Lima is the capital of Peru and its largest city. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, the modern city is a curious mix of the modern mega city with some 'islands of modernity', large but orderly slum areas and colonial architecture in the city center. Lima was the seat of the Spanish rule during 300 years, and as such it has wonderful churches, cloisters and monasteries that are worth a visit.
Lima is also the best place to try the wonderful Peruvian cuisine, which has a huge variety of ingredients from coast, mountain and Amazon regions. The cold sea current in front of Peru's large coast makes the sea very rich in fish and seafood, which have a great taste due to the special plankton they eat. Fish and seafood restaurants are therefore worth the time, and not expensive.
Lima is built upon a valley surrounded by an extremely arid desert. In the summer, the weather is usually beautiful, very warm and sunny, sometimes with rains around January. In the winter, the city is overcast and rainy for days at a time. The rain in the wintertime doesn't fall hard, but it gets everything wet. Temperature also falls to around 45-55 degrees F, which seems chillier when combined with the general dampness.
Metropolitan Lima is a metropolis of almost 10 million people. Many of these people have migrated from the Andes mountains to find work in Lima, without success. For this reason, there is widespread poverty in the city center and in the peripheral areas. If you fly into Lima, the first thing you see upon leaving the airport are these types of poor neighborhoods situated between the airport and Lima's historic center.
Lima's pre-Hispanic and colonial architecture is beautiful and the city has several museums (such as Museo Larco) that tell the story of a country with a long history that produced a large number of coastal and Andean civilizations (such as the Moche, Chavin, and the Incas) and many local cultures. There are several archeological sites both within and around the city (locally known as "huaca"). The largest archeological complex is in Pachacamac, about 10 km south of Lima.
Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA: LIM|ICAO: SPIM) (also called Jorge Chavez Airport Lima-Callao; flight infos T:+51 (1) 511-6055)  is in the harbour city Callao (part of metropolitan Lima). Lima is well connected with most cities in South America. There are regular flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Newark, Atlanta and Houston in the US. There are daily flights from Amsterdam, Madrid, Miami, Bogotá, Medellín, Quito, Santiago de Chile and Toronto as well.
These airlines fly to or from Lima as of March 2009:
- Aerolíneas Argentinas (Bogotá, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza)
- Aeroméxico (Mexico City)
- Air Canada (Toronto-Pearson)
- Air Comet (Madrid)
- American Airlines (Miami)
- Avianca (Bogotá)
- Continental Airlines (Houston-Intercontinental, Newark)
- Copa Airlines (Panama City)
- Delta Air Lines (Atlanta)
- Iberia (Madrid)
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam)
- LAN Airlines (Los Angeles, New York-JFK, Santiago)
- LAN Perú (Arequipa, Bogotá, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Cajamarca, Cali (Begins August 2009), Caracas, Cartagena de Indias, Chiclayo, Cordoba, Cusco, Guayaquil, Iquitos, Iquique, Juliaca, La Paz, Los Angeles, Madrid, Medellín, Mexico City, Miami, Piura, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Punta Cana (Begins September 2009) Quito, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Santiago, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujillo, Tumbes)
- LC Busre (Andahuaylas, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Chimbote, Huancayo, Huánuco, Huaraz)
- Spirit Airlines (Fort Lauderdale)
- Star Perú (Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Iquitos, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Tarapoto)
- TACA 
- Lacsa (Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, San José (CR))
- TACA Peru (Asunción, Bogotá, Buenos Aires-Ezeiza, Caracas, Cusco, Havana, Guatemala City, Guayaquil, La Paz, Medellín, Montevideo, Quito, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão, San José (CR), San Salvador, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Santiago, São Paulo-Guarulhos)
- TAM Airlines (São Paulo-Guarulhos)
Lima is the hub for most domestic flights and is served by: LAN Peru, LC Busre, TACA Peru, and Star Peru.
If you are flying out of Lima internationally, the airport tax is $31. It is $6.50 for domestic flights. If you are flying with American Airlines or Delta, the tax is already included in price of the ticket.
Arrival at the airport can be chaotic. Most flights from overseas arrive in clumps either early in the morning or very late at night, which means that getting through immigration and customs can be tremendously time consuming; the difference between arrival at the gate and exiting customs can range from 20 to 90 minutes. The area immediately outside of customs is typically crowded, full of people waiting for arriving passengers (it's not uncommon for entire families to show up to greet a returning family member), including pre-booked car and taxi services holding up signs with passengers' names; in recent years, a large area where passengers can stand freely and scan the crowd to look for people and not be accosted has been cordoned off in front of customs exit.
The airport is a 20-40 minute drive from San Isidro or Miraflores. The Best Western hotel in the Miraflores section, as well as several others, offers free airport pickup; check with your hotel regarding this service. If arranged ahead of time, a driver from the hotel will stand in the large crowd of people holding a sign with your name. They may need to have you wait just outside the airport for 5 to 10 minutes as they get their car; this is normal. Don't worry about standing outside the airport alone for this; it's well-lit at night and security guards are prevalent.
