1. Food, Food and Food
Out of all the things you need to know about Lima, our number one is food-related, of course. You may think we're biased since we run food tours in Lima, but let’s look at the cold, hard facts. Using the World's 50 Best Restaurants as a reference, there are only four cities that have three restaurants in the top 50 (New York, London, Mexico City and Lima), but the Peruvian restaurants rank higher with Central at No 4, Maido at No 13 and Astrid & Gaston at No 30, making Lima the world’s best food city! Limeños are well aware of how special their food is and are obsessed with it, meaning it pretty much rules every aspect of their lives. It's guaranteed that within 30 seconds of meeting a Peruvian, he or she will start talking about food and giving you all sorts of tips on where and what to eat while in Lima and Peru.
2. Big Metropolis
As you plan your trip to Peru, you may imagine quiet towns where time has not passed for hundreds of years, colorfully dressed people and even a few llamas wandering around. While it is still the case in many parts of Peru, especially the Andean region, Lima is a big metropolis that is home to nearly 10 million people. It is vast in size and contrasts with very modern and cosmopolitan neighborhoods as well as some parts with buildings that are hundreds of years old and even ruins, like Huaca Pucllana or Pachacamac that are almost two thousand years old. It is this contrast, not only in the eclectic architecture, but also in the origins of its population (European, Asian, Andean and African) that make Lima a very special city and definitely worthy of your vacation time.
3. It Doesn't Rain
Limeños like to complain about the weather and how “cold” winters are, but the reality is that Lima has one of the mildest climates there is with temperatures ranging from the mid 60s (15C) to low 80s (29C) all year round. It is humid, very humid, but it never rains, which surprises many new comers as the sky can look, especially in winter, grey and about to deliver a nice shower but it never does. Officially, Lima receives just under two inches of rain a year!
4. Cebiche at Night is a Big No-No
Being right next to the richest part of the Pacific Ocean, in fishing terms, Lima is blessed with excellent seafood, however, restaurants that specialize in this type of cuisine (known as Cebicherias in Peru after the name of the top national dish of the country, Cebiche) only open for lunch. Peruvians are so spoiled that they consider that at night the fish/catch of the day is no longer fresh and therefore won’t eat it! So there you have it, if you plan to eat at La Mar, El Mercado or any of the best cebicherias in Lima, be sure to make your plans for lunch.
5. Taxis Have No Meters
While Lima is modern and sophisticated in many aspects, the transport system is one of the biggest challenges of this big city, therefore a large part of the population relies on taxis which are cheap and plentiful but have one major weakness: they do not run on meters! So how does it work? When you hail a taxi and he stops, you tell him your destination and negotiate the fare, which will be a fixed rate no matter how much traffic there is. The problem with this, especially as a foreigner, is that many taxis will take advantage and try to charge you “gringo rates” so we suggest downloading a taxi app such as Uber or EasyTaxi which are not only cheap, but a safer option, too. If you don’t have roaming activated, ask your hotel or restaurant to call you a cab or to give you the wifi password.
Planning a trip and not sure what travel destination should make your list? It’s simple – Lima, Peru! We’ll be the first to admit we’re a little biased as we’re Lima locals. But what is there not to love about Peru?
From the sights to the food, everything in Lima makes it a great travel destination. But here are just a few.
It’s All About the Location
Lima, the capital of Peru, is on the country’s Pacific coast. It has a large and busy metropolis which offers a wide array of things to see and do (see below). It's one of South America's biggest cities and is actually the third most-populated city in the Americas, according to Wikipedia.
Another great location perk -- after you spend some time in Lima you can head to one of Peru’s most popular landmarks - Machu Picchu.
One thing to keep in mind – while for many travelers June to August is considered summer, in Peru our winter season runs from June to October and typically has grey skies, heavy fog throughout the day and a light drizzle the locals call "garúa." Temperatures hover between a low of 54-61°F and a high of 61-66°F along the coast. Just be sure to bring a scarf and a heavy jacket or coat to keep you bundled up.
