We visited Lima at the beginning and at the end of the trip, so this post will include both of those visits.
We arrived at Lima at night and after freshening up at the hotel we went to meet Hanna and Thomas who had arrived in Peru a couple nights ago. We met in a very trendy bar called Ayahuasca in the area of Miraflores, which is the high end area. A huge historic mansion from the late 1800’s has been restored into a gorgeous cocktail bar. We got a Pisco sour to start the night while we catch up on Thomas and Hanna’s past days adventures.
We then tried to get into Central, which is rated as the absolute best restaurant in South America and 4th in the world. Obviously, you need to have reservations in advance (which we tried unsuccessfully). They could not sit us that night but they had availability at the restaurant called Kjolle. Same chef, different menu, same location.
The food was absolutely incredible, every single dish was spectacular even though we didn’t know half the ingredients. Every single ingredient is 100% local to Peru… 10/10.
I think this was pork belly, perfectly cooked. After dinner, we went to sleep as we had an early start the next day,
We went to the airport to take our flight to Cusco, which was going to be our base to explore all the Sacred Valley. We did not have a good start when we realized Thomas could not find his passport. It did not help that Sarah was making a mess while eating and Eitan dropped his juice, making a huge mess on the floor’s terminal. Luckily this was the worst thing that happened on the trip.
Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca happened after…..
Now, back at Lima. We took a flight back for our last day in Peru. EVERY SINGLE PERSON that had traveled to Peru told us to skip Lima and hindsight we would have listened to them. But Sarah and Eitan always want to see the cities first hand and make our own opinion.
Lima has a population of more than 9 million, and it is the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the Americas.
Our first stop was to eat the most delicious ceviche. A local place in downtown where we were the only tourists.
Lima is a very dangerous city. Like very very dangerous. So we really kept our visit short by only visiting the touristy areas and some of downtown.
Although severely damaged by earthquakes, this ‘City of the Kings’ was, until the middle of the 18th century, the capital and most important city of the Spanish dominions in South America. Many of its buildings, such as the Convent of San Francisco (the largest of its type in this part of the world), are the result of a collaboration between local craftspeople and others from the Old World.
The historical center is beautiful and very similar to other Latin American cities.
The Government Palace, also known as the House of Pizarro, is the seat of the executive branch of the Peruvian Government, and the official residence of the President of Peru.
Unfortunately, they don’t let you inside, or outside, or anywhere near it. We were standing outside the gate waiting for an Uber and we got kicked out.
Have you seen this symbol before? It is the UNESCO’s Blue Shield. The marking follows the provisions of UNESCO and the 1954 Hague Convention, which adopted rules to protect cultural goods during armed conflicts after World War II. These included the use of the distinctive emblem to identify cultural and historic property protected by the Convention.
The old postal office still has this amazing Lion letterbox. It still bites.
A weird abandoned building.
Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on 12 May 1551, during the Spanish colonial empire, is the first officially established and the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.
We walked around the historical center for a few hours, but unfortunately, it did not offer much to see. At least not compared to other cities.
We visited the San Francisco Monastery but there are no photos allowed inside. It was very nice to see and there was absolutely no logical reason to not allow photos inside. This bright-yellow Franciscan monastery and church is most famous for its bone-lined catacombs (containing an estimated 70,000 remains) and its remarkable library housing 25,000 antique texts, some of which pre-date the conquest.
We sat down for a coffee and to rest our legs while Thomas was taking a chocolate-making class.
We visited Thomas to see how he was doing. Of course, he was having a blast as always!
For Dinner, we tried the unique restaurant Huaca Pucllana. This restaurant is overlooking these beautiful ruins. The Huaca Pucllana is a great adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD.
The food was good and because it was our last chance we tried many local dishes that we haven’t had a chance before! We tried Anticuchitos de corazón (beef heart skewers) and other weird stuff.
This was our last dinner together and Hanna and Thomas were kind enough to get the check. Tomorrow morning we were flying back to San Diego. A shout out to Hanna and Thomas who were absolutely amazing travel companions. We had an absolute blast with you and can’t wait for another adventure together,
And that’s it for Peru! An amazing country which is full of delicious food, nice people, and amazing sights. Everyone should visit at least once, but please, just skip Lima.
Bonus Pic of the Day: .Many English speakers know that playa means beach. In Peru, they also say playa de estacionamiento for a parking lot, and many parking lot signs simply say Playa. I was very confused at first when I kept seeing signs for the beach in the middle of the city.