Be wary of the taxi drivers at the airport: if you need transportation at the airport you should avoid using the "informal" taxis outside of it that will accost you, and either hire it inside the customs reception area (at somewhat inflated fees, as these companies, currently Green Taxi, CMV, and Mitsui, pay a premium to locate their desk there), or book taxi service ahead of time with a reputable company (they will be waiting for you outside customs), which will be a fair bit cheaper (a ride to Miraflores should run you $25-30 USD)(July 2009). Its best to use a Certified Ground Transportation supplier so you can always be on the safe side.
There is also an Express bus to Centro and Miraflores leaving from the Arrival hall; ask at the airport information desk.
Car rental is available at the airport via Hertz, Budget, and National, but unless you have experienced driving in extremely challenging third-world environments you should avoid driving yourself in Lima. If you're set on driving yourself, take cabs for a day or so and see what navigating Lima traffic is like before making that decision.
Unlike many other cities in Peru, Lima doesn't have a big bus terminal (though one is currently under construction, as of May 2009). Most companies are in La Victoria, not Lima's nicest neighbourhood. However, most are just on the outskirts, where it's a bit safer. More expensive express buses tend to run from terminals by the inner ringroad (Av. Javier Prado and Paseo de la Republica).
Regular buses run up and down the Panamerican Highway and inland:
- South: Pisco, Ica, Nazca, Arequipa & Tacna
- North: Huaraz, Chimbote, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, & Tumbes
- East: Madre de Dios, Puno, Huaraz, Cajamarca, Ayacucho,
Companies and Terminals
Some bus companies and the locations of their terminals are:
Cruz del Sur
The most popular company with tourists
- Northern Terminal (terminal closest to the Main Square): Jr Quilca 531, Lima. Serves:
- Southern Terminal (terminal closest to Miraflores - i.e. closest to most backpackers but you will still need to take a taxi: Av Javier Prado Este 1109, San Isidro. Serves:
Ormeño Javier Prado Este 1059 (San Isidro). Local destinations but also international destinations, for example:
Ormeño is in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest land route (Caracas to Buenos Aires via Lima)
Expreso Cial Av. Republica de Panama
Movil Tours Av. Paseo de la Republica 749. Serves northern Peru destinations only
CIVA Corner of Av. 28 de Julio and Paseo de la República 575, La Victoria
Tepsa Javier Prado Este 1091, La Victoria
Oltursa Av. Aramburú 1160, San Isidro
Flores Paseo de La República 627, La Victoria
The city is divided into several quarters. You can walk within each quarter, but between quarters you need a bus or taxi.
It is helpful to have a general overview of the quarters most important to tourists:
- Centro in the north, just south of the Rimac river, has the central squares, Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Arma) and Plaza San Martin, churches, colonial architecture, the presidential palace and Congress, and shopping streets.
- To the south-west is Pueblo libre with the two main museums, Antropological and Larco Herrera.
- Further south is Miraflores, an upscale touristy neighborhood with restaurants, nightlife, and hotels
- Further south still Barranco, a bohemian beach-side neighborhood known for its nightlife.
If going further, a taxi ride between adjacent neighborhoods costs about $2 (6 soles), if you speak Spanish well enough. A longer ride may cost from $3 to $7. A reasonable price for a taxi service between the airport and Miraflores is about $12 (35 soles), but may cost more from within the airport. By custom, taxis do not have meters; rather, the fare should be negotiated before boarding the taxi, or, if you request one by phone, at booking time. If asking for a ride on the street, don't be fooled into getting into the cab before a rate is negotiated. Be also very discerning about which taxi you choose, and avoid hailing random cabs off the street as much as possible.
Caution is advised in Lima, and the same goes for taxis. As a foreigner, don't EVER get into shared taxis.
There are several types of public transport: big buses, medium-sized coasters, and micros and combis, small white vans packed with up to 20 people. Formerly you could stop them at any point along the main travel routes. Lately, however, the government has clamped down and insists that they only stop at defined "paraderos," bus stops, at least in the more upscale parts of the city like Miraflores and San Isidro. If a bus or combi is not full enough the driver will go slower in the hope more people hop in, so take a cab if you're in a hurry. In a combi you usually pay from 0.50 to 1.80 soles.
On the side of every bus or van you will find written the names of the major avenidas it travels. If those don't make sense to you, simply ask the conductor about the quarter (neighborhood) you want. He will either wave you in or direct you to another bus. Be careful, as he may wave you in, even if the bus does not actually go where you want.
There does not appear to be a major safety issue in taking the big busses or the medium-sized coasters. You may wish to think twice before riding the combis, though, because they tend to overfill and have a high center of gravity, a deadly combination should your driver have a serious accident.
- Plaza de Armas or Plaza Mayor, is the main square of downtown Lima. In the Spanish tradition, it's bordered in four sides by Government/Presidential Palace or Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral and Archbishop's Palace, the Municipalidad or City Hall, and assorted businesses.