So Much to See
From the shops to the restaurants to the historic landmarks, you’ll never be wanting for things to do while you’re in Lima.
First up - Plaza Mayor is one of the most beautiful and historic sites in the city. From there you can see the Municipal Palace of Lima, the Government palace, Casa del Oidor and the Cathedral of Lima.
Then head to the Miraflores district, one of the trendiest in Lima. Whether you want to see historic sites like Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid or go shopping at Larcomar, a mall overlooking the Pacific - you can do it all in Miraflores. This area is all full of restaurants, pubs, art galleries and so much more to delight travelers. Also, be sure to visit La Marina Lighthouse, an active lighthouse and one of the most famous in Peru.
Lima’s beautiful coastline is not to be missed – whether you’re sunbathing, taking a swim or being more adventurous like surfing or paragliding! There’s something for every ocean lover in Lima.
The Food, The Food, The Food!
One of the most memorable parts of any great travel adventure is the food and Lima’s cuisine is not to be missed!
Peruvian food is wide ranging and features cuisines from Creole food, Chifas, Cebicherias and Pollerias*. Fruits, potatoes, beans and peppers are all staples to custom dishes. Cebiche is particularly popular in Lima, a coastal town, as it’s a marinated raw fish or seafood dish. It’s not to be missed!
The city is full of romantic restaurant destinations as well as more casual spots. But it can be tricky as a first time traveler to know which spots are the best ones to go to.
We offer unique one day and evening food tours as well as a Cebiche and Pisco class that can be done in an hour. These are all great ways to learn about Lima, its history and culture and incredible food. If you have time or if you’re on the go! Click here to learn about our unique food tours.
If you have any questions about your upcoming trip or questions about Lima in general – don’t hesitate to let us know. We’re always excited to help others fall in love with Lima!
You're off to Peru, now what to do? Chances are that you will have to pass through Lima no matter what, so you better make the most of it. As a bustling city with nearly 10 million people, 43 districts and thousands of years of history and tradition, this is where the magic happens. If you know where to look, you can be immersed in the fusion of ancient and modern cultures, breathtaking landscapes and exotic flavors, We bring you our top three things to do in Lima, Peru:
The Larco Museum is located in the district of Pueblo Libre and provides you with a stunning private collection of artefacts that date back more than 4,000 years and cover a number of civilizations that inhabited Peru's coastal area well before the Incas even existed. Think ceramics, textiles and golden masks, oh my! And if you're looking for something you don't see every day, they even have a special exhibit of erotic pre-Columbian ceramics. Just as impressive as the archeological collection is the museum café, located on a gorgeous terrace with garden views in middle of the 18th century mansion.
Av. Bolivar 1515, Pueblo Libre, Lima 21
T (00511) 461-1312 - 461-1835
Monday-Sunday 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Lima has been declared the Leading Culinary Destination in the World (World Travel Awards) for the last few years, so the foodie scene should definitely be on your list of things to do in Lima. You'll find all kinds of restaurants around the city, from traditional neighborhood holes in the wall (known as huariques ) to some of the best restaurants in the world (Central, Maido, Astrid y Gastón) with menus that will have your mouth watering before the cutlery is on the table. But where to eat and what to order with so little time in Lima? Luckily, there's a solution - five hour food and city tours that have a specially designed route to maximize your time by showing you around three of the city's most interesting districts while trying different dishes, exploring new ingredients and getting a crash course in Peru's socio-economic story over the past 70 years. Full disclosure here - we run these tours at The Lima Gourmet Company, however they've been as Tripadvisor's number one activity to do in Lima for the past four years, so we feel it's safe to say that fellow travelers also consider them a must-do to make the most of your time. ¡Buen provecho!
