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2 Refreshing Days in Lima, Peru

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Let's chat about Lima, Peru. It’s not just our favorite tequila and tacos accompaniment anymore. As Latin America’s culinary mecca, I’ve been drawn to visit this place for quite some time now and I’m so glad that I did. Check it out.

Land Acknowledgement, History, Social Climate, and Weather:

First, I’d like to acknowledge the original and true stewards of the land in and around Lima, Peru, the Quechua, and the Incan peoples. Peru colonization started in 1535 with 93% of the Inca population whipped out with the arrival of Europeans and their accompanying diseases. The Spanish however prospered from the indigenous people's agriculture and resources. Conquering by disease it turns out is as American in the Southern hemisphere as it is in the North. There have been 29 indigenous civilizations throughout history in the Lima area and well before the Spanish ‘founded’ the area. As a standard colonizing tactic, the indigenous peoples were forcefully converted to Christianity, women raped and many enslaved. Sadly, horrific discrepancies in class and caste still remain. I traveled to Peru in February 2023, and as many were aware there was intense political unrest in which police aggression led to 50-plus civilian casualties at the point of my arrival. As I write this there are still indigenous-led protests happening around Peru, mostly in the Southern region leaving Manchu Picchu, as we know to be a huge tourist area closed until further notice. The class gap continues to increase with farming workers (indigenous peoples) producing for the elite and the upper classes, while they themselves are left poor, without proper resources, protections, and rights. It had a shadow feel of “The Hunger Games” when I learned more about the situation. Many indigenous peoples traveled at length to protest in Peru’s capital city of Lima. As I navigated the city I noticed light-skinned locals (presumably Spanish) were more affluent while those of darker complexion tended to be street vendors and labor workers, which as a United States citizen looked very familiar. Due to the political unrest, I decided to stay in and around the Miraflores area and overall left very safe. I didn’t feel the need to take more caution than I would have in an urban area in any major city in the United States. I did however make sure to not bring any high-end luggage, purses, or flashy jewelry just in case. In many places, I would have been just fine carrying a standard cross-body Louis Vuitton (Ambra rooftop lounge for example) but for touring and walking the streets, I felt it best to keep it basic with a label-less, over-the-shoulder crossbody pouch. The weather was a comfortable to toasty 70- and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day however keep in mind this region in Peru is a desert climate with the highest radiation rate in the world so make sure you bring your sunscreen, and carry one with you throughout the day as you will get sunburned without it, as I did. Don’t bother packing for rain as Lima doesn’t get substantial downpours...ever, well since 1971 at least. You’ll notice no drainage on the streets and all the water is imported from the foothills which makes the idea of rooftop pools that much more luxurious.

Peru Colonization:

Indigenous Led- Protests 2023:

Indigenous Nations of Peru:

People of Peru:

Where I stayed:

I stayed at the DoubleTree Lima Miraflores el Pardo Peru Pardo in a king suite that was HUGE. It had a kitchen area with plates and a refrigerator. A shower you could fit a family of four in, generous counter space in the vanity area, and a separate toilet and bidet area helping to keep you so fresh and so clean, clean. The separate living area with a couch and desk area was a nice perk and the closet could accommodate a whole summer wardrobe of mine with 3 separate hanging spaces. I could comfortably live in this unit is it was much bigger than most NYC studio apartments by far. You’ll also get a cotton robe and slippers for the trek to the enclosed rooftop pool and lounge area.

The hotel gives easy and super cute quaint dining options. There was La Terraza Pardo Cafe and Bar Italiano Trattoria. They both have quaint outdoor seating areas and good food options. Bar Italiano Trattoria's breakfast buffet spread had a ton of offerings and the place had consistent business throughout the day, many being local which lends to their credibility. I had a pizza there one night with no complaints. The small was enough for 2 meals for one person easily. Cocktails were about $ 7 USD, and the small pizza was about $ 8 USD. Very reasonable to North American standards.

My favorite offering by far was the rooftop pool on the 11th floor which you use the phone and get service sent up. It is a shallow wading pool and not anything substantial, but it does the trick to relax on a hot day. This pool is enclosed by the almost greenhouse-type lounge, and you get a great view of the area. About 6 lounge chairs ensure you can easily soak up some rays if you wish.

The area is great for walking. You have multiple markets nearby and are only about 10 to 15 minutes from a great number of restaurants and things to do in the area. The Miraflores area is just the right size to walk everywhere in Kennedy Park which is bustling with bikers, walkers, tourist and locals.

Other Accommodation Recommendations:

Open-air rooftop pool and whirlpools. Great restaurant options with lots of specials.

Second-floor lounge with a great view; near the seaside shopping mall and lots of dining options. There are breathtaking views, maybe the best in Lima from the executive lounge. Location. Location. Location.

