I will preface this post by saying that we had no intentions of doing any of the typical tourist type stuff in Lima. Peru in general is full of rich history, and Lima is no exception, so if that’s what you’re in to then by all means, explore what Lima has to offer. Our trip to Lima, however, had one sole purpose: food.
With our plans to hike the Inca Trail, visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, we thought that we would easily hit our quota for history on our Peru trip. Peru has another claim to fame, however, and that is its rich cuisine.
Our arrival at Jorge Chávez International Airport was met with with complete and utter chaos. The airport was hectic, and getting a taxi was no easy task with our limited Spanish skills (our initial intention to get an Uber was undone by our inability to easily get a sim card for our phone, more on that later.) The business of the airport was only foreshadowing of things to come.
Lima by far has the craziest traffic of any city we have ever been in. Road rules do not apply, and every street was completely full. What should have been a short and direct 10 miles from the airport to the Miraflores district where we would be staying ended up in a long, round about trip around the outskirts of the city.
Our bed and breakfast, Casa Wayra, was a short distance from the Pacific Coast, nestled in the relatively quiet and clean part of Lima that is Miraflores. Casa Wayra B&B was a wonderful little hotel, with an amazing price for what we got. We awoke on our first morning to a fantastic home cooked breakfast with a variety of tea and coffee. I would recommend Casa Wayra to anyone visiting Lima, you simply cannot beat the value.
Our first day in Lima we decided to walk around the neighborhood, exploring the beautiful park on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific.
The first thing we noticed exploring the city was how many people there were out and about. Everyone seemed to be preoccupied with their own business, and we were not approached by a single person. Typically in a big city like this a couple of Americans draws quite a lot of attention, but at least in Miraflores, we were clearly a regular sight.
As I mentioned earlier, our only goal in Lima was to eat at the best restaurants we could. It quickly became clear that you simply couldn’t go wrong anywhere in Lima, but be sure to check out La Mar and Maido. My one regret about our time in Peru was that we never once got to taste the famed Antichuchería, or barbecued skewered meats, but the seafood more than made up for it.
Probably the most frustrating (or entertaining in hindsight) part of our time in Lima was trying to get a sim card for our unlocked cell phone. We knew that Uber was in Lima, so we planned to use it to get around, but we had no idea that getting a sim card would be such a process. As I mentioned previously, we were unable to get one at the airport because the cell provider’s network was down. The next day we promptly went to the closest store to Casa Wayra. Apparently everyone in Miraflores was also in need of a cell phone that day, as the store was absolutely packed. Not a single person in the store spoke English. Try using rudimentary Spanish to describe the rather technical things you need regarding a sim card and a data plan. Next we had to go through 3 separate lines to simply get a sim card. The first line figured out what we needed. The second line we had to pay. The third line we had to show them the receipt that we paid in order to get the sim card. The best part, the cell phone store didn’t actually allow you to add data or minutes to the plan, so we had to find a grocery store to add data to the sim card we just spent 3 hours trying to get. Chaos.
In our explorations of Miraflores, we came across a small park in the center of the neighborhood. It was only about 3 city blocks long by one block wide, but the most fascinating park we’ve ever seen. Within this park were thousands of stray cats, all lounging about under, in, and on top of anything and everything. Cats. Everywhere! Neither of us thought that the place was real and thought that it must be a dream, but nevertheless, Lima has a giant Parque del Gato.
Overall, Lima was just another city in our eyes. If you’re in to great food, and going to Peru to see the other sights of the interior, Lima is definitely worth a day or two. I wouldn’t recommend it as a romantic honeymoon destination, but Leeann and I did enjoy the nice, cheap hotels and the amazingly romantic dinners. We will both always remember the meals we had here, but the highlight of our honeymoon in Peru was definitely Machu Picchu and the Inca trail.
On a quick side note, make sure to be clear with your taxi/Uber driver about your destination. We felt as though we were taken advantage of for not speaking great Spanish, which resulted in taxi trips that went far out of the way and were therefore much more expensive than they had to be. I have a hard time believing that the traffic was really so bad in the center of the city that it warranted going 30 miles out of our way.