Lima is the food capital of Peru and maybe even South America. So I was more than a little excited to hit up this city for a couple of days. I’d heard many mixed reviews before my arrival, from it being one of people’s favorite places in Peru, to ‘don’t bother’. So was looking forward to forming my own opinion. And I have to say, post the charm of Arequipa and the greenery of the Colca Canyon, being in a big city again wasn’t for me. However, I do think it’s somewhere you need to tick off your list, even if just for the incredible ceviche. So here’s what to do in Lima on a quick 48 hour stop over.
DAY 1 – MORNING | PAT CATS IN PARQUE KENNEDY
We stayed in Miraflores one of the most touristic areas of the city. Here you’ll find great cafes, ice-creameries and basically anything a traveler could want. It’s also really close to Parque Kennedy which interestingly haS been transformed into a sanctuary for stray cats. The locals feed them, play with them and they are vaccinated and looked after really well. You’ll find about 10 cats roaming around the park, sunning themselves and climbing trees. They are all really friendly, so for a bit of a novelty stop in for a cuddle on your way to your free walking tour.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: 30 mins | VERDICT: Must-do for cat lovers
DAY 1 – MORNING | WALKING TOUR
The Free Walking Tour Peru walking tour leaves from Miraflores twice a day (except Sunday’s ) at 10 am and 11 am. They’ll take you on a ride on the Metro, give you a good overview of the city and Lima’s history and tell you about some more interesting places to check out if you have more time. You’ll also get to do a coffee and Pisco tasting. Hurrah! As always I try to start my time in a new city with a free walking tour as I feel it gives you a great introduction to wherever you are. This was no exception.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free + tip | TIME NEEDED: 3 hours | VERDICT: Worth it for a quick overview of Lima
DAY 1 – AFTERNOON | MONASTERY OF SAN FRANCISCO AND ITS CATACOMBS
After a Menu Del Día at any of the local restaurants spend your afternoon clambering around the catacombs of the San Fransisco Monastery. This monastery built in the sixteen hundreds features some pretty incredible architecture and an awesome Harry Potter style library. While not as cool as the monastery in Arequipa it’s definitely worth checking out. Entry and a guided tour will set you back about $3USD and is worth it just to see and hear about the creepy history of the catacombs.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $3USD | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Worth it for the Harry Potter style library and if you haven’t been to the catacombs in Paris.
DAY 1 – EVENING | DINNER ON THE WATERFRONT
As I mentioned earlier, Lima is known for it’s food so we weren’t surprised when we stumbled upon Papacho’s in the swanky Larcomar waterfront mall. Papacho’s wouldn’t be out of place alongside Melbourne’s best casual eateries. I know, I know I’m totally biased, but Melbourne has the best food in the world, so I’m always going to compare it to everything! Head here for a taste of Modern Peruvian cuisine. They have everything from salads to steaks, but are most famous for their burgers. It’s the perfect spot to whet your appetite for a night on the town and isn’t over priced like some of Lima’s other restaurants. Speaking of food, if you’re on the hunt for vegetarian nosh check out A Vegetarian’s Guide To Lima.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $20USD+ | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Good for a relaxed dinner
DAY 2 – MORNING | TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE BEACH MALECÓN
Lima’s beach is not all that special. And definitely not one I’d recommend swimming in. However the views of the beach from the boardwalk along El Malecón are stunning and definitely need to be on your ‘what to do in Lima’ list. Pop on your activewear and take a cleansing walk along the cliffs to rejuvenate the sins from the night before.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Great if you need some fresh-air
DAY 2 – MORNING | BRUNCH AT EL PAN DE La CHOLA
Work off that hangover with a delicious brunch at El Pan De La Chola. While they are famed for their homemade bread, which is the best I’ve had in South America. It was the options like home-made pesto, hummus, goats cheese and smashed avo that I’ve been craving since I left home and made this place extra special for me. It doesn’t hurt that they make a mean coffee either!
QUICK FACTS: COST: $10USD | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Must-visit if you love brunch.
DAY 2 – LUNCH | EAT CEVICHE AT EL PUNTO AZUL
When wondering what to do in Lima eating ceviche has to be on your list. I’d had El Punto Azul recommended to me multiple times along The Gringo Trail so it would have been remise to visit Lima and not check it out. And Lima’s number one cevicheria did not disappoint. The service at this breezy and bright restaurant is second to none. And the ceviche is incredible. If you’re a foodie or ceviche fan this is a must-do. The prices are also pretty reasonable compared to the rest of Lima.
QUICK FACTS: COST: $15USD+ | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Must-visit for foodies
DAY 2 – AFTERNOON | ONE LAST COCKTAIL IN BARRANCO
Barranco is a thriving bohemian suburb set along the clifftops, With a number of cute bars and restaurants dotted around, spend the afternoon exploring the area before stopping for one last cocktail and a couple of photo opps.
QUICK FACTS: COST: Free | TIME NEEDED: 1 hour | VERDICT: Cute little spot for a stroll
WHERE I STAYED: DRAGONFLY HOSTEL. BUT I’D AVOID IT AS I CAME OUT WITH ABOUT 200 BED BUG BITES.
DAILY BUDGET: $35 USD
GETTING IN AND AWAY: ALL OF LIMA’S BUS STATIONS ARE SEPARATED BY COMPANY SO IT’S A LITTLE HARDER TO BOOK A BUS THAN IT IS IN THE REST OF PERU. REDBUS.COM IS A GOOD OPTION FOR ONLINE BOOKINGS, OR BOOK THROUGH YOUR HOSTEL.