Travel

Nine Awesome Things to do in Lima

A friend got married in Lima and invited Bertrand and I. Of course we went, and we had an amazing time.

Bertrand and I hadn’t taken a vacation together without the kids since Jasmine was born. Somehow, we convinced my parents that watching a two-year-old and a four-year-old for eleven days wouldn’t be an imposition, so we were able to travel to Peru on our own without rugrats.

Neither of us had ever been to Latin America or spoken a word of Spanish, but we found Peru to be incredibly welcoming and easy to navigate as tourists. We had an amazing time and ate some credible food! Here are the highlights of our stay in Lima.

Ceviche

SRSLY EAT CEVICHE. If you eat nothing else in Peru, make sure you stop by a cevicheria and enjoy a plate of this amazing raw fish cooked to perfection by marinating it in lemon juice. We had it several times, the best of which were at Canta Rana (so good we came back and ate there a second time) and the Mercado Central, or central market.

Ceviche at Canta Rana
Ceviche at Canta Rana

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Yes, raw fish as street food. SRSLY DO IT NOW

Mercado Central

There’s no better way to get to know a city by peeking into the way it’s inhabitants buy, prepare, and enjoy their food. Our tour guide was surprised by our desire to wander through the market, but once we realized that we were serious about sampling the fruits, cheeses, and olives on display, he relaxed and took us on an amazing tour.

Cheeses at the Mercado Central, Miraflores, Lima
This cheese vendor was confused when we wanted only a tiny taste of his cheese and olives (below). We finally convinced him to let us sample his wares and they were delicious.

Meats at the Mercado Central, Miraflores, Lima

Olives at the Mercado Central, Miraflores, Lima

at the Mercado Central, Miraflores, Lima
Ceviche at the Mercado Central in Lima, Peru

Cathedrals

Lima (and Peru) is full of cathedrals. Bertrand and I have lots of words about the Spanish using religion as a force for subvert indiginous power structures for the good of colonialism. Yes, we are those asshole tourists that look at a church and be like, “Man, that gold sure could have fed a lot of people.”

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Despite that, the cathedrals are beautiful. And interesting. And full of fascinating art depicting the suffering and woe that came with being a devout Catholic in previous centuries.

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Tasting menu at Central

The tasting menu at Central isn’t just to show off Gastón Acurio’s mastery of his native Purvian cuisine. Each dish is designed around ingredients from a specific elevation at a specific place. From seaweed to quinoa to chocolate to alpaca, the food was delicious and interesting. Bertrand and I both thought the food was good, but more importantly (because we also think that grilled chicken from a street food vendor is good), we also appreciated the thought and care that went into preparing a menu that highlights the diversity of Peruvian ecology, culture, and cuisine.

Tasting Menu at Central

 

Kitchen at CentralThe chefs at Central were kind to take a photo with us!

Street art

Miraflores and Barranco are wealthy and touristy neighborhoods, no doubt, similarly to downtown London and New York. However, they both also have a rich tradition of art, particularly Barranco, which was an enclave for both Peruvian and expat artists at the turn of the 20th century.

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Human-sized ant in Barranco, Lima

Art! Eveywhere!

The Pacific

Bertrand had never done it. So he did. I thought he was out of his goddamned mind. On our way out of Peru, we spend a night in Barranco. After dropping our bags at our hotel (it was beautiful but insanely awfully noisy and I won’t link to it here), we took of in search of the Pacific. After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the beach. It was overcast and beautiful and cold.

Pacific Ocean in Lima, Peru

Like I said, out of his goddamned mind.

Larco Museum

The Larco Museum was a quick look at the history of Peru and art in Peru. It was well laid out and beautiful. For Bertrand and I, who were only able to visit Lima and the Sacred Valley, it was a useful orientation to the history of the region and where the Inca Empire was situated in it.

Larco Museum, Lima, Peru

Larco Museum, Lima, Peru

Larco Museum, Lima, Peru

Also interesting was the room of erotic art downstairs near the cafe.

Larco Museum, Lima, Peru

Huaca Pucllana Ruins

The Huaca Pucllana Ruins are pre-Columbian (and pre-Inca) ruins sitting in the heart of Lima. They’re over 1500 years old and awe inspiring in their detail and earthquake resistant construction. Bertrand and I enjoyed the tour, then returned a few days over for a mind-blowingly good dinner as part of the wedding festivities. Like Central, the Huaca Pucllana restaurant focused on turning local traditional dishes into haute cusine. They were succesful and the food was delicious.

Huaca Pucllana Ruins, Lima, Peru
By Day
Huaca Pucllana Ruins, Lima, Peru
By Night

Self-catering with Peruvian specialities

At the end of our several day stay in Lima, Bertrand and I were restauranted-out, cathedraled-out, touristed-out, and just plain tired. We both needed a quiet evening before heading to Cuzco bright and early the next morning.

We hit up a grocery store and picked up several prepared dishes of Peruvian specialities. Beans, rice, salad, fried pork, aji, and of course, Peruvian wine.  It was a perfect end to our stay in Lima.

Self-Catering in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

 

Nine Essential Sights in Lima, Peru

14 thoughts on “Nine Awesome Things to do in Lima

  1. “Yes, we are those asshole tourists that look at a church and be like, “Man, that gold sure could have fed a lot of people.””

    OMG YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN ME AT THE VATICAN.

  2. Wow!!! awesome post!! I just sent it to a friend flying to Peru in 13 days! Sure she will take the opportunity to eat that tasty ceviche and get lost around Lima!! Thanks for sharing! E

  3. I haven’t been to Latin America yet. The journey to any country there, from the UAE takes nearly 24 hours! I’ve been dying to tick the 6th continent off my list! Peru looks amazing. Love the street art & that ceviche. OMG you almost made me imagine the taste!.

  4. HI! This made me want to go so much! You mostly got me on food ( hahaha) thank you i ll definitely pin this ! A friend of mine is moving to Lima and now know what to do thank you!!!

  5. I’ve heard that the ceviche is to die for… Definitely gotta give that a go if I end up in Peru. Did you happen to try guinea pigs? Love how your lists consists of food – didn’t realise that Peru was a big foodie’s destination! Definitely looks like you enjoyed yourself there and great list :)

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