I could try to sum up a list of places from different parts of Peru, but because it is so varied among areas and cultures, I wouldn’t be doing it any justice. So I will focus on the capital, Lima, a big diverse city, with almost 9 million inhabitants, and where I grew up. This is a list of what I consider to be mandatory if you decide to travel to Lima.
1. Lima’s Historic Centre
Filled with historically relevant characteristics like the architecture and monuments. It’s also packed with stores, restaurants, museums, and beautiful plazas. One of the most important of these plazas is the “Plaza de Armas” (or Plaza Mayor), which is surrounded by the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima, Municipal Palace, and several other historic buildings. Also, a short walk south of the plaza is Jirón de la Unión, a pedestrian street with many shops selling souvenirs and clothing as well as several great restaurants. This area is known for its neoclassical architecture.
Another great district to visit. It is home to many concert venues, clubs, bars, art galleries, and museums. Also, it is one of the most renowned artistic/bohemian areas of the city, especially for its nightlife, which includes clubs and bars such as Sargento Pimienta (Sgt. Pepper), El Dragon (The Dragon), and Help! Retro Bar.
3. La Buena Muerte
Close to the Historic Center, this is one of the oldest restaurants in Lima, and it is without a doubt one of the best for traditional Peruvian cuisine and Nikkei food (fusion of Japanese and Peruvian ingredients). “Ceviche” here is a must.
4. El Suizo
Another famous restaurant, located in Chorrillos, in a beach called “La Herradura”. It is a classic if you want to have lunch next to the sea and enjoy the view, especially at sunset. This is also a famous place for surfers to ride the waves.
5. El Rincón que No Conoces
Probably the best spot for traditional seafood cuisine, but the menu is packed with all different types of food from many parts of the country as well. This restaurant is the perfect spot to try the different dishes, some of them (such as fried pork and sweet potato with salsa criolla and tamale) are world-famous!
6. El Queirolo Bar
An historic bar, very old and famous throughout generations, known for its atmosphere, the music and the people. Also, they serve amazing sandwiches, and the classic “chilcanos de pisco” (a drink made up of Pisco – a grape brandy). It is a great place for anyone who wants to experience the bohemian nightlife of Lima.
7. Juanito Bar
Another famous bar, located in Barranco, the artistic district mentioned above. Classic sandwiches, beer, and any drink you want. It is always full of friendly people, which makes it a very entertaining destination if you want to mingle with the locals. Also, it is in the middle of Barranco’s nightlife, so it’s ideal for bar hopping.
8. Kennedy Park, Larco Avenue
This is the heart of Miraflores, a district next to the sea and close to Barranco. This is a great area to just wander around and see all the clothing stores, shops, bars, restaurants, and art galleries.
Walking down Larco Avenue you get to Larcomar. This is a big mall, built in the cliffside and facing the sea. It has movie theaters, restaurants, shops, clothing stores; everything you can think of. Many fashion designers from Peru have boutique stores in this mall. It’s a great place to enjoy the view while shopping or eating.
10. Malecón de Lima
If you feel like walking, jogging, biking, or any other sporting activity, miles waterfront is a beautiful promenade that stretches for over six miles and connects many districts of the city. There is also a place for parasailing in Miraflores. It contains artwork by local artists and many beautiful parks that overlook the Pacific Ocean.
These are some of the areas or places I would recommend to anyone who plans to visit Lima. Like I mentioned, it is a big city, full of diversity, but visiting these places would definitely give a good idea of many of the cultural experiences that are part of life there. However, these aren’t the only famous places - a lot can be found by word of mouth, and everything is fairly cheap, so it’s a great place for just wandering around and creating your own adventure. Finally, do not forget to try the Pisco Sour!
For more from Luanna at Le Happy, check out www.le-happy.com