Eating and Meeting in Lima – Peru’s Capital and Dominant City

Ugly Water Fountain, Plaza Mayor, Lima

Part of the central water fountain in Lima’s historic Plaza Mayor; the red and white flags fly in anticipation of the 28-29 July Fiestas Patrias (Peruvian national holidays)

Arequipa maybe Peru’s food capital and Cusco the country’s tourism capital but Lima is its transportation, business, dining and official capital. With one-third of Peru’s population, Lima dominates the country.

For many time-limited tourists, Lima is merely a place to transit between planes and buses. However, in a city with almost ten million people, there is much to do.

From Lake Titicaca’s Copacabana, I caught a Bolivia Hop bus to the Kasani-Yunguyo Bolivia-Peru border. After a straight forward border crossing, we walked into Peru and boarded a Peru Hop bus for Arequipa via Puno. Although three hours from Copacabana, Puno also lies on Lake Titicaca – the lake is huge!

After a night in Arequipa I took an overnight Excluciva bus with lie-flat seats 16 hours to Lima. I came to Lima to meet friends Pedro, Maria and Julian visiting from Australia. We enjoyed a lovely meal at noted seafood restaurant Punto Azul.

Eating at Punto Azul, Miraflores, Lima

With Maria, Julian and Pedro at Miraflores seafood restaurant Punto Azul

Fruit Stall at Mercardo Numero 1 Surquillo, Lima

Mercado Numero 1 Surquillo – a great market for self catering when staying in Miraflores

The suburb of Miraflores is a very popular base for exploring Lima. I stayed at Pariwana Hostel, a good place for meeting people, with its own rooftop restaurant and bar.

Pariwana Hostel Party, Lima

A party on Pariwana’s rooftop

Not only did I meet Izzy and Ido, I also bumped into Ru from the Bolivia Hop bus and Xindi from our time in Sucre. Incredibly, between South American meetings, Xindi had visited Europe and New Zealand.

With Xindi at La Lucha, Miraflores, LimaWith Xindi at one of Lima’s famous La Lucha Sangucheria sandwich restaurants

In addition to several of the world’s best restaurants, Lima hosts Mistura, Latin America’s leading gastronomy fair. My favourite Lima dining experience was at ámaZ with Ru. ámaZ specialises in original dishes using Amazon-sourced ingredients (from the region, not the online store).

Freshwater Shellfish at Amaz, Miraflores, Lima

Stuffed freshwater snails at ámaZ restaurant

Dessert at Amaz, Miraflores, Lima

Mmmm, dessert at ámaZ

To work off this fantastic meal (thank you Ru), we walked to the coast and then south to Barranco, Lima’s bohemian district.

Lima Surf Pebble Beach

Lima’s surf coast on a typical overcast winter’s day

The surf washing Lima’s beach pebbles back and forth made a pleasant, almost meditative, sound

Barranco Street Mural, Lima

Impressive Barranco street art

With Ru at Barranco pub, Lima

With Ru at a Barranco character pub; here, Dante, a local drunk entertained us

On my final day in Lima, hostel worker Raul guided several travellers on a tour of Lima’s world heritage listed historic centre. To get there from Miraflores we caught the Metropolitano bus north.

Riot Police, Plaza Mayor, Lima Police with riot shields escort a VIP (probably a politician) across Lima’s historic Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas)

A Lima highlight is the Monastery of San Francisco (Convento de San Francisco), in particular, the catacombs containing bones from thousands of bodies. Tours are compulsory and include the church and convent.

Museo San Francisco and Catacumbas sign, Lima

Interior photographs of the Monastery of San Francisco are forbidden so here is the sign

If you have a spare few days or if you like eating, Lima is well worth a visit.

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