A Day or Two in the Capital of Peru

1 Apr

The first destination of my South American journey was the capital of Peru – Lima!

Now, I’m no expert when it comes to backpacking. I’m just beginning to understand the best ways to travel. So, I gave myself 6 days to explore Peru’s capital. If you’re going on a trip around the world for an long time then you probably want to stay in each place you visit for an extended period of time. But, when you have limited time then you definitely do NOT need 6 days in Lima. After one day of exploring I was ready to move on.

My volunteering was scheduled to start on August 2nd. Peru’s Independence Day is July 28th so I decided I would arrive in Peru a week before my volunteering because I definitely wanted to be in Peru on this day. To be honest, it wasn’t really a huge deal in Lima. There was a setup with decorations in a park downtown and few balloons scattered here and there, but it wasn’t really anything as big as I thought it would be. AND prices were jacked up for the whole week because of this one day, which sucked. The only celebrating I really saw for this day of independence was at a club where there were red and white skinny balloons floating around. There were also fireworks that I saw from inside my cab which was awesome! (Click here for the video!).

Anyway…

The majority of people I talked to about Lima decided that they didn’t like it. I can see why. It’s full of tourists and there’s really not much to do or see. It’s very commercialized. The weather is crap (it is NEVER sunny). But to be honest, even though 2 days in Lima was enough for me, I really liked it, especially the district of Miraflores.

Here’s some things that you should do or see if you’re spending a few days in Lima:

1.) Pizzeria Alley: This uniquely decorated alley is filled with cheap food and restaurant employees yelling out “Come to my restaurant and I’ll give you free drinks” “No, come to my restaurant and I’ll give you 4 for 1 drinks. Happy hour all day!” It is located in the district of Miraflores just off of the central Parque Kennedy.

Pizzeria Alley (Somehow, it's very enchanting at night)

2.) Parque del Amor: The Love Park. If you’re traveling with a loved one definitely come here. Hell, come here even if you’re on your own. It’s so cute and hilarious and just something you would never find in a lot of places, like here in Canada. The park is right on the coast, so the view is great.

The oh-so-hilarious Parque del Amor

3.) Paragliding: If you have room in your budget definitely go paragliding. The company that I went with was located along the coast as well. I can’t exactly remember, but I think it was about $35, which is a lot cheaper than it would be here in Canada. It was a great way to see all of Lima (Click here for the video!). However, it was a little chilly way up in the air so wear a jacket!

Paragliding in Miraflores

4.) Downtown and Museums: The downtown area (Callao) was a very bustling place. People everywhere are trying to sell things to you (but that’ll happen everywhere you go in South America). If you like museums then downtown is the place for you. I went to Museo de Arte with a friend I met. It was… interesting. There was some interesting interactive art pieces, like a sculpture that you could paint on! There was also this really bizarre video clip section and one of them was of a naked women on the beach hula hooping, but you couldn’t see her face or legs and the hula hoop was made of barbed wire that was cutting her stomach. Very bizarre and definitely not something I was into at all. Also, the buildings downtown looked very colonial, which I thought was very beautiful.

Painting in Museo de Arte. What did I paint? My name. Very original, I know.

5.) The food: There’s a reason why Lima is the gastronomic capital of the Americas – the food is absolutely fantastic. In downtown Lima I had my first Peruvian meal and it was by far the best I had of the whole trip. I wish I could tell you the name of the restaurant, but it actually had NO name! It was a tiny little, crappy-looking, run-down place, but it was amazing. I can tell you what I got though – Lomo Saltado. Definitely try it! I had it about 50 more times during my trip, but nothing was as good as the one I had in downtown Lima.

Great food, great beer... what more could you ask for?

6.) Barranco: This is a district not too far from Miraflores. We went there on the night of Peru’s independence to a random Peruvian club and it was such a blast! The drinks were incredibly cheap. I know the Lonely Planet suggests this one club, La Noche, that everyone knows about, but don’t go there. The cover charge was ridiculously priced and the drinks were way too expensive. Taxis will be more than happy to take you to Barranco for a cheap sum so definitely try going there one night. And, when you get back to Miraflores afterwards? Don’t fret, because there’s a McDonald’s to satisfy your drunken cravings!

My new hot German friends in one of Barranco's many clubs

Just to give you an idea of how I spent my days in Lima…

Day One: After eating breakfast, I explored Lima’s downtown area where I walked around the Plaza de Armas, visited the Museo de Arte, and ate the best meal of my entire trip. After returning to the hostel at around 5 pm, me and some friends went up to the rooftop bar and had our first pisco sours! For dinner, we headed over to Pizzeria Alley (about a 4 minute walk from Hostel Kokopelli). Then we came back to the bar and partied there for the night and made some plans for the next day with some new friends.

My first pisco sour!

Day Two: After breakfast, three new friends and I headed over to the coast to see Parque del Amor. After that we decided to go paragliding. Then we walked along the coast for a little longer and saw the lighthouse up close. After that, we went to the Larcomar (This is a mall that was along the coast. Don’t go there unless you want to eat terribly overpriced food. If you want a taste of home, like Ruby Tuesdays, then by all means…) for food, but decided it was too pricy. We walked back to the centre of Miraflores and ate at a cheap restaurant (Note: Many restaurants have set menus for about 15 soles [~$6] which includes a drink, appetizer, main course and sometimes even a dessert!). Afterwards, another girl and I decided to go wandering around the city to find an artesan market… we got lost. However, we eventually found it and it was huge and colourful and cheap! Once we returned to our hostel we ordered a pizza to the rooftop bar, played some King’s Cup, made some more new friends and headed out to Barranco for some dancing! The night ended in McDonald’s, of course.

???

And then the next day…

My friend J-Lo and I were off to Huacachina!

So, is Lima all that bad? I didn’t think so. I had a lot of fun in Miraflores. It felt really safe and comfortable. The food was cheap. The hostels were cheap. The nightlife was awesome. And last but not least, It had desserts called – I kid you not – ‘Bacon of Sky.’ I tried to order it, but they were sold out!

!!!

What did you think of Lima?

If you want to see some more pictures from Lima click here or the flickr icon on the home page!

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