How I traveled:

There are many ways to get to Lima, Peru, however, I ended up deciding to fly roundtrip through Atlanta using Delta Airlines. I took a late evening, 11 pm flight to Lima, arriving about 5:30 am and getting to the hotel about 6:45/7 am. On my returning flight caught a very reasonably timed 9 am departure. I left the hotel at about 6:15 am on a Saturday and had plenty of time to shop duty-free. I was fortunate to snag a seat on the coveted Delta One class with fully bed reclining seats with massage options to get you fast to sleep on both legs of the journey. They provide a care pack of the essentials of toothbrush/toothpaste, Grown Alchemist (my favorite brand) lotion and lip balm, and ear plugs to help get some quieted shuteye. You’ll also receive a nice down blanket, pillow, and slippers to shimmy yourself around the cabin without having to put on your shoes for an approximately 6 and half hour flight. Customs in Atlanta was efficient as it usually is and I was able to catch a quick connecting flight back home to Colorado without a hitch. Lima customs, arriving so early in the morning was also quick and easy as well. My experience was quick but keep in mind to give yourself extra time if you’re traveling in high season, on the weekends, or when there might be issues at your airport like protests, strikes, maintenance, lack of staff in TSA, and more. Do your research and give yourself more over less time for my stress-free travel experience.

United Airlines will fly out of Houston International Airport and American Airlines will fly out of Miami Airport to Lima at varying times. For example, at the time I was traveling, a United Airlines flight would get you to Lima at about 11 pm as well as departing at 11 pm. Decide what works best for you based on your location, where you live, and your connecting flights and hotel accommodations as you might need to book an extra night.

What I did:

First, this was a quick trip for me as I was only touring the city for 2 days flat including my arrival day starting at 7 am. However, when I travel solo, I tend to be able to pack in a whole lot in a small amount of time, and so too was the case in Lima.

Day 1: I checked into the hotel, got situated, and took a small nap. I was out the door by 11 am , and surveyed the map, and lay off the land as I grabbed a Starbucks coffee across the street ($2.50 for my standard Americano). I then walked to the Inka Mercado nearby to get souvenirs out of the way buying a beautiful baby alpaca blanket at a nice summer price of about $ 30 USD (more expensive in winter and when bought online), stocked up on palo santo (found only in this region), magnets, keychains, and a hand-painted model airplane. I passed by the local University, and Kennedy Park, all while taking in the sites, the people, the energy, and the hot summer, sea sprayed scent in the air. To my surprise, I was able to get into an in-demand, top 50 best-in-world restaurants, Maido by just stopping by to see if they had any space for one around the lull of the day at 3 pm. It worked. I started the house cocktail the Geisha, followed by a house-made udon with sea urchin and other accompaniments. I then finished off with an octopus and scallop ceviche. This was easily my favorite meal of the day. I was perfectly satisfied with the appointment for a 60-minute message I had right around the corner ($25 plus tip). After my massage, I gathered my limp body together to get myself to Ambra, an eclectic and exclusive rooftop bar. Again, as a party of one, I requested my way onto the guest list for the night. Next time reservations are a must. Ambra is the rooftop pool, and lounge area of the Pullman hotel with indoor/outdoor seating, cocktails, and small bites. Here I had my first classic chilcano, a local staple made with pisco that was so fresh and so divine, or was that the pristine views? The delicious day had finally had me, so I took a walk back to my hotel passing both the Hilton Miraflores and JW Marriot to check out their facilities and lounges. I decided on a pisco sour nightcap and pizza on the patio of my hotel restaurant Bar Italiano Trattoria before retiring for the evening in my large and plush king size bed all for me.