- Museo de Arte— Has permanent and temporary exhibits of Peruvian art, covering pre-Hispanic, colonial, republican and Modern art.
- La Iglesia de San Francisco— Fans of colonial churches will be pleased with the architecture of this well-known church in downtown Lima. However, the more compelling reasons to visit this cathedral include underground catacombs featuring over 25,000 real human skeletons (buried between the late 16th and early 19th centuries) arranged in artistic patterns, and also a beautiful library with mysterious, oversized books and spiral staircases in Harry Potteresque form.
- Cerro San Cristóbal— This hill is situated close to the Rimac river at 500m above sea level and from here the visitor can contemplate an incomparable landscape: The city with its high buildings, the course of the river Rimac, as well as asphalt roads of the sea resorts and districts. An observation point with an illuminated cross, a site museum and a restaurant that has 'anticuchos' (kebabs) and 'picarones' (fritters), are its best attractions and a good motive for a visit. Entry to the museum costs: Adults: 1 sol Children: 50 centimos. It's not so easy to get here, but many tour companies include a visit here on their itineraries and taxi drivers will know how to go.
- Instituto Riva Agüero, in Jirón Camaná, holds two museums: an interesting collection of popular arts, including masks and costumes from current festivities in the Andean region; and a small but nice collection of archaeological artifacts from Lima sites. The Instituto is housed on a very old colonial townhouse, one of the few of its kind open to the public.
- Huaca Pucllana  dates back to 200-700 AD. Located in Miraflores and made from small handmade, sun-dried brick, this huge construction is 22 meters high. It is divided into two areas, for ceremonial and administrative ends. Guided tours include a visit through the museum, the small park with native flora and fauna and the craftsmen's house where handicrafts are on exhibit and for sale. Admission is 5 soles for adults. There is also an eponymous restaurant on the site itself, which, though expensive, offers stunning views of the complex, particularly at night, when it's floodlit.
- Luis Miro Quesada Garland hall, is commonly known as the Galeria de la Municipalidad de Miraflores (Miraflores Municipal Gallery). Located in the Municipality building, opposite Avenida Larco and some fifty meters from the Parque Central, it is one of the most popular art galleries in Lima. The exhibition rooms are spacious, and the exhibitions themselves are generally very good. Work on show is mainly by local artists, with the occasional foreign contribution. Artists who display their work here usually go on to acquire a good reputation in the national art scene.
- Larcomar. It's like a mall, where you can eat, shop, go to the cinema, it has two nice discotecs for the night. The discotecs are open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and in summer (January and February) also Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Larcomar's principal attraction is its location. It is in Miraflores, in a high hill where you can see the beach while eating or just walking. Best to visit during the sunset.
- Museo de la Nacion, along Av. Javier Prado
- Museo Larco Herrera , showcases remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Located in a unique vice-royal mansion of the 18th century built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid, is surrounded by beautiful gardens, in Pueblo Libre borough. Popular thanks to its ample collection of erotic pottery from the Mochica culture and the Gold & Jewelry of Ancient Peru exhibition.
- National Museum of Archaeology and History, also in the Pueblo Libre borough, quite good and very didactic; the area surrounding it is worth a walk.
- Museo de Oro del Perú, Alonso de Molina 1100, Monterrico. Overrated. Peru's gold museum contains a huge collection of gaudy, gold works. Not the best place to learn about Peruvian precolumbian cultures. A large part of a Peruvian 20,000-piece collection of gold is fake, according to the Peru's consumer protection agency. Ref:BBC News Article . A new "branch office" has opened in LarcoMar in Miraflores that is much more focussed and beautifully presented; best of all, of course, is that it is located in the main tourist area.
- Pachacamac  (site in Spanish) about 25km south of Lima is huge archaeological site containing pre-inka and inka temples (entrance fee 6 Soles). This was one of the major pilgrimage sites in South America, in the years 500 to 1500. The temples are not very well preserved. There are three ramp pyramids and a temple of the sun (the only temple which may be accessed). Unfortunately, the ruins may only be seen from a road, without a pair of binoculars a very disappointing exercise. The on-site museum is poor. From Miraflores, take a colectivo to 'Puente Primavera'. From there, take a 'San Bartolo' colectivo to Lurin (2.50 Soles). Tell the conductor that you want to drop off at the ruinas de Pachacamac.
- The city of kings offers a wide variety of activities. As it is one of the few South American capitals in front of the sea (apart from Montevideo and Buenos Aires) and is in between different sea currents, Lima is a paradise for surfers and food based on fish and seafood. Lima´s cuisine is considered as one of the best and more diverse of the world.
- Lima offers inside the metropolitan area, many outdoor activities such as Paragliding and Hangliding that can be done in a Tandem flight over Miraflores with AeroXtreme , PeryFly  or flying by your own doing a full course or a one day course with a paragliding school like Infinity Paragliding School  or Parapente Paragliding Peru . Most of the flights are done in one of the cliff edge sides of Miraflores, next to Parque del Amor.
