Whenever I thought about Lima, Peru’s vibrant capital, I merely had the passing thought that it must be ‘miles away’ and have very sunny weather given it’s in South America. Never did I imagine I’d be falling in love with the bustle that blossomed from every corner of the city centre, the smooth aroma that would fill every indie coffee shop, snug between buildings of all the bright colours you could imagine; like a Dulux tester card.
If your travel bug is telling you Lima is the one to choose, grab a pen, grab a pad and prepare. This post is going to include some suggestions on where you’ll want to snooze, snack and sight-see in the city that is filled with beauty, history, culture and more…
I arrived into Lima after a smooth, 12-hour flight from Gatwick (via British Airways). Along the way, in between small and gentle flurries of turbulence, I became pals with a welcoming and down-to-earth couple who were also long-haul newbies. We sipped on G&T, discussed films after each viewing and within hours, we knew the basics about each other. Until this day, I still keep in contact. It was a heart-warming bonus for sure.
The arrival process was not dissimilar from the usual routine of traipsing down endless corridors for baggage, anticipating every suitcase on the belt may be yours, finished by smiling (but not too much) at the judgmental gate that is truly known as passport control. The only exciting difference from the usual European city venture was being given a passport stamp; my first one.
The drive to the city centre was around 40 minutes. The taxis are awaiting your arrival in a plentiful amount. But it is paramount to be careful at which taxis you are getting into. Many drivers will approach you at the exit, but stick to officially licensed vehicles or, as I did, an Uber! Either way remain vigilant of your surroundings and luggage. You want to start your city adventure with all your glad rags in tow!
As the journey trailed along the glistening, coastal edge of Lima, excitement and disbelief engaged. I had somehow zipped from the minimal joys of Gatwick to the stunning, evening view of Lima’s shore. Admittedly, some of it was super steep.
Sleepy from hours of travelling, but marvelling at the eclectic array of architecture that the streets showcased, we arrived at our accommodation for the duration of the city stay. Hostal Alpes is located in Miraflores and has two locations. We stayed in their set of rooms, ours was a bougie double for the cheap price, that nestled itself just around the corner from the iconic Plaza Kennedy; more on that in a sec!
For a double room per night, it settled at around £26.
The hostel had all the necessities for the cheap price it provided. For a double room per night, it settled at around £26. And not forgetting this was inclusive of wifi and the high-rise balcony that was scattered with neon-pink beanbags and wicker sun loungers; perfect enough to hold your face to the **hot** sun! It was pleasant to wake up early and rest back, book at the ready, listening to the traffic picking up the pace in the streets below. You could choose to have breakfast made in the mornings too; this is where I became particularly enthused.
I have ALWAYS been a breakfast person and it was thoroughly pleasurable to recognise the absence of a table of silver, buffet trays. The type that is filled to the brim with whatever breakfast item you crave, but very cold, due to being left out for the duration of the 7-11pm window that breakfast is. Not at Hostal Alpes! You are shown to a table in the petite kitchen, where eggs on toast (a legendary brekkie for all!) are readily made for you, along with Peruvian coffee that is as velvety as the pair of trousers you purchased for the Christmas do. Another luxury treat is the fact that after a long day of filling your tourist boots, you can be an observer of the rich and glowing sunset.
Now you are settled, what to do?
What is the first thing you want to do after dedicating the last 24 hours to travel and unpacking? Eat, of course. Now, it has to be made crystal clear that Lima has an exquisite array of places to feast your chops on. But a particular stand-out place to visit is the most delicious sandwich shop I have ever stepped foot in; La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla
With a retro edge and customer service providing grins that stretch wider than the ol’ Cheshire cat, just ordering one of their many tastebud-tingling masterpieces is an enjoyable experience. Shaded from the booming sun, you can sink your teeth into a succulent sandwich and just take.it.all.in …
If you are an extreme coffee consumer, then just down the road you can take a snoozy stroll into a caffeine and vinyl hub known as, Agora Cafe y Arte. It was in this cosy little jaunt that I found myself trying my first Empanada. A gorgeous half-pasty, half-heaven mixture of pastry and savoury or sweet goodness, dependant on what sort of preference you indulge in. You’ll find that this South-American delicacy pops up as street food, but because our tums aren’t quite adjusted to the pavement cuisine, it is suggested you stick to cafes and restaurants for satisfying your hunger needs!
With your food consumption nicely mapped, you’ll need places to see to walk off all the treats! So here are a couple contenders, out of many awesome hotspots, that Scarlett Notes recommends for you.
Parque Kennedy feels as though it could be the thudding heart to Miraflores. It has a breath-taking church, trend-hitting stores and a set of gardens that are enough to give Alan Titchmarsh a run for his pennies. Budding flowers of all sorts, trees providing fresh, greeny shade and street sellers making a living. This isn’t forgetting the grand statues that are sprinkled throughout the park and Miraflores. The one thing with Lima you can be sure of is that it is awake and ready for every day. There is a buzz. A feeling of excitement or anticipation for the day. It’s hard to pinpoint why, another reason you ought to make it your next holiday destination!
In order to fulfil your tourist duties in Miraflores, it is pretty important to make your way down to the shoreline where a whole host of activities are happening from the influx of joggers along the beach path, to the windsurfing madness happening right in front of your jet-lagged eyes (the jet-lag is real, but worth it. So…) If you really want to stretch your legs, and also a retail addict, like me, then as you head towards the Barranco District, stop by the Larcomar Shopping Centre. This is the greatly-anticipated trip we took, two days into our stay. With its futuristic architecture- it really did remind me of a spaceship- and a mixture of affordable and designer stores, with scrumptious places to eat laced in-between; it was an afternoon well-spent. In every sense!
Speaking of the Barranco District; let’s take a look into what is waiting for you in the indie sister of Miraflores!
Let’s take a look into what is waiting for you in the indie sister of Miraflores…
One thing I hold my hands up to is being an indie fanatic. I have been and it seems that I always will be! So walking into Barranco wasn’t much different from walking into the district of my dreams. If you hate anything to do with the over-used term, Hipster, I suggest you look away now!
Before we wade into all that was brilliant about Barranco, let me make this clear; catch a taxi. Do not walk from Miraflores. We embarked upon this misleading stroll that unravelled to become some sort of treacherous, highway hike. Either that or we took a wrong turn. We’ll never know.
A glimpse into a city that feels as though it is flourishing by the second.
So, there we have it. A glimpse into a city that feels as though it is flourishing by the second. Lima has so much to offer other than what immediately chimes up when you hit that google search button. If you give this artsy and vibrant city some of your time, it’ll give ten times more back.
Grab a suitcase and sunnies and get packing. Peru is waiting for you to hit the ground running!
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Thank you for reading, take care!
Currency: The currency for South America changes depending on where you are. For Lima, it is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol.