We're in Lima several times a year making our proper threads. The country and it's people have gained such a special place in our hearts, so we figured it was high time we did our own Proper Guide to the capital city of Peru. Lima, where we spend most of our time, strikes a cool balance of being a large metropolis - it's larger than Mexico City, yet still maintains the colonial influences from centuries ago. It is this juxtaposition of old and new that gives Lima its unique flavor and status of being one of a travel insider's favorite places to visit. While the unique spirit of Lima is hard to put on paper, we’ll highlight for you a few of our favorite districts along with tips on where to stay, what to visit, what to drink, and most importantly - where to eat.
Where To Stay
The Barranco district has a bohemian flare and is Lima’s artsy neighborhood. We like to stay at Hotel B when in Barranco. If you dig boutique hotels, then you'll love the vibe here. If you're fancy and you know it, San Isidro is where you want to be. San Isidro is the upscale part of Lima and known as the financial district. This has become a haven for businessmen and women. The district offers topnotch restaurants combined with ease of access to meeting locations. The Westin Libertador is a prime place to rest your head. Miraflores is the more Americanized area loaded with great cuisine and shopping. We always like to get a nice AirBnB here overlooking the Pacific Ocean. If you want something a little more quiet, we recommend the following rental, and for great views this place is a must. If you are not the AirBnB type and prefer the convenience of housekeeping and all the trappings, then check out Hotel Estelar. The location and the view from the restaurant at the top of Estelar are worth the visit. Another option and one of our go-to spots is the JW Marriott, which has live music, a great bar, hospitable staff, and is centrally located to tons of solid places to grab a good meal and drinks.
What To Visit
Our favorite trek in the city is the Bajada de los Baños. It’s a walkway that connects Barranco to the Pacific Ocean and is filled with restaurants and bars. If you're needing the perfect instagram shot - this is a must. Look for the Bridge of Sighs! Keep walking from Bajada de los Baños and you'll get to Mate - a cultural center by world renown Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino. Testino has shot covers for Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, as well as campaigns for luxury houses such as Gucci, Versace, and Chanel. He was also Princess Diana’s photographer of choice.
If you're a history buff like we are, you'll also want to check out a few of these incredible sites: Aliaga House – Built in the 16th century, this was the house of Francisco Pizarro the conquistador that founded the capital city. Church of San Francisco – Built in the 16th century, this Catholic church is preserved in time. But beware of the pigeons.
Pucllana Temple – Built around 500 A.D., these are the ruins of ancient civilations located in the heart of Lima. Museo Larco - This amazing museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The most important museum in Peru.
Where To Eat & Drink
Dining in Miraflores, or really in all of Lima, is f**king spectacular. We have traveled the world and can say with certainty that there are not many countries that can rival the cuisine of Peru. Two of our favorite chefs with respective locations in San Isidro and Miraflores are Gastón Acurio and Rafael Osterling. El Mercado and Rafael by Rafael Osterling are our absolute go-tos. We never come to Peru without making a visit to Rafael. Hands down our favorite restaurant in the world. It's the place to be seen in Lima and is also rated one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. We are wowed by just about everything on Osterling's menu, from his Flat Bread with Arugula and Quail Egg to the Donuts and Coconut Ice Cream for dessert. Our recommendation: The Tuna Tiradito (with or without the Leche de Tigre) and The Lamb Shank with Pea Puree. Trust us. Osaka in San Isidro has a great atmosphere and some of the best sushi we’ve had in Lima. Our top pick for breakfast is Popular. It’s located within Larcomar and has killer early morning views of the Pacific Ocean. This place is known more for dinner, but it’s the perfect place for breakfast because it’s not crowded, has great food, and again - the view.
Peru's signature cocktail is the Pisco Sour. It tastes like a margarita, but be careful not to get carried away because they go down the hatch way too easily. If you do happen to have one too many, then head over to La Lucha Sangucheria the next day for a magical hangover cure. Nothing beats their milkshakes, freshly made sandwiches and fries to help ease the suffering. Hope you like fried egg on your club! If you're looking for something a little more upscale with a terrific atmosphere, then you must stop by Saqra. They have a lot of delicious items, including the best Pork Adobo in Miraflores, but their Lomo Saltado, a traditional Peruvian dish, really takes the cake. You can’t visit Peru and not order ceviche! Ceviche is on every menu in the city and we haven't had one we didn't love. Our favorite ceviche spot though, is El Veridico de Fidel. Perfecto!
After you have tried the ceviche and are starting to feel like a Peruvian, your next dish has to be Cuy! Cuy is...Guinea Pig, a Peruvian delicacy. Yes, eating what was everyone's childhood pet sounds freaking terrible, but it's just one of those things that you need to do (when in Rome, er Lima). We had Cuy at Maido. Maido was named one of the top 50 restaurant in the world in 2016 for their Japanese-Peruvian infused dishes. Bonus, Maido is less than a block from Rafael.