Day 2: I contacted the link to Huacca Pucllana archaeological site to see if I could get in that day for an English tour, was sent a link to sign up that showed no spots for the day, my last day in town. I decided they could likely get me in if I showed up so that’s what I did. I went for the 9:30 tour however that was, in fact, full BUT they put me on the list for the 11 am tour. This gave me just enough time to get to a market I had on my list. I walked the 20 minutes to the Surquillo market to walk and walked just observing all the market stands selling everything from toilet paper, and cupcake boxes to fresh fruits and vegetables to the latest poultry and seafood from the day. This was the least tourist area I had been in as it skirted the limits of Miraflores but was a favorite spot. I decided on a breakfast of ceviche mixto (mixed raw fish) that came with a bowl of soup, and a side of freshly fried squid. I was in heaven. And with ah price tag of $8 with a tip that didn’t hurt either. Time was running out, so I got a ride to the site for my tour. Admission was about $4 or less for a student or senior. Here we learned about the Lima civilization (200-500AD) that inhabited the area, the climate, the rituals, plants, and a lot more. Make sure to bring and hat and/or sunscreen because this is the exact time, I got myself sunburnt, just as I learned Lima was a desert climate, I had no real protection on my crisp tuning skin. The tour lasted an hour and luckily, they have a lovely adjoining restaurant where I had a fruita naturale (fresh juice with pulp) and a cold cerverca (beer). The heat had taken a toll, so I went back to the hotel for a quick refresh. I got showered and dressed and headed to get a manicure at the nearby place I had walked past after my massage the day before. $ 17 USD for a nicely done gel manicure. You won’t get a glass of champagne, but you’ll get a great deal. I then went to get to my reservation for getting my Lima aerial view at Aeroxtreme Paragliding. I had never been before, so I was super excited. I got a ride there as it was in the San Miguel area, signed my life away, and waited for the person before me to go when about 15 minutes later it was my turn. I was wearing a nice dress and sandals for dinner later and it was just fine. The views are breathtaking and one of the best ways to really see Lima. Very affordable as well. Make sure you go on a day or time of days with the least number of clouds for the best view. Next, went to awarding winning restaurant Astrid y Gaston to try my luck at getting in at the bar and I did! They technically weren’t opening for another 30 minutes so I went to Tanta down the street for happy hour in which I had my favorite pisco sour I had my whole trip in Lima. It turns out you can also find a Tanta location at the Lima Airport. I headed back to Astrid y Gaston to partake in my favorite meal in Lima. I died. I died just to be reawakened with the next course. To try as much as possible, I had 3 appetizers which are portioned per person including a scallop with cream sauce, sea urchin over the moistest and most delicate egg and brioche I’ve ever had, and the cream tortellini. Honestly, I wish I had the first two courses two times they were that amazing. I had the arroz con leche cocktails that blew my tastebuds also. My meal at the bar for one set me back about $ 45 USD. The ambiance was also something to rave about. I could have walked around the facilities repeatedly. The place had such Casablanca elegance it made us want to move in and adopt of whole new life around it. But it was getting late and needy to get myself ready for an early morning. I reluctantly got myself into a cab and got myself, packed and in bed before 11 pm.

Click HERE to check out of the other best restaurants in the world Lima has to offer.

Transportation, Shopping, and Currency:

I was pleasantly surprised to be able to use the uber rideshare service in the Miraflores area. As with many international places, there are restrictions with rideshares at the airport. You easily have the option to snag one of many taxi drivers right outside of the airport doors (which they won’t let you back in by the way) or you can get one scheduled with your hotel. I was able to get a taxi for $25 to my hotel but I speak a little Spanish and it took a minute. Next time I’ll just schedule one with the hotel which will cost about $ 30/$35 USD but can usually be included in your room charge which is nice if you wanted to use points. After you get into town however every rideshare that I used was about $3.50 total including a 30% 'share the love' tip. It was a smidge more to get to my paragliding location but not by much. Getting to the airport when I left was about $17 with a generous tip. Make you download Cabify also in case Uber isn’t working. At one point I was in a high-traffic area and the drivers keep dropping my trip, so it was convenient to use another rideshare. Lyft is not available in Lima at the time I was there.

The shopping area I enjoyed was Inka Mercardo which is adjacent to Indio Mercardo and maybe a couple more. Getting a baby alpaca blanket in summer was a great deal and you’ll be able to find many fun items. Yes, the truth is within reason you can haggle but please remember if you’re an American traveling leisurely to Peru you’re likely already at a level of affluence that most of the workers are not so share the love and above all be respectful and feel free to shop around. I went to many markets stands to get prices and feel the qualities of blankets before I bought one from a girl running a stand I vibed with. HERE is the list of some favorite options for market shipping.

At the time I write this article, the currency is generous in the US dollar's favor in that 40 Sols was about $10 USD. Make sure you look it up at the time of your travel to get an idea of what you are spending but it’s likely going to be somewhere in that range. It’s also a great way to keep your mind in shape by converting while standing in line at Starbucks. When using a zero foreign transaction fee credit card, ask for your payment to be taken in Sol or Peruvian (PEN) dollars not USD for the best rate. Likely, if you extract cash from a bank or ATM get it in Sol (PEN) as well. Most places accept U.S. American dollars. I paid my cab driver from the airport in American cash and tipped a few others with cash here and there, with no problem. Another must-know before you go is when you’re closing out the tab make sure you add your gratuity to the total amount before they run your card. For example, if the server will bring you the handheld payment device and the bill is $50, let them know to run it for $60 or whatever you feel you want to add as the gratuity. If you forget your first couple of times just make sure you have some cash to not hose these incredible workers.

In all Lima, Peru was a fascinatingly refreshing little get away for some warmth and rays. I only was able to get a fraction of what Lima and Peru have to offer but I'm already excited to go back.



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