Because our group opted to do two different hikes while in Peru, our time in Lima was cut short – not even a full two days – but we were able to take full advantage of the time we had, including a visit to the top-ranked Central Restaurante to experience Chef Virgilio’s tasting menu.
From an activities standpoint, the trendy, bohemian Barranco district is a must-see. Here are the main sites in the neighborhood that I’d recommend checking out. They’re all within easy walking distance from each other, so plan to spend a couple hours just wandering around the neighborhood – trust me, it’s worth it! Make sure you seek out the below spots:
- Plaza de Armas Barranco
- Biblioteca Municipal
- Bajada de los Baños
- Puente de Los Suspiros
And if you’re a beer fan, check out Barranco Beer Company for a flight!
Beyond Barranco, there are several other places you dont want to miss while in Lima:
- City Center (all of this can be done in an hour or two depending on how quickly you need to get moving, but if you have more time, keep it leisurely – there’s a lot to see in a small area, so spend some time really immersing yourself in Lima’s history):
- Plaza Mayor
- Palacio Municipal
- Palacio del Gobierno
- Catedral de Lima
- Convento de Santo Domingo
- Basilica y Convento de San Francisco de Lima
- Miraflores (same as City Center, you can do all of this in a pretty small amount of time, but if you’re a big market fan, plan to give yourself some time to check out the markets – maybe 2-3 hours total):
- John F. Kennedy Park
- Miraflores Indian Market
- Inka Market
- Mercado Artesenal
As for hotels, we stayed at Casa Cielo in Miraflores. The hotel was perfect for our group – it had a boutique feel but didn’t break the bank (~$100/night for a double), and the rooms were a good size by city standards. Note that rooms do not have AirCon, but there’s an internal courtyard that provides a nice breeze, and you can request extra fans from the front desk during check in.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if you are at all into food and find yourself in Lima, make a reservation at Central Restaurante (currently Number 6 in the world), so you can experience the tasting menu. It set us back about $125 for both the 17-course food tasting and the drink pairing. A similar caliber restaurant in NYC would cost upwards of $400, and Central was probably the greatest meal I’ve ever had in my life, so make sure you take advantage of this culinary dream. The menu is so unique, with foods and combinations you could only get in Peru. The restaurant offers two tastings, of which we did the larger, called the “Mater Elevations.” Each course features ingredients found at a particular altitude in Peru, from the Amazon (-10M) to the Andes (3900M). Other restaurants to check out are Chez Wong (take note of the hours before you go!), Maido, La Mar, La Cabrera (if you need a break from ceviche), and Amaz.
What are your favorite activities in places to eat in Lima?