Travel: Peru Part I- Lima Highlights (Fun Facts, Hot Spots and Restaurants)

Feb
21
2012

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days, I just got back from Peru. Before the trip I didn’t know much about the country except for Machu Picchu of course, but now I have a better understanding of the country, it’s food, and it’s people.  This week I want to share with you a 3  part series-Highlights from Lima, Peruvian Gastronomy (the food was amazing), and The Journey to Manchu Picchu. I hope whether or not you have a chance to visit, you will enjoy learning a bit about Peru.

Lima Highlights

We started our trip in Lima which many tour books say get in and get out on your way to Machu Picchu, so I wasn’t expecting much, but I really enjoyed it, especially the flavorful and inventive food.  You have to be a little adventurous though.   From Cebiche, Pisco Sours, and all kinds of jungle fruit I’ve never seen before, we ate our way through town before heading out on our journey to Machu Picchu.

Cebiche at Alfresco-best I’ve ever had! Fresh and sweet not too much lime!Along the way we accidentally walked in on a David Rockfeller private dinner (so we were told later) at Maras Restaurant and experienced an earthquake on our last night, (not major, but still a little scary even for a Californian).

Some of the neighborhoods can be a bit dicey they say especially at night, but most tourists hang out in San Isidro where we stayed, Miraflores right by the water (reminded me a lot of PCH in Santa Monica) or Barranca which is a bit younger. I felt very safe, but we only stayed in these areas.

In Miraflores at Sunset

Some Fun Facts

-Dozens Casinos in Lima. Seems like one on every other corner. What?

-95% Catholic, 2 to 3 year wait for a church wedding

-There is a large Chinese population.  Chinese restaurants are called Chifas (which comes from the Mandarin word-“to eat rice/dinner”.

-This is the City Center (Plaza de Armas) see the fountain on the left in July in celebration of Peruvian Independence Day they fill it with Pisco and it becomes a free giant bar for the city for one day!

Here’s a view from the Westin Lima Hotel and Convention Center-one of the best hotels in the city with great service. Tallest building in Peru at 30 stories, just built in 2011, largest spa in the city.

This is a “Suspiro A La Limena” Popular Dessert-Breath Of Lima-basically a carmel like custard with meringue.  You can see the traffic in the distance. Driving in Lima can get a bit crazy I wouldn’t recommend it.

Magical Circuit of Water

-A beautiful park with 6 amazing water fountains from Magic-the tallest fountain in the park which shoots up 262 feet in the air to Fantasia complete with a laser light show choreographed to music.

 Surprise which you can walk through, but you may get a little wet to Labryrith where locals basically use it as a water park.

It only costs about $2 to get in, but since it’s not in a great walking neighborhood, it’s probably better to go with a tour (for about  $30 each) so you bypass the long line and get a ride there and back to your hotel.It can get really crowded, but worth the trip.

Parque Del Amor-Park of Love-Miraflores

Great for sunset on the cliffs above the ocean.  Reminded me of Malibu.   About 15 minute walk is Larcomar a popular shopping entertainment center overlooking the ocean-which I was excited to see, but turned out to be just like any other mall in the US especially when the hotspots were Chilis and TGI Fridays.

The Restaurants we did enjoy were Brujas de Cachiche (great for traditional food),

Astrid & Gaston (Voted as one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2011)Chef Gaston Acurio star of international gastronomy.

Food inventive and artistic-great for foodies, but what I loved was for the 14 soles cover charge which is about $6 each you get 7 breads, 3 sauces, 3 appetizers, and 6 sweets before you even order an entree.

It was amazing trip without the kids.  If you were wondering how we managed to pull that off?  Lots of help from Grandma and friends and daily use of Skype and Facetime.  (much more economical than calling) Travel Tip: When leaving the country make sure you turn your cellular data off so you don’t get roaming charges when you land in case you get a text, call etc.  You can leave wifi access on to stay connected and just pay the hotel fee instead.

In my next post I’ll show you how they make cebiche, the secret to Pisco Sours and show you the inside of some crazy fruit and what a coca leaf looks like. (yes, it’s what they make cocaine out of!)

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Travel: Peru Part I- Lima Highlights (Fun Facts, Hot Spots and Restaurants)

  1. My husband and I are planning a trip in March 2013. We are considering the Westin Hotel you’ve mentioned in your article. I am wondering what you think of the Westin versus the Marriott in the Miraflores district (on top a cliff overlooking beach). It’s near the LarcoMar shopping. My husband and I are in our mid 50’s and 60’s. We ENJOY walking and of course GOOD RESTAURANTS! So, I’d be interested in your thoughts regarding hotel options.

    • The Westin is beautiful and is the tallest building in Lima and brand new, but more in the financial district. The rest Maras is really good as well. I am not familiar with the Marriott, but did walk by it in Miraflores and is in a great location across the street from the beach. The LarcoMar is ok, just a big shopping mall with food court and shops,but This is a great area to walk around. It is very lively and can be a little crowded, but just depends on what you are looking for. I don’t think you can go wrong with either. Good luck.

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