In the next few weeks I will be writing about my trip around Bolivia and Peru. While I found tons of info on Peru (thanks to Machu Picchu I guess), but I found very little good information about Bolivia. Of course, I still want to share my experience in both countries so I don’t forget anything (two grandmothers with Alzheimer’s, remember).
Lima was my first stop. Many people told me to write off Lima and just make it a quick jumping off point. I listened to the advice and I am sad that I didn’t spend more time there!
I don’t know if it is because I have lived in Venezuela for so long, but Lima seemed pretty great to me! There were parks, museums, ruins, amazing food, the beach, surfing (surfers too 😉 I always appreciate some eye candy), good weather, and GREAT salsa dancing! AND there were not any shortages while I was there so I could stock up on shampoo, soap, and anything else I wanted for reasonable prices.
My favorite places that I visited were the Parque del Amor and the Museo Larco. I also just enjoyed walking around Miraflores.
El Parque del Amor (Free)
I love poetry, love, kissing, and parks and this place has it ALL. The park reminds me a bit of Parque Guell in Barcelona with the mosaic walls. This one is pretty awesome because within the mosaic are love quotes. AND it has a giant statue of a kissing couple. If you get tired of looking at the statue and the love quotes you can go paragliding (or watch) over the ocean.
Museo Larco (30 soles/$10 US)
The Museo Larco is one of my favorite museums of all time. Not only did I learn a lot about the Moshi culture, but I got to see erotic pottery, AND have a Pisco Sour for the first time. This museum stays open a lot longer than the others in the city (9AM-10PM) because it is a private museum so you could conceivably work your way around town and come here for dinner at their lovely on-site restaurant.
Parque Kennedy- AKA The Cat Park (Free)
If you don’t like cats don’t go here! One of the nearby churches take care of the cats so they roam freely around this park. While I was there the church was holding adoptions to give the cats a safe forever home.
Ruins in the city: Huaca Pucllana (12 soles/$4US)
I love that you can find ruin right in the city. There is even a nice place within the grounds where you can have lunch while enjoying the view. My guide told me that they have only been developing this site since the 80s and that before that people had no idea of its significance.
Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco (12 soles/$4 US)
Many people recommend this church, but I didn’t think it was that spectacular compared to others I’ve seen around the world. I did like visiting the catacombs, but they were nothing like the catacombs I saw while I was in Rome. Be careful if you are tall (I’m not) because several men in my group had some close calls in the doorways because the doorways are very short.
I’m sure the ceviche is great all over Lima because it is famous for the stuff, but I went to a nice reasonably priced restaurant called Al Fresco and really enjoyed it. I ordered the ceviche mixta which had octopus, white fish, and scallops in it. They serve it with kernals of maize on the side as well as a sweet potato. Yummy.
There is also a typical drink called chicha morada which is a sweet drink served cold that is made from purple corn.
Of course, everyone also talks about cuy (guineapig) but I didn’t have time to eat any. A really famous place to eat it is Astrid y Gaston ($$$), but I’m sure you can find it at other cheaper locations.
I was very sad to learn that I was leaving on a Friday night before I could enjoy some amazing salsa dancing. However, one of my friends told me that she went several times and always enjoyed herself. There is a bar/restaurant called Son De Cuba staffed by Cubans who love Cuban Salsa! I can’t wait to return to check this place out for myself!
Also, according to Salsa Power, there are tons of classes and other clubs (for those people who aren’t obsessed about Cuban Salsa). You could go salsa dancing every night of the week.
I stayed in two hostels while I was in Lima:
Pariwana (36 Soles/$12US)
I loved this hostel (and its sister hostel in Cusco)! They have a rooftop bar and restaurant, travel agency, and an amazing location in Miraflores. It was also right across the street from Parque Kennedy so when you are having the free breakfast you can people watch from the restaurant. One thing I really loved about this hostel is that they have an outlet in EVERY dorm locker so that you can safely charge your devices.
Pay Purix ($32 Soles/$10 US)
I originally chose this hostel because I had to be at the airport at midnight and it is only a five minute drive to get there. However, it turned out to be a pretty nice place. The beds were comfortable. The dorms were small and come with attached bathrooms. The common area has a pool table and foosball. Best of all (and seriously lacking at nearly every other hostel I stayed at on this trip) they had a large and well stocked kitchen. Also, the staff there are some of the nicest people I met on my trip.