- Other entertaining and interesting option are the Bike Tours through the best spots of the city such as Barranco, San isidro, Miraflores, Chorrillos and the Downtown area. Companies like Bike Tours of Lima  organize guided bicycle tours in english or spanish at reasonable prices. Also there is a possibility to rent a bike for hours or days to do your own bike trip.
- Mountain Biking is also a great option very close to the city. The districts of Pachacamac, Cieneguilla and Mala have very good bicycle paths and circuits to have a great experience with a great weather and under professional supervision. Companies like Peru Bike  and Peru Biking Tours  offer different alternatives.
- Traditional City tours are also available in the city, Lima Vision  and Urbanito  have different daily tours.
- City Tour Of Lima 
- If you are used to boring clinical supermarkets, drop by one of the local markets to experience something very different. Fruits and vegetables hang freely, fresh from their vines, fish and poultry as well, freshly butchered. Be careful when purchasing raw or uncooked food.
- Gymnasiums - if you just want to get a workout, there are a number of gyms to choose from. Many hotels offer their gyms to the public for a fee. There is a climbing wall to practice on Av. Diez Canseco, block 3, counting from Parque Kennedy.
- Fountain Park of the Reserve (Parque de la Reserva), Miraflores District, Lima, Peru (unknown), ☎ unknown, . unknown. Re-opened on July 27, 2007 this fountain park is one of the largest in South America, holding a Guinness World Record for the highest public fountain in the world, at over 80m tall. With 13 fountains in total one could spend several hours here walking around and taking pictures. Best time to go is right at sunset and stay till dark to see all the lights in full effect in each one of the fountains. They also have a laser show at the Fuente de la Fantasia fountain that last apx 30 min (a must see!). S/. 4.00.
Sea Lions on Islas Palomino
- To Islas Palomino (Palomino Islands)  are located at short distance from the port of Lima, Callao. These small islands are inhabited by small colonies of sea lions, Peruvian boobies and Guanay cormorants. This is a reasonable alternative excursion to famous Ballestas Islands in Paracas if you are spending some days in Lima and can not travel south to Pisco and Paracas, and also if you want to swim with the sea lions. (In Ballestas that is forbidden.)
For some reason it is very hard to change money other than Euros and US-Dollars in Lima. You can't even change the currency from neighbouring countries in normal money exchanges and banks. You might find more flexible exchange offices at airports, but they often charge ridiculous service fees and exchange-rates. Changing money in Miraflores can be done safely with cambistas on the street, but you must follow a few simple rules to avoid being cheated. First, make sure that the cambista is wearing the vest-uniform indicating that he or she is an authorized, licensed cambista. Always ask for the exchange rate (tipo de cambio). It is worth it to compare with several cambistas, especially if you are changing a significant amount of money. Finally, make sure that the bills the cambista gives you have his or her seal stamped on them - that way, if by chance one of them turns out to be counterfeit you can come back and complain. I have never gotten counterfeit notes from a cambista, but asking for the seal probably helps maintain the incentive for honesty.
As anywhere, your best bet is usually to simply draw money from an ATM. There are banks dotted all over Lima and some of them have guarded ATMs.
Visit "Polvos Azules" near central Lima to buy cheap clothes, cd's and dvd's, shoes, backpack's, spirits or perfumes. Most things you buy here are fake, but nevertheless of good quality. There are several cheap markets like "Polvos Azules" in, or near, central Lima.
There are a number of markets for buying Peruvian artesania, souvenirs, jewelry, and handicrafts along Av. Petit Thouars in Miraflores. To get there is a short walk from Parque Kennedy. The biggest - and arguably best - of these is Mercado Indio, a huge expanse of small tiendas selling everything Peruvian - sweaters, blankets, silver, whatever you want! Be careful in some of the stores on Petit Thouars closer to central Miraflores - I have been handed counterfeit bills as change. But in general, competition works its magic and the prices on Petit Thouars are very good, as long as you aren't clueless. Be sure not to miss shop #71, a wonderful catch-all tienda with great prices and knowledgable staff who can tell you the story behind every little item.
For even better prices, if you are feeling more adventurous you can try the markets along Av. La Marina in San Miguel on the way to the airport. An idea might be to stop there for last-minute shopping before leaving the country. These goods are similar to those of Av. Petit Thouars, but as the neighborhood is considerably less upscale and fewer tourists come here, the prices are a little lower.
While Polvos Azules in the center of Lima might be the absolute best for prices on many items, you can save time by shopping some of the stores right in Miraflores. La Quinta, for example, on the corner of Larco and Diez Canseco, is sort of a Marshalls/TJ Maxx Peruvian style, offering all sorts of clothes at very good prices (but watch the quality). A great place to buy simple cooking utensils is in the shops surrounding el Mercado de Surquillo, just over the bridge (crossing the freeway) from Miraflores off Av. Ricardo Palma. You can find all sorts of implements, like orange juice squeezers (exprimador de jugo de naranja), rolling pins, cutting boards, and other tools you might find useful, all handmade and of decent if not spectacular quality. The Mercado itself can be a good place to experience Peruvian food markets - a rich variety of produce, fruits, and meats are available.
