High rises popping out alongside colonial facades, Lima took me by surprise. Miraflores is encapsulated with luxury condos while Barranco has maintained Lima’s historical and artistic vibrancy. To be honest, my expectations for Lima were pretty low as it was only a pit stop before Cusco, but it became much more than that. Filled with history, color, and culture, I found myself to be in amazement at every turn. As we walked along the coast from Miraflores to Barranco, Jess and I could not stop admiring all of the houses filled with so much character and color. We both agreed that a vacation home here would be perfect — with a seafoam volkswagon beetle to compliment it.
A city for everyone, you can walk along the coast and relax at the beaches, enjoy its thriving gastronomic scene with culinary tours, or spend the day in museums to learn more about the history of Lima. Jess and I did a little bit of everything, so here’s my guide on how to spend two days in Lima.
Peru is a gastronomic heaven with incredible coffee, so visiting coffee shops in Lima is a must.
Arabica Espresso Bar is nestled within the quiet Miraflores neighborhood with a small red door marking its entrance. The front of the cafe is really small, but if you venture further it opens up to a cozy outdoor space with a few tables and couches. This cafe has welcoming baristas, strong coffee, and delicious snacks. It’s a gem you don’t want to miss out on.
Walk along the coastal El Malecón
A six-mile stretch of parks along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, the Malecón is the perfect way to start off your morning in Lima. Start from the Faro La Marina and make your way down to the Larcomar for a nice 30 minute stroll. Stop by Parque del Amor (Love Park) for a colorful wall of mosaics inspired by Antoni Gaudí. Both of our airbnbs were close by, so we came here both days because the coastal scenery is truly breathtaking.
End your walk at the Larcomar, a shopping center built into the cliffside. You can enjoy breathtaking ocean views and catch the sunset. The Larcomar is a great way to kill time on your last day before you have to head to the airport.
Visit the Museo Larco
Housed in an 18th century mansion, Museo Larco has a notable collection of ceramics, textiles, and metal artifacts dating back to 3,000 years. One of the most interesting parts about this museum is that they allow visitors to walk around their storage room. The room is filled floor to ceiling with ceramics. It was really cool and a bit eerie walking down each hallway. My favorite part of the museum is its stunning garden filled with rare and beautiful plants. The garden itself is worthy of visiting. If you want to relax in the garden, there is a cafe and restaurant on the grounds.
eat, eat, eat
Lima is a thriving gastronomic city, with many of its restaurants on the Latin America’ Top 50 Restaurants list. From street food, ceviche, tasting menus, to culinary tours, there is an array of options to satisfy your taste buds.
In fear of getting sick, we opted out of street food (next time!). Unfortunately, we could not secure a reservation at Central, the best restaurant in Latin America. We settled for an equally renowned restaurant, Astrid y Gastón and did the Lima of All Bloods tasting menu. Holy shit it was so good. The highlight of the meal was definitely the wine and huge box of pastries and chocolates our waiter brought out at the end of our meal. We were able to take as much as we wanted, so naturally I sampled almost everything.
For ceviche, we headed to La Mar, the most well-known ceviche restaurant in town. We shared the ceviche sampler, la chalana (sampler of causas), and empanadas. To be honest, I don’t know what else to say except everything was so amazingly delicious and fresh. I’m not sure if I can eat ceviche outside of Peru anymore.
Pisco sours. Drink a lot of it. That’s all I have to say.
Aimlessly wander the streets of barranco
Barranco, Lima’s artistic neighborhood, is colorful, vibrant, fun, loud, and cool. This is where you can find an abundance of art galleries, artisan boutiques, hip bars, and trendy coffee shops.
Jess and I popped into an art gallery and boutique called Dédalo Arte y Artesanía. We ended up spending over an hour in here browsing and picked up a few amazing hand-made items. Dédalo is one of Barranco’s original artisan headquarters, and it has a picturesque back patio and café to relax at.
We ended our day in Barranco at BLU: il gelato del barrio. The gelato here is phenomenal — Italian in style with authentic Peruvian flavors.
Lima was the perfect juxtaposition to the insane seven days that would follow in Cusco. Take my advice on this: start and end your trip in Lima. It’s the perfect way to relax because there is too much to see in Cusco to stop and rest.
There is so much more to Lima that we did not have time to explore (walk around local markets, take cooking classes, go out in Barranco, etc), but I know I’ll definitely be back.
Stay tuned for more posts in my Peru Travel Series. Next up is all about Huacachina!
Watch my Peru Vlog Part 1 here:
Photos By: Elain T. and Jessica W.