used by locals to make extra money and even by taxi’s to get more clients. An Uber is around the same price you would pay for a normal taxi but, especially at night, an Uber can provide a bit of extra safety. Robberies in taxies are not uncommon so, when you use Uber, at least you decrease the risk of incidents and your driver will be registered.
All I can advise you is to give yourself the time to discover Lima. I have to admit, when I first arrived, I wasn’t a big fan of the city either but, the longer I stayed, the better it became. I have lived there with the travelers that DID take their time to discover more than the surface. After great times together, all of us were sad to leave. Lima is a place that asks for time before she gives up her secrets. Give it that time to get to know each other and you shall not be disappointed.