Our tour of Peru began in the capital Lima. After 3 hours of flying from Bogotá, we suddenly landed on the coast. We stayed two nights and one full day in Lima before traveling to our next destination. A time when you obviously can’t get to know a city. But getting a good impression, visiting museums, admiring street art, eating good food and enjoying the views does succeed with very little time. In this first part about our tour of Peru, I tell you what you can do in one day Lima, including an unexpectedly fun museum.
That city on the Pacific Ocean: Lima
Lima is the capital of Peru and has a population of about 10 million. We are, of course, used to Bogotá and found Lima amazingly organized and not nearly as chaotic as Colombia’s capital. Even several times cars stopped at the crosswalk to let us cross.
Lima was founded in the year 1535 and still has a historic center. Because of its location, Lima has a mild subtropical climate without extremes. The average temperature in summer (December to April) ranges between 21 and 28 degrees Celsius. In winter, it is between 12 and 19 degrees. It almost never rains in Lima, but it does get cloudy a lot, especially in winter. We too did not see any sun in the short time we were there.
Things to do in Lima in 1 day: Miraflores and Barranco
Lima is a huge city with a lot to see and do. And in one day it is impossible to do it all. We chose to visit two neighborhoods of the city, Miraflores and Barranco. So we skipped the old historic center, San Isidro and other neighborhoods. If you only visit the old town you will probably get a totally different picture of the city.
What did we do in 1 day of Lima?
Miraflores and Barranco are ideal for exploring in a day.
1. The cliffs of Lima: walk by the ocean
You can literally walk miles along the coast in Lima through different neighborhoods of the city. Because Lima is located high up, you have great views from the cliffs. Actually quite a special place I think. In Miraflores, there are many parks on the edge of the cliff that you can safely walk through. Here you have everything: viewpoints, places to play sports, restaurants and even tennis courts. We walked about 1.5 hours over the cliff from our hotel to the mall (see point 2), then took an Uber to Barranco. The cliffs of Lima really should not be missed while visiting this city!
2. LarcoMar Shopping Center
If you walk along the coast from Miraflores to Barranco you will automatically come to an upscale shopping mall: LarcoMar. A beautiful location with views of the city and the water. Besides shopping, you can also eat here with a view. By the way, we did not do so: we used the mall to visit the restroom and use the wifi to order an Uber.
3. Mario Testino Museum (MATE).
The surprise of our stay in Lima: museum MATE by world-renowned photographer Mario Testino. Now you may be thinking: are you only in Lima for one day and then you go to a museum with pictures of mostly celebrities. However, I love photography and also just find Mario Testino’s story very inspiring. A Peruvian boy from Lima who studied law and then turned his career around. He moved to London to study photography, and a few years later he was Princess Diana’s favorite photographer. Today, he remains a sought-after photographer in the fashion industry. His photographs convey emotion and energy in an open and intimate way. Very special to see.
Besides celebrities, Mario Testino also photographs folklore, which you can also find in the museum and is truly beautiful.
MATE I really found a highlight in Lima and definitely recommend visiting. Unless, of course, you are not into photography at all. You will find the museum in the Barranco neighborhood at 409 Avenida Pedro de Osma. A visit takes about an hour and costs 25 soles.
Although the neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco are directly adjacent, both are quite different. Miraflores is a modern neighborhood for the rich, while Barranco is a more hip neighborhood with big houses, street art and narrow streets. Although we took an Uber to Barranco, we walked back to Miraflores in the afternoon. A great way to see something of this fun neighborhood!
5. Street art in Lima
In Barranco, more precisely the neighborhood where you find the famous bridge Puente de los Suspiros, you walk down a narrow street to the beach. That narrow street is not only full of restaurants and bars, but is especially interesting for its street art. Also in side streets are many beautiful and colorful murals. Don’t forget to walk through this if you like street art, really worth it.
Where to stay.
The Miraflores neighborhood is a popular place for tourists to stay in Lima. Safe, full of great restaurants, many parks and close to the ocean. There is also plenty to do and a cab or bus will easily get you to the historic center, in case you want to go there. We too chose Miraflores to spend our first nights in Peru. A good choice: what a fine neighborhood!
We stayed at The Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast, centrally located in Miraflores. A very nice hotel with a courtyard, quiet location and an owner who tells everything about what to do in Lima. The hotel has a 9.3 on Booking for good reason. In advance we arranged to be picked up from the airport, which went perfectly. The hotel is cozy and clean with lovely beds. Also, the wifi worked perfectly everywhere, the breakfast was very nice and we had a really hot shower (not obvious in Peru we found out later). Absolutely highly recommended!
Vegetarian / vegan food in Lima
As vegetarians, we look everywhere through Happy Cow for the best vegetarian or vegan restaurants. So too in Lima. We ended up eating at 3 vegan restaurants, all equally fantastic.
Located in Barranco, this is a great vegetarian/vegan option in Lima. The food is not only delicious, it is also very beautifully prepared. As is the restaurant, by the way.
Great vegan burgers they have here, really delicious food on our first night. Good central location, cozy and nice atmosphere.
A popular vegan restaurant in Lima with as many as 3 locations. We had delicious vegan pizza and burger here. Nice atmosphere, lots of options and really focused on healthy vegan food.
Travel through Peru begins for many in Lima. Where, as in many capital cities, you can have a great time for a week or more. But even if you only have a day, Lima is worth it!
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