The Lima Gourmet Company
T (00511) 415-8159
Day Tours Mon-Sun 9:30 AM -2:30 PM
Evening Tours Mon-Sat 4:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Malecón in Miraflores and Barranco
Sometimes the best way to get to know a city is just by taking a relaxing stroll, catering to your inner flâneur as you saunter along the coast watching the passersby and taking in the relaxed west coast vibe. One of the most visually stimulating stretches of Malecón is walking from Miraflores to Barranco until you reach the Bridge of Sighs. You'll find beautifully landscaped parks, a lighthouse, rollerbladers and cyclists, little juice bars and kiosks, paragliders and of course, the captivating views of Lima's coastline.
With those three activities you're set - you've got culture, cuisine and charm and will have seen the best of Lima!
MATE Museum Exhibit - Mario Testino
Barranco is a lively district that for decades has attracted Lima's major trend-setters due to the bohemian and artsy feel of the area.
One gem that is not to be missed is the MATE Museum by the internationally reknowned Peruvian photographer, Mario Testino. The permanent exhibit is a stunning display of color and culture that provides visitors with a glimpse of Cusqueño culture. Apart from exploring native Andean traditions through the lens, during your visit you will also find the temporary exhibits which never fail to disappoint.
T +511 200 5400
Av. Pedro de Osma 409
Barranco Lima 4
Looking for places to eat in Lima? Don't overlook your breakfast options. Artisanal bakeries, like Pan de la Chola, have been creating plenty of buzz among visitors and locals alike so it's refreshing to see more boutique-style bakeries open up around the city.
One of the newest players to satisfy Limeño carb cravings is La Panetteria in Barranco. While they only have five or six tables, it's still under the radar so you can beat the crowds that are flocking to some of the other more high-profile spots. There are a number of options that cater to all tastes: those with a bit of sweet tooth (think chocolate filled croissants), health nuts (avocados filled with fresh tomatoes, parsely and sprouts), as well as traditionalists who want their coffee, toast and juice while they skim over the morning headlines.
Definitely worth venturing outside of Miraflores!
Avenida Grau 369, Barranco
T: (01) 4698260
Tourism in Lima is to receive an extra boost for the fourth year in a row thanks to the fantastic quality of its food. The prestigious World Travel Awards voted Peru, again, as the Best Culinary Destination in the World. Peru has been awarded this top spot for four consecutive years, beating well established foodie destinations such as Italy, France, China, Thailand and the United States. The recognition consolidates Peru as the hottest foodie destination. Three of the top restaurants in the world are based in Lima, including Central, which this year was voted as the best restaurant in the Americas and number four in the world.
The emergence of Peru as a major destination for food lovers who are curious to find out what all the fuss is about means that Lima is no longer a layover destination, but an attractive destination of its own merit. The number of visitors to Lima has steadily increased over the last few years and nobody can deny that food is playing a major role.
We've done our homework for you and scoured the world's best restaurant lists to bring you the top restaurants that are based in Peru.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants - San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
#4 - Central
Head Chef: Virgilio Martínez & Pía León
Calle Santa Isabel 376, Miraflores, Lima
+51 1 242 8515
#14 - Astrid y Gastón
Head Chef: Diego Muñoz
Av. Paz Soldán 290, San Isidro, Lima 27
+511 442 2775
#44 - Maido
Head Chef: Mitsuharu Tsumura
399 San Martin Street, Miraflores, Lima
+51 1 444 2568
Now let's get region-specific and look at the best restaurants in Latin America for 2015.
