Lima is a city that may seem like a cement jungle from the outside but there are definitely some undiscovered gems in the city, if you're willing to explore. If you want to see the best sunsets it is definitely better to come in the summer since the winter is pretty grey, chilly and humid. Lima offers a bit of everything from colonial structures to modern malls and hands down some of the best food in South America (I know, bold claim).
The Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros) in Barranco is a wonderful spot to enjoy all the little shops and artwork in Barranco. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also very nice and located in Barranco as well. But any stay in Lima must include a trip to the city centre! There are a number of beautiful churches located in the centre, and you can 'jironear' as they say here which means go on a walk around the streets that are called jirones.
Alternatively, if you have $75 USD spare and like adventure, I highly recommend paragliding along the Miraflores coast. The views are fantastic and it is quite an adrenaline rush.
Where to shop?
You can find most modern comforts now in Lima as there are plenty of shopping malls including LarcoMar Mall, located on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Miraflores. You will find most stores are pretty expensive but there are luxury alpaca and Peruvian handicrafts for sale there.
If you are looking for more of a bargain there is a large handcrafts market in Miraflores (pictured) and there are plenty of stores in the center of Lima that you can find Peruvian goods in as you jironear (go for a walk around the centre) If you are looking for groceries just head to any Plaza Vea, Metro, Vivanda, or Wong and you will find what you need.
Where to eat?
Peru is known for its gastronomy and when you are here you cannot miss out on trying ceviche and criollo food. For wonderful ceviche and good seafood dishes, I highly recommend going to Javier in Barranco - their ceviche and chicharron de pescado (deep-fried fish) is great. It is on the way down to the beach if you go under the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros).
For good fusion and criollo food that is reasonably priced, Tanta would be a good choice. Aji de gallina tequeños are a delicious appetizer and it's one of the chef Gaston Acurio’s restuarants. For delicious gelato I like to go to Crem de la Crem in Barranco where you can try lucuma ice cream. Lucuma is a delicious fruit native to Peru and tastes kind of like sweet potato but sweeter! Palettas Peru is another really delicious artisanal ice cream option that can be found at most major malls including Plaza Lima Sur in Chorrillos, Jockey Plaza in Surco and Balta Shopping in Miraflores.
Of course, if you are looking for the standard roast chicken joint, a trip to Norky’s or Pardo’s Chicken is definitely in order.
There is a park circuit through San Borja that is really beautiful and can be experienced on the bicycle share program that the district has instated. There is also a park called Parque de la Amistad or Friendship Park located in Surco, it is right off of the Panamericana highway and is often missed by tourists. The park has a train you can ride for 6 soles and a large pond with paddle boats. There is an eating area where many Peruvian delicacies from all over the country can be enjoyed and there is a large playground for children.
A tip before you go
I have a few because they are all important! Make sure to keep track of your immigration slip as you will need it when you leave. Bring lots of sunscreen because the radiation is very high and sunscreen is expensive here. Finally, always keep a pack of tissues on you as you never know when you might not find toilet paper in a bathroom.
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