Lima is a mosaic of landscapes set beneath a blanket of thick yellow smog. Despite the 9 million inhabitants, the constant headache from car horns and the aggressive bus drivers – you’ll learn to love Lima if you give it a chance. In a single day you can experience the dusty pueblos of Lima’s north end, the chic tourist haven of Miraflores, the lavish Historic Centre as well as Lima’s beaches.
Lima’s beaches are not pristine white sand beaches, but they are a welcome escape from the traffic that engulfs Lima at all hours of the day. Navigating the streets of Lima demands patience. Pedestrians jut out among cars and weave through traffic making driving a challenge. Cross with caution and never assume the car will stop for you just because the driver sees you – a common mistake among visitors to Lima.
The sheer size of Lima will wow you and keep you busy for days – as will the beautifully restored colonial architecture and handful of excellent museums and churches. Many tourists stay in Miraflores for the cuisine and security and make daily outing to the Historic Centre and nightly trips to Barranco for its pumping nightlife. If you are looking for culture versus party, then opt for the historic centre where you can safely wander the cobbled streets after dinner and spend a quiet night at one of the many hotels along Jirón de la Unión off of the Plaza de Armas.
Sightseeing in Lima
Plaza de Armas – Also known as Plaza Mayor, offers a great starting point for exploring Lima’s Historic Centre.
Museo de la Nación – Avenida Javier Prado Este, 2465, San Borja. T-Sun, 9AM-6PM. Tel. (0051-1) 476-9933
Iglesia San Francisco – Visit this historic landmark and wander the dusty catacombs. Lampa and Ancash, Historic Centre. M-Sun, 9:30AM-5:30PM.
Barrio Chino – Rows of vendors selling anything and everything made in China. Take the afternoon to grab some Chinese food and walk the interesting market where you can buy vegetables, pirated DVDs or plastic flower arrangements for low prices.
Soaring over Lima
Afternoon paragliding trips over Miraflores can be arranged through Aeroxtreme with an office at Trípoli, 345, Apartment 503, Miraflores. For individual consultation on a one day course, beginner pilot course or a no-hassle tandem flight over Costa Verde contact Michael Fernández or contact the office at (0051-1) 242-5125.
Surfing in Lima
Punta Hermosa and the various surf spots along Barranco, southeast of Miraflores are where you can catch good waves in Lima. For Peru’s best surf spots visit Wannasurf Peru
and follow the beach circuit along the northern coast of Peru between Lima up to Ecuador.
The best way to buy a used surfboard in Lima is to drop into hostels in Miraflores and ask if anyone is selling a surfboard. The best waves are hours north of Lima and travellers usually end their surfing trip in Lima and are willing to sell their used surfboard for a fraction of the retail cost.
A Tello Surf Shop For surfboard reparations, accessories and to buy used and new boards. Calle Berlin, 270, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 242-9337
Klimax Surfboards International
The Klimax factory sells only new boards and the Miraflores retail location sells accessories, new and used boards as well as boards on consignment.
Factory location – Gral. Mendiburu, 519-525. Tel. (0051-1) 440-4251
Retail location – José Gonzales, 486-488, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 447-1685
Miraflores bars tend to appear in clusters making bar hopping easy. Try Calle Berlin between Bellavista and Libertad. Bars double as restaurants early in the evening and some serve late night snacks.
Barranco is known to attract a bohemian and surf crowd on weekends. HELP is the latest hot spot from Thursday to Saturday in Barranco, a short taxi trip from Miraflores. Catalino Miranda, 158, Barranco.
A trendy Japanese-Peruvian Cebichería in La Molina district of Lima. The
place to go for traditional dishes with an exotic twist. Avenida La Fontana, 1137, La Molina. Tel. (0051-1) 348-8095
Señor Frogs A gringo favorite around the world. LarcoMar, Malecón de la Reserva, 610, Miraflores.
Budget Hotels Lima
Hospedaje Rucus Great location in the heart of historic Lima with rock bottom prices. Jirón de la Unión, 428, Historic Centre. Tel. 428-6102 local calls only
Friends’s House As the sign at the hostel states, “You will find cordiality, warm feelings, and quality.” Price includes Internet and a breakfast of eggs, bread and coffee. Calle Manco Capac, 368, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 446-6248
Midrange Hotels Lima
A step up from the no-frills backpacker abode. Calle Berlin, 259, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 651-2886
Luxury Hotels Lima
La Hacienda Hotel & Casino
An elegant hotel surrounded by restaurants and all the amenities Miraflores has to offer. Avenida 28 de Julio, 511, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 213-1010
Doubletree El Pardo comfortable and convenient choice for exploring Lima. Independencia, 141, Miraflores. Tel. (0051-1) 617-1000
Gran Hotel Bolívar
Luxurious accommodation with the best service historic Lima has to offer. A cultural experience in itself. Jirón de la Unión, 958, Historic Centre. Tel. (0051-1) 619-7171