Peruvian furniture is also worth considering. There are several high-quality furniture stores in Miraflores; but probably the best of all is called Don Bosco in the Santa Beatriz section near downtown Lima. You can arrange shipping for anything that screams to be sitting in your living room - Don Bosco is a cooperative founded by an Italian priest who taught woodworking to orphans living in the Sierra of the department of Ancash, and has a unique design that seems to be a mix of Andean and Italian.
If you are interested in purchasing Peruvian folk musical instruments, there are a number of stores selling charangos, quenas, antaras, etc. on Calle Cantuarias right near Astrid y Gastón. If you have the time, a number of these stores can help you find a teacher to learn how to play your purchase.
Ceviche de pulpo (Octopus ceviche) as prepared in the port of Callao, in Lima's coast.
Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world due to the fact that experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the "Gastronomical Capital of Latin America". The offerings in Lima are nowadays most varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.
Despite the wide range of choice in Lima's many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the "Peruvian national dish", but because of its unparalelled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don't miss it during your stay here in ceviche's Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood, so it won't be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.
Warning: The locals make it a rule not to eat ceviche late in the day since doing so may upset one's stomach (which is why you won't easily find a cevicheria open after 5). Western stomachs in particular can sometimes react badly to this acidic dish and eating it late in the day apparently increases that risk. Drinking Pisco Sour with a plate of Ceviche makes the meal even more acidic. Beginners may want to choose a different type of drink with their Ceviche.
A second must goes to Asian cuisine, both Chinese and Japanese, which predictably, have a strong Peruvian influence. Chifas -that is, Chinese restaurants-, which can be counted by the hundreds if not thousands, are usually down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, offering a fare rich in seafood and chicken. Japanese restaurants, on the contrary, are less widespread, and more upscale and expensive. Their forte is, of course, a year-round supply of the freshest and most variegated seafood.
Be careful: Peruvian food tend to be spicy and heavy. Try it with method and ask if any dish is "picante" (spicy), and if you are not fond of that, avoid it since it may be really picante. A full meal may be really heavy and cause problems even if it's perfectly nice and well prepared with fresh ingredients.
Israeli and Arab tourists longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent cafe along Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.
- Alfresco, Malecon Balta 790, Miraflores, serving "Lima's best cerviche" for around 30 soles. A delightful, upmarket restaurant.
- Las Orquidas, Jr. Manuel Bonilla 138, Miraflores, is a vegetarian restaurant.
- Te Burbuja, Pasaje Los Pinos 118, Miraflores, is a small Taiwanese joint close to Parque Kenedy, with nice fruit salads, all sorts of bubble tea, fruit juices and shakes.
- Salon Capon, Jr. Paruro 819, Lima, is a more expensive Chinese restaurant close to Lima's Chinatown.
- La Cocina de Dario, Av. Petit Thours 5390, Miraflores, gives you a taste of the Peruvian and Japanese food fusion, with a variety of fresh seafood.
- La Rosa Nautica, Espigón de Playas, Lima, is built over the ocean beneath Larcomar and is arguably one of the best restaurants in Lima. Although quite expensive, the ambience and cuisine are superb. The entree "La Rosa Nautica Style" comes highly recommended.
- Danica, Av. Cavenecia, Miraflores, (near Ovalo Gutierrez) serves excellent Peruvian and Italian dishes (seafood, steak, and vegetarian). Upscale, intimate atmosphere and attentive service.
- GianFranco Caffe, Angamos Oeste 598, Miraflores (corner of Elias Aguirre), ☎ 4465150. Cafe with delicious ice-cream and excellent Italian pizza. A great meeting place for Italian citizens.
Top 5 Gourmet Restaurants in Lima:'
- Astrid&Gaston Calle Cantuarias 175, Miraflores Tel: 444 1496 / 242 5387 Restaurant of the famous Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio. Dishes look spectacular and taste as good as they look.
- Rafael, Calle San Martín 300 Miraflores, try the Lomo Saltado.
- Malabar, Camino Real 101 San Isidro, of famous chef Schiaffino. Don't leave Peru without eating here!!
- La Gloria, Jr. Atahualpa 201 Miraflores, one of the best in Lima. It's a classic.
- Costanera 700, Av. El Ejército 421 Miraflores, owner chef Sato. It's a bit expensive, but its worth it!! One of the best restaurants in Lima whose chef was once the personal chef to Fujimori (former Peruvian President). Close to the beach and excellent, execellent food; not too expensive either. Pass on the Pulpo a la oliva (unless you like your squid in black olive sauce). Try the famous Tiradito Costanera (raw fish slides in lemon juice) or Chita a la Pimienta (fish on pepper).
