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Lima Travel Guide: How to Enjoy Lima and Stay Safe
June 3, 2020 | Guest post by James Lantz
Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It’s by far the largest city in Peru and one of the largest cities in South America. The city has a population of 8 million, but many believe that number is higher. Lima is often overlooked because tourists come to Peru to visit Machu Pichu or the Inca lines. Who can blame them? Peru is an incredible place with so much to offer. Every region has its own type of food, dialect, and history. This article will review the reasons why you should consider spending time and how to keep safe in Lima.
Things to do in Lima, Peru
#1 Go Surfing
There are a few beaches near the District of Miraflores where you can go surfing if you are looking for a little adventure. The waves at Playa Makaha and Playa Pamilla are consistent and are great for beginners. If you don’t have a board, no problem, some shops rent boards and wetsuits on the beach.
#2 Visit Ancient Ruins
Lima’s history goes back thousands of years, even before the Inca ruled the country. There are still ancient Peruvian ruins that remain, and they continue to find more. Ruins that you can see in or near Lima are:
- Huaca Pucllana – You will be amazed at how the ruin stands out among the high-rise buildings and apartments. Huaca is one of the most popular in Lima. When you look at the ruin, you can imagine how life was before the pre-Columbian times.
- Caral – One of the most extensive ruins in the area, UNSECO designated it a World Heritage site in 2009. It is one of the oldest settlements in all of the Americas. Within Caral, there exists a temple that is 492 feet by 360 ft, and 92 feet tall.
- Pachacamac – Dating back to 200AD, the name translates to ‘the creator.’ It was one of the most important religious sites after the Inca rule.
- Huaca Tres Palos – Located in the heart of the San Miguel neighborhood, the ruin can be seen above everything else. The ruin remains are mostly intact.
#3 Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas is the center of the city and home to the birthplace of Lima. The presidential palace is in front of the plaza, and the architecture around the square is spectacular. The plaza is a gathering place for locals where you will find local vendors selling quail eggs, ice cream, and other local favorites and services.
#4 District of Barranco
Barranco is known as the bohemian district of lima because of the art scene. There are beautiful buildings and street art all around. It is home to many of Peru’s leading artists, musicians, and designers. It’s also home to many great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. You can spend the day walking around the streets or walk to the beach.
#5 District of Miraflores
Miraflores is one of the most well-known districts in Lima. In the heart of Miraflores, you will find Kennedy Park. Kennedy Park, in a way, has become the unofficial main square of Lima. The park covers an area of over 240,000 square feet. The park is surrounded by restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, and cathedrals. The park offers an abundance of benches to rest on during the day. You will find cats resting in the grass that calls the park home. Street vendors and artist will be selling their merchandise. There is also a good chance that you will see musicians playing in front of an audience. It’s truly a vibrant atmosphere that everyone should experience.
Peruvian Food: What to Eat in Lima
Ceviche, also called Cebiche, is truly amazing. You have not had ceviche until you have tried Lima’s ceviche, and you cannot leave Peru until you have tried it. The fish is usually a white fish, like the local corbina. There are different variations that you can try. They all usually come with Peruvian corn, and peeled potatoes on the side. Some local favorites are Barra Chalaca, El Mercado, and Pescados Capitales. Make sure to get there early or prepare to wait in a long line. Barra Chalaca is a small restaurant, and if late, it may take an hour to get served. However, it’s well worth the wait.
Peru’s food is gaining popularity around the world. There is a lot of fusions and history behind the meals that bring out some fantastic flavors. The most memorable meal in Lima besides ceviche are lomo saltado, aji de gallina, causa, and anticuchos. Of those, the most popular is the lomo saltado. It’s a delicious meal with fried potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and slices of steak mixed with a side of rice. If you are looking for a great meal, then consider going to Isolina Taberna Peruana located in Barranco or Panchita located in Miraflores.
Another great restaurant that is known for its sandwiches is the La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla. The restaurant is located in the heart of Miraflores. The restaurant will be packed full of tourists and locals all day long.
If you are traveling on a budget or if you are looking for more of an authentic feel, than look for a restaurant that has a sign outside spelled, ‘menú.’ A ‘menú’ restaurant offers delicious local dishes at a low cost. Often these restaurants are found in the middle of a market, on the street, in an established building, or in someone’s house, which they converted into a restaurant.
How to stay safe in Lima
Lima is a delightful city, but with any large city, you need to be careful.
Taking Taxis – Taxis are easy to find and are relatively cheap. There are some illegal taxis, so make sure the taxi that you get into always has a taxi license clearly exhibited on the window. Another safety tip, if you have luggage, even a camera backpack, make sure to keep it in the trunk or clearly out of anyone’s sight.
One thing to keep in mind is that in Peru, you negotiate the taxi fare. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you will need to know some Spanish. There’s a good chance the taxi driver will charge you more than the average rate if he thinks you are a tourist. To avoid this, always ask the restaurant, hotel, bar, or coffee shop to call a taxi and negotiate the price on your behalf.
Pickpocketing and Petty Theft – There are professionals. If you are in crowded areas, always make sure to have your wallet in your front pocket and one hand over the wallet. If you have a purse, make sure to keep the bag in front of you and one hand on it. Never keep your wallet or purse in your backpack.
When dining, always keep your purse or backpack on your lap or make sure it is secured to the table or chair within your sight. You can do this by putting one leg of your chair over the backpack loop.
ATMs – It is safe to use an ATM in Lima. One thing to keep in mind is not to take money out of an ATM than directly go into a taxi. If robbers are watching, they will see you get into the cab and wait for the taxi to get stuck in traffic.
James Lantz has traveled over 600,000 miles in the last five years. He is an outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about hiking, fishing, and biking. He runs the website, Trip to the Wild, which provides tips and tricks for any outdoor enthusiast, no matter if you are a beginner or experienced person.
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