Where do you even begin to plan for your trip to Lima, let alone Peru? Nowdays there is a wealth of information available like never before and even the most savvy of travelers can get bogged down by the plurality of voices sharing their experiences. The ideal scenario would be to have a local friend to call on for insider insights, someone whose taste and characterization of a place you could blindly trust. What is perhaps the next best thing? The perspective of an expat who understands the culture, history and nuances of a place, while also bridging the divide through their own native cultural lens. In that sense you would get the best of both worlds, essentially a shortcut to the “meat and potatoes” of a destination through a curated itinerary that would allow you to get the most out of your trip. Today is your lucky day, because that is just what I’m offering you – a way to hack your travel planning to Lima. I’m a Kansas City native who has spent the last 15 years as an expat, the last eight of which have been spent in Peru alongside my Lima-born husband, Lucas, helping visitors discover the best of what the country has to offer. So, here are my two cents on how to hack Lima and have an unforgettable stay in the City of Kings.
where to stay in lima
While Lima has 43 districts, or neighborhoods, you can safely narrow your visit down to three or four where you’ll be wandering: Miraflores, Barranco, San Isidro and Lima’s historic center. There are a few outliers you may hit along the way but for the most part you’ll be in and out just to see a main attraction or two. The best areas to book your hotel would be, hands-down, Miraflores or Barranco.
Miraflores offers a modern view of the city with lots of shops, most of the upscale restaurants and you’ll even find many international chains (sometimes a comfort, but I know you did not come all the way to Peru just to hit up Starbucks). Miraflores is a safe neighborhood where you can walk around and get a feel for how the city has developed over the last 40 years; there are beautifully landscaped parks, the coastal promenade, or malecón in local lingo, bike lanes, paragliding and more. While you can find internationally recognized hotel chains like the Marriott and Hilton, I’m a believer in getting carried away by the charm of a boutique hotel. A couple of lovely options that are well-located and are a big hit are: Hotel de Autor and La Quinta Miraflores Boutique
Barranco is the bohemian, romantic and even slightly hipster side of the city. Here you’ll find gorgeous traditional mansions that have been restored and invite you travel back in time. The colors of the neighborhood pop as you walk through the narrow, tree-lined streets and appreciate the eclectic architecture, eye-catching street art and boutique art galleries that are peppered throughout the area. The laid-back vibe and mix of traditional styles infused with a modern twist make this district truly unique and unforgettable. Looks like people have begun to take notice as some amazing boutique hotels have opened recently allowing guests to be fully immersed in Barranco’s hallmark style. Try Casa Republica or Villa Barranco for an extra special stay in Lima.
what to eat in lima
If you haven’t tried Peruvian cuisine before now, then there is no better place than Lima. And even if you have, be prepared to be blown away by the freshness of the ingredients, variety of flavors and seemingly boundless fusions. This is undoubtedly the longest section of tips; after all, we do run Lima food tours so we believe this is one of the best ways to get to know Peru. With limited time in the city, you’ll still be able to understand why Lima has been declared the Leading Culinary Destination in the World for the last six years by the World Travel Awards. By now, most people have heard of cebiche and the pisco sour, Peru’s flagship dish and drink, even if you haven’t tried it, however the country’s rich foodie history has so much more to offer. Let’s take a look:
ALL ABOUT LIMA
Sam and Lucas are an American-Peruvian couple who have run the top tour in Lima for the past seven years. It’s no coincidence that the best activities in Lima have to do with Peru’s amazing cuisine. This Kansas City girl and Lima native have lived all over the world in their corporate past lives but they traded in the daily grind for sharing their love of good food, showing off the city’s secrets and meeting awesome people along the way.
The ultimate food and city tour
No planning needed because we've already done the work for you. Experience the best of Lima in one day.