#1 - Central
#3 - Astrid y Gastón
#5 - Maido
#12 - La Mar
Head Chef: Andrés Rodríguez
Av. La Mar 770, Miraflores, Lima
+51 1 421 3365
#20 - Malabar
Head Chef: Pedro Miguel Schiaffino
Camino Real 101, San Isidro, Lima
+51 1 440 5200
#31 - Fiesta
Head Chef: Virgina Najarro Gamboa
Av. Reducto 1278 Miraflores, Lima
+51 1 242 9009
#34 - Osso Carnicería y Salumería
Head Chef: Renzo Garibaldi
Calle Tahiti 175 La Molina, Lima, Peru
+51 1 352 9915
#36 - La Picantería
Head Chef: Héctor Solís
Francisco Moreno 388, Surquillo, Lima
+51 1 241 6676
#50 - Rafael
Head Chef: Ricardo Martins
Calle San Martín 300, Miraflores, Lima
+51 1 242 4149
With nine delicious options, you should be set to have a delectable experience in Lima, Peru.
What to buy in Peru is a topic that comes up frequently with our guests during Lima food tours. It's important to pick out unique keepsakes, souvenirs and gifts that represent the local styles and flavors so that the essence of the trip lives on. Besides a lovely bottle of Pisco or the token chullo (Andean stocking cap) and pan pipes, we offer you five options that are sure to bring back memories of an unforgettable trip to Peru.
1. Silver Jewelry and Accesories
2. Pink Salt
3. Baby Alpaca
4. Organic coffee
5. Hot Sauce
Tourism in Lima wouldn’t be complete without a few tips on what to try while in the city. The microbrewing trend in Peru has recently taken off and there are some contenders that are giving the big players a run for their money. From brews that make use of more original ingredients, like the rocoto pepper or quinua, to your more traditional IPAs and lagers, there’s something for everyone looking to take a break from the pisco sour. Here are some of our favorites, as well as a few places where you can try them.
Peruvian craft beers
Where to try them
Although officially in autumn still, this week in Lima, Peru, started out grey and reminded us that winter is around the corner. That is not necessarily a bad thing! The restaurant scene in Lima gets even busier as the locals no longer spend their weekends at the beach resort in the south. It is time to catch up with family and friends over a nice meal, and during a cold winter day (well, it is all relative since winter in Lima is low 60s), there is nothing better than a nice chupe de camarones, or shrimp soup! This famous dish from the city of Arequipa is a creamy chowder, that packs enough spice to warm you up on a cool day. What are the top restaurants in Lima where you should try it? Most cebicherias serve this wonderful soup, but we have a few recommendations for you:
EL RINCONCITO DE TIABAYA
Founded back in the 50s, this traditional picantería is part of the history of traditional food from Arequipa in Lima. Don’t expect anything fancy, just outstanding food.
Jr. San Miguel 962, Surquillo.
Although this restaurant is famous for the Peruvian-Italian fusion, their Chupe de Camarones is one of the best in the city. It isn’t cheap, but the quality of the products and taste make it well worth it.
Malecón de la Marina 526, Santa Cruz, Miraflores.
Arequipan food is one of the tastiest in all of Peru and this restaurant specializes exclusively in this type of cuisine. There's no wondering why it made our short list. While there, also try the Rocoto Relleno!
Av. Aviación 4907, Surco
Av. Federico Villarreal 360, Miraflores
The Barranco district of Lima is home to some of the most enchanting corners of the city. If you are looking to try a locally brewed beer, The Barranco Beer Company should be on your list. On tap they have an ale and a lager, and for the more adventurous, they offer a variety of beer-based cocktails.
Lucas and I wandered in off the street after perusing the area for new stops to incorporate on our evening food tour. Whether we end up adding it to one of our current tours or not, it will absolutely be on our recommendation list from now on. Sometimes you just want something other than Cusqueña, so Ricardo, the bartender, filled us in on the brewery's future plans of possibly incorporating a selection of beers brewed from quinoa and other local products.
Another plus is that this is also going to be a great place to watch the World Cup games. They've installed a massive screen on the wall and there is more than enough room to get a good group of friends together to cheer on your favorite teams. ¡Salud!
ALL ABOUT LIMA
Sam and Lucas are an American-Peruvian couple who have run the top tour in Lima for the past six 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.