48 hours in Lima
Lima is a coastal city full of insane flavours, history and street art. In one day you could visit the depths of a catacomb, drink cocktails in an old colonial house and visit two of the Top 10 restaurants in the world! It's a great weekend break and here's the top things we did during our 2 days in Lima.
Lima is the perfect size to see most of the main attractions by bicycle and with a cycle along the coast, it’s pretty damn special. Therefore, combining cycling with a tour is the perfect combo for Lima. We recommend Lima Bici, who took us around the cat park, lighthouse, Love Park, Paddington Bear, Larcomar shopping centre and Barranco, teaching us loads about the city as we went.
Peru has fantastic food and Lima holds the gastronomic reign in Latin America, housing 3 of the Top 50 restaurants in the world (2 being in the Top 10!). With this in mind, there seems no better place for some cooking classes.
Lima Tasty Tours provide the perfect experience when it comes to this. Starting the day heading off to a local market to try all the exotic fruits… ever had a banana that looks just like a banana but… tastes like an apple? Doubt it. This is followed by the cooking class, overlooking the beach. Be ready to head home and treat everyone to homemade ceviche, causa (a local dish similar to filled mashed potatoes) and Pisco Sours!
So as we mentioned, Lima is holding that gastronomic reign tight and so with that comes a copious amount of 5* highly recommended restaurants on TripAdvisor. It can be quite overwhelming when trying to decide where to eat in Lima but of course, it is a must to try at least one of the many scrumptious culinary experiences.
There are 3 top 50 restaurants in the world in Lima - Central (6), Maido (7) and Astrid y Gaston (39). As you can imagine, these all come with quite a high price tag and need to be booked in advance, especially Central, which usually needs booking months in advance.
Tip: if you really want to visit Central but you can’t get a booking, try just turning up on the night and you may be in luck and be offered a seat in the bar area.
If you don’t want to break the bank too much but still want the experience, we highly recommend Jeronimo. Recommended by all the locals and for good reason, we had one the best meals we’ve ever had here!
For a casual meal during the day, we also recommend Barra Maretazo, who offer a great combo plate perfect for checking out the local cuisine. You are able to choose 2 dishes from ceviche, arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) and chicharrón (fried fish). We chose the cheviche and chicharrón – yum!
Barranco is the funky area of Lima, slowly taking over Miraflores as the most popular area to be in. Full of quirky jewellery stands and plenty of street art… not to mention the lovely bar and restaurant options here too. You will visit here on the bike tour but it’s definitely worth a separate return to spend more time strolling around and soaking in the bohemian culture. Make sure you check out the equality tunnel, designed with people from all different backgrounds to highlight the multiculturalism in Lima. We’d suggest strolling with an ice cream from Bosco Magico also.
Gran Hotel Bolivar – Plaza San Martin
South America loves a plaza but Lima’s is definitely up there as one of the most impressive. The main square is huge and looks lovely all lit up as the night crowd bustles through. Plaza San Martin is also home to Gran Hotel Bolivar, which is well known for serving the best Pisco Sours in town, as well as being famous for being the first large, modern hotel in Lima - with the likes of Walt Disney, The Rolling Stones, John Wayne and Santana passing through the doors.
The catacombs of the Monastery of San Francisco are a must when visiting Lima. Take a look around the monastery before heading down to the basement and be greeted by the bones of wealthy Catholics from Lima. They believed they’d be laid to rest in their expensive plots but there wasn’t room for expansion and too many rich Catholics were dying so their bodies were stacked to decompose to the bones. Sounds gruesome but the bones have now been places in artistic ways to be more aesthetically pleasing and it makes for a really interesting visit. It’s not often you come across something like this!
Circuito Magico Del Aqua
Some cities around the world have a fountain they like to do nightly light and water shows with but Lima went that one step further, providing a Guinness World Record breaking, entire park full of various fountains, all performing different shows. This is a magical place to visit and a great way to spend part of your evening. The park is open Wednesday-Sunday, 4-10pm and only costs $1.50 to enter! Not a bad price for a delightful tour of dancing water and lights.
Lima is full of old colonial mansions, many of which have now been converted into bars. Therefore, one of the must do activities in the city has obviously become having a cocktail in the beautiful surroundings of a colonial mansion. To save all the fuss, we suggest heading to Ayahuasca. This mansion is divided into several rooms, which makes a little self guided tour around the place part of the fun. Give yourself a while to decide which drinks you’ll want from their very extensive list of cocktails.