The best ways to enjoy Lima
by Angelica Arteaga
You wouldn’t believe it. I didn´t at first. Everybody told me that Lima was grey and awful, depressing actually. I got here last year on January 18 and I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. A beautiful city with the most beautiful sunsets ever.
I have to tell you something, people rarely know about Lima. They think that all there is to Peru is Machu Picchu. And most tourists are losing a great opportunity to discover a great city with a great history and lots to eat, walk and enjoy.
The real Lima
My first impression of Lima was a very organized city it was a Spanish Viceroyalty until 1810 and it has a great history that you can enjoy going to the numerous museums and cathedrals all over the city. Of course, Lima has a lot of problems (like the rest of Latinamerica) but if you circumscribe to the safest districts (Miraflores, San Isidro, some Barranco, and some Chorrillos) you are going to have a really great time here.
There are a lot of different districts in Lima you can see. From one million dollar houses in San Isidro (not kidding) to little houses with no roof in Independencia District (not kidding either). The reason for not putting roofs into their houses it´s because it never rains in Lima.
The weather in Lima
There are four official seasons in Lima like any other part of the world. We have, summer, autumn, winter, spring. But it´s always a little bit different the summer it´s in December and the winter in August. Also (nobody will tell you this) in real life there are only two seasons: hot and cold.
There´s a peculiarity in Lima, there are “micro weathers” and this only the locals will concur with, you can find a splendid sun going to La Molina district on July at 1 pm, and thick, cold fog at the same time in Miraflores. It´s strange but it´s also fun to watch and enjoy the changes from one place to another.
Taxis vs. Public transportation
I have to talk to you about how to move across the city of Lima. There are many options for moving to one place to another in the city.
- Public Buses and “Combis”
The buses and “combis” (little buses) in Lima are my least recommended form of transportation. If you are not in your best physical shape avoid getting into public transportation. It´s quite a ride. The drivers are always trying to beat every other driver (in the world?) and they just don´t care about the unit and who´s inside, it´s like a roller coaster from hell… with no seat belt!
Bottom line, if you enjoy the adrenaline and the rush you can do it and it will allow you to see very much of the streets and the city amenities an places to visit for almost no money.
Taxis are the safest way to move around the city, plus they are very cheap. If you´re not up to the ride of the buses and combis, please use an app to get a cab (if you take it in the street ALWAYS negotiate your fare or at least compare it to your favorite taxi app). They are in every street and every corner and they´re always trying to get new passengers attention by honking repeatedly.
The “Metropolitano” it´s the closest thing you´ll find to a subway in Lima. Except it goes all the way above the ground. It goes from end to end at a very cheap fare (approx. less than an American dollar). You can see in Google maps all the stops and choose the one nearest to your destination.
The Miraflores “Malecón”
Miraflores! We are back into wonderful Miraflores. This is where my home is now and it´s a really big district. But, the most amazing thing I want to talk to you about today is: El malecón.
“El Malecón” (The Pier) it´s located at a cliff over the Pacific Ocean. You can feel the ocean breeze in the summer and watch unforgettable sunsets, that change every day. I promise: You won’t find two equal sunsets on a summer in Lima. It´s actually considered one of the best four ¨Malecones¨in Latinamerica, after “El malecón” in Habana, Cuba'>Cuba and two others in Mexico.
You can walk all the “Malecón” for hours and never get tired. Here´s another thing that´s really great about Lima, there are no hills, it´s almost totally flat, so you can walk all the city from one end to the other easily. But in the “Malecón” you can stop, sit on a bench, get into a Mall (Larcomar), and get into Barranco (the bohemian district) by foot.
The summer in Peru begins officially on December 21st until March 21st, but it isn´t until January when you can actually enjoy the summer at it´s most. The weather 1 pm is as unusual as the rain in Lima. E.g. In January I wear my shorts during the day but my winter scarf during the night. I think it just takes time to understand new weather in a new country. But it´s definitely the summer my favorite season of all, when the vitamin D from the sun makes you want to jump for joy (remember there are six months of a gray, ugly sky with no rain or sun).
Enjoy a coffee and a view of the Pacific Ocean
During the summer I especially recommend you a little cafe over the Miraflores Malecon called “Buenavista café“. It was one of the first places we visit when we got here. It´s pet-friendly so I go every chance I have with my little Schnauzer Ali to enjoy a cup of tea, a salad, or a “Salchipapas” (I will talk to you all about this delicious plate on some other post). For our little friends they put plates with water on the floor (I really love that).
Like this “cafe”, there are a lot of places to enjoy with or without an ocean view. Lima it´s the gastronomical capital of the world. But, I feel I have to warn you, there are many many places that had lots of recognition in the past and nowadays their just not that good. If you don´t like the typical Peruvian food, there are always the classic alternatives like the American burger, pizza, pasta or chicken. My favorite not typical so far it´s the Chaufa rice.
So if you are coming to Lima, on your way to Machu Picchu anytime soon, take the time, stay for a few days and enjoy all the wonders Lima has for you.