- EDO sushi bar— Best sushi in town, located in Miraflores, San Borja and San Isidro.
Other restaurants you should not miss:
- Jose Antonio, Block 5 of Av. Alberto de Campo, in Magdalena. This is a classic place with traditional criollo food. Highly worthwhile for both service and atmosphere.
- Las Brujas de Cachiche, Calle Bolognesi 472, Miraflores. Very good traditional Peruvian dishes.
- La Trattoria de Mambrino, Manuel Bonilla 106, Miraflores. Considered one of the very best Italian restaurants in the world.
- A Puerta Cerrada, Huertos de Lurin, Calle 8, Manzana P, Lote 15, Lurin. If you want to eat Typical Peruvian Food in a relaxed location. Personal attention by its owner, Carlos Castre, Call 981215749.
- Cafe del Museo (Museo Larco), 1515 Bolivar, Pueblo Libre, ☎ (00511) 4611312, . 9AM-6PM. Located at Larco Museum, Cafe del Museo is managed by chef Gaston Acurio (from Astrid y Gaston restaurant). The restaurant looks like an art gallery decorated with fine colonial sculptures, and the terrace has a beautiful view of the museum and gardens. Get a coffee or glass of wine and take a break and relax!The menu offers seafood, beef, lamb, soups, pasta, options for vegetarians and they even have choices for children (pizza, burgers). It's "classic" Peruvian cuisine, but with a twist.
- Altamar, Cuadra 6 de Avenida pardo, 2nd Floor. Beware of eating in this restaurant because they charge tourists whatever they want and when I noticed the overcharge (even more than double in some of the items) they wanted me very quickly out of their place so that nobody could hear me complaining.
There's a heavy presence of Western fast-food chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Mc Donald's and Starbucks Coffee all over the city if you'd rather not try anything new to you. Places such as Burger King, Chili's and Friday's are scarce, but can be easily found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos, traditional Peruvian sandwiches in Pasquale and fusion pizza over at D'nnos Pizza if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.
- For a bit of fun in Miraflores, try the small street between Parque Kennedy and Bellavista, locally known as the "calle de las pizzas" (Pizza Street). It is a big tourist trap, but on the other hand you are guaranteed to meet other travelers in high spirit.
- At the end of Av. Larco you can find the LarcoMar amusement area, with spectacular views of the beaches, about 40 meters below it, and the Pacific Ocean, and the usual western style shopping mall shops and fast food chains.
- The Haiti cafe in Miraflores, Avenida Diagonal 160, is the meeting place for intellectuals.
- Crypto, heavy metal and hard rock pub on the first side-street of Calle de las Pizzas. Unmarked entrance, just a black door. They sell pitchers of rum & coke for about $5. Excellent atmosphere if you're in the scene, but a bit intimidating for tourists who just wander in.
- Café de la Paz  is another excellent choice, right in front of the Kennedy Park. Peruvian-french food, very trendy and a bohemian atmosphere. Excellent Pisco Sour.
- Nebula, Gonzalez Prada 194 (between cuadra 50 and 51 of Av. Arequipa), Miraflores, is a disco with music from the darker part of the eighties, quite close to Plaza Kennedy.
- For jazz music, Miraflores holds a couple of good options: Jazz Zone, Avenida La Paz 656, and Satchmo.
- And for all the coffee-addicts, there are a number of good options. Try Il Cappucino, a new cafe in Miraflores. Manuel Bonilla 103, close to Parque Kennedy. Also close to the Parque are Café Z, about a block down Bajada Balta; and La Máquina, on the corner of Diez Canseco and Alcanfores, also about a block from the Parque. Excellent coffee is also to be found a few blocks farther away at Café Arábica on Calle Recavarren.
Barranco is a neighborhood south of Miraflores with many clubs and cafes, popular among college students in Lima. It's the party heart of town, where you can find most Peñas, music clubs that offer folkloric music shows, in particular Afro Peruvian and Criollo gigs. On the weekends, Barranco has "A Taste of Barranco" food festival. Outdoor tables are filled with every dish they serve, the price is very reasonable too. Local musicians play and it's a very popular place to be.
For live music, Barranco is also good. Some of the best clubs for rock music include 6 places within a few blocks:
- La Noche, Avenida Bolognesi 307, usually offers live rock, but on Monday night they have live jazz.
- Mochileros is a popular hang-out for backpackers, with a nice and cozy basement. It is also a hostel.
- Sargento Pimienta (Sgt. Pepper) the biggest rock bar/club in town, long lines from Thurdays to Saturdays after 11PM.
- Del Carajo if, besides dancing, you want to enjoy a good show of Peruvian music.
- El Dragón A.K.A el Drogon. The place to be any Wednesday night of the year
- El Tizon
- Watdajel as in "what the hell".
Around Plaza de Armas you can find some nice bars. Around Plaza San Martin you can find "El Directorio", "De Grot" and "Mao Bar", which are small rock pubs occasionally hosting shows from local bands and low-priced beer, when compared to similar places in Barranco or Miraflores.
- The Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru, made with Pisco, a brandy made of grapes. It is highly recommended that all adult visitors to Peru try this drink at least once before exiting the country. Visitors might be amused to learn that a controversy exists between Peru and its neighbor Chile over whose country really created the Pisco Sour, although the Chilean and Peruvian recipes are somewhat different (Chilean people like to argue that Pisco is a Peruvian spirit while the Pisco Sour recipe comes from Chile, when in fact both the main ingredient and the drink were created in Peru). Variations include Maracuya Sour and Coca Sour and are offered in several bars around town.
- People say if you don't drink Inca Kola at least once, you haven't been to Peru, the most popular drink in Peru, one of few sodas that Coca Cola couldn't defeat in the world (until they bought the company, a strategy employed more than once ). It's a yellow-fruit flavored drink that tastes like creaming soda. Peruvians are really proud of it, so if your tourist guide offers it to you, accept it. They will be more than happy with your gesture. It's a very sweet soda, but drinkable mainly because it's not as gassy as Coca Cola. This makes it and ideal drink to join a plate of heavy or spicy food, like Chifa.
- You can find great fresh fruit drinks all over Lima. Starting from 50 centavos for a fresh orange juice at the market to some more expensive ones. The surtidos, containing of several different fruits are quite tasty.
Barranco, San Isidro and Miraflores are the best areas in town but come a bit pricier than the city center.
A taxi from a bus station should cost between S/.8-12. Taxi drivers will offer something ludicrous to you (as much as S/.30+ in some situations), just haggle lower of course.
- Pariwana Backpacker Hostel  +511 242-4350 This is hostel has the best location in town. Right in the front of the main Miraflores park, with an astonishing view to the park. 24 hours reception, bilingual staff, full guest kitchen, comfortable common areas, free breakfast, TV room, free internet and WIFI, security lockers with built-in electronic outlets, surfboard and bike rentals; and much more!!! Pariwana... wanna party?
- Blue House Backpacker Hostel  +5114450476 Open 24 hours a day, this cozy little hostel is a lot like a guesthouse, providing personalized service and is just a short walk from the great nightlife of Lima. Fully equipped kitchen, comfortable rooms, and great service.
- Pirwa Hostel  +5184244315 The best location in the trendy Miraflores area of Lima, near the nightlife, shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs and action. Comfortable beds, free breakfast, and a nice relaxing garden.
- 151 Backpackers Hostel B&B , Calle Colon 151, Miraflores. At 151 backpackers you can find everything and anything you need just a short walk away. It's a fully renovated, 88 year old house with everything you need to make your stay comfortable, safe and enjoyable. Private rooms, mixed dorms, outdoor patio with grill, full kitchen for your use, internet, TV and comfortable couches and living room area to entertain.
- Stop & Drop Lima Backpacker Hotel & Guesthouse, . This hotel is very safe, reception is open 24 hours a day (personal lockers in each room) with a friendly and familiar guest service, good tourist information, in a quiet, relaxed and fun atmosphere. It is in front of park Kennedy, near bus stops, offer very comfortable beds, there’s an all-day security service and room and bathroom cleaning service (hot showers 24 hours).
- Red Psycho Llama Backpackers Hostel. At Red Psycho Llama they want to make your time in Lima even better by following with sustainable practices throughout the hotel.
- Casa del Mochilero, Chacaltana 130a, 2nd floor, Miraflores, phone 444-9089. This place is more like a flat than a hostel, so it has a much more at home and chilled atmosphere, with less than 20 beds. Was the original copied by "mochilero inn" next door, even down to the flags outside. Dorms from 15 Soles, one private room with two beds. Kitchen, cable TV, internet 2 soles/hour.
- Mochilero Inn, Chacaltana 136, Miraflores. Friendly hostel with dorms from 20 soles. Kitchen, TV use. Cleanier than the hostel next door. Convenient stop in front of the hostel.
- Lex Luthors House Well recommended family house for around US$10 per person in Miraflores.
- Albergue Miraflores HouseAv. Comandante Espinar Nº 611 (in Miraflores between Avenue Angamos and the Avenue Comandante Espinar), (511) 447 7748, . Popular hostel that gets rave reviews for good security. Offers airport pickup for a fee. Dorms from 35 sol per person, doubles from 77 sol. Breakfast and internet included.
- Flying Dog Hostel, , Spacious rooms, TV lounge with DVD selection, internet, kitchen to use, friendly English-speaking Peruvian employees. Excellent doubles with private bathroom. More information is found online.
- LOKI Backpackers Hostel,. Av. Jose Galvez 576, Miraflores. Local: 01-6512966; Intern: 0051-1-6512966. Loki Lima established in May 2006, was the second Loki to hit Peru after the famous first one in Cusco. Is it now situated in a new location, in the hearth of Miraflores, between the buzz of Parque Kennedy and the beautiful cliff top parks of the coast. This residence decorated with a modern Loki twist is equipped with all the things people love about Loki hostels incorporated around a laid back, fun atmosphere.
- El Inn-Ka Bed & Breakfast, . A new, family owned and run, vegetarian/vegan friendly Bed & Breakfast in the eclectic neighborhood of Jesus Maria. They offer affordable rates, city tours, taxi services, Wi-Fi, many vegetarian/vegan options (as well as advice on where to find the best veggie eats in the city), and more. Jesus Maria is located between Lima's historic center and San Isidro/Miraflores.
- Hotel España, , in downtown Lima; Phone: (511) 428 5546; Corner of Ancash and Azangaro (across from San Francisco Convent). Traditional hotel with wide range of accommodation options. Lots of rooms including dorms starting at 18 soles/night, although prices for all rooms have almost doubled in the past year. Internet cafe and travel help on site. Rooms a bit outdated at times but decorated with paintings, a minimal amount of furniture and the occasional Greek statue. This family run hotel/hostel is full of greenery and generally has guests from all over the world. The restaurant serves only breakfast which can be inconvenient if you want to sit anywhere outside your room after 11:00am. The crowd of guests is a great mix of different cultures and backgrounds. It can get a bit noisy with traffic around the downtown area and the constant bird noise from the two parrots who live in the rooftop courtyard. The wifi is unreliable and only reaches a few rooms.
- The Point - Lima Hostel, , in Barranco, the original party hostel of Peru, with also branches in Arequipa and Cusco. In Lima the hostel is surrounded by the best nightlife; the cool but sometimes condescending staff will happily show you each night where to go out (something that feels a bit like being led around like a flock of sheep)! The Point offers a wide range of services, the a relaxed atmosphere and a somewhat memorable stay with other like minded travelers for similar prices to other surrounding hostels. Breakfast consists of white hard buns, poor quality coffee and one type of jelly - not exactly fine cuisine nor the type of breakfast you need after a night on the town.
- One Hostel, is a brand new hostel that has been created by a family of travelers. Situated in the Bohemian district of Barranco famous by it's bars, museums, antique locations.
- Happy Up Here Guesthouse, firstname.lastname@example.org. www.happyuphereguesthouse.com, Hostel located 5 minutes walking distance from the National Museum, 10 minutes ride from the main bus stations on Javier Prado Avenue, 30 min from the International Airport, 15 min to get to Miraflores, Barranco and the Historical Centre. Supermarkets, groceries, banks, ATMs, restaurants within 5 min walking distnce. Hostel style accomodation in a homelike and cosy atmosphere. Airport and bus stations pick up on demand, on site free wifi, tourist information, guest kitchen, hot showers 24/7, lockers and all the needed services. Prices from USD $5 for a bed in a 4-person dormitory and USD $20 for a private room.
- El Sol, Av. Rep. de Portugal 169-171, 20m off of Av Alfonso Ugarte. 2 blocks from Plaza Bolognesi and 3 blocks from Metro Supermarket. El Sol is a new hotel in Breña, a neighborhood just outside of downtown. It is walking distance of the Linea bus station and around the corner from the popular Hostal Iquique. Very good value - clean, modern rooms with cable TV and modern conveniences including WiFi for 35 Soles.
- Hotel Mandarin, Av. Petit Thouars #1301 y Teodoro Cardenas, Santa Beatriz, Lima. 265-1754. email@example.com. A large, very good value hotel located in the Santa Beatriz neighborhood, near to the water fountain park. One block from Arequipa, the boulevard that runs between downtown and San Isidro/Miraflores. A large supermarket, cinemas, bars and restaurants are a few blocks away. Clean, modern rooms with cable TV, WiFi, etc available for 40 Soles.
- Pay Purix, Av. Bertello Bolatti
(Intersections Avenues Japón and Bocanegra)
Av. Japón (Ex Bertello)
Mz. F, Lote 5, Urb. Los Jazmines, 1ra. Etapa
Callao - Lima. +(511) 4849118 . http://www.paypurix.com/index.html. If you need to stay near th airport then this hostel is a great place to stay for a layover. It is a 8 minute walk from the airport or a very cheap Taxi ride from the airport or you can use their pickup service. Dorms range from 32 to 40 soloes and they also have private rooms. This hostel has a cool yet clean vibe to it with a bar in the back. The owner is very helpful and make sure to ask him the easy way to get to Lima Center (you will save a lot of Taxi Cost)
- HQ Villa,  Av Independencia 1288, Miraflores, Lima, plenty amenities and distinctive common areas.
- Miraflores Penthouse [] Malecon Balta 810, Miraflores, Lima, Spectacular 3 bedroom,3 bathroom with 700sq rooftop terrace. Sleeps six. $175
- Hotel Continental, Puno 196, Lima. OK mid price place in central Lima.
- Bellavista de Miraflores, Jr. Bellavista 215, Miraflores, Lima, Phone: (51-1) 445-7834, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice mid price place in central Miraflores.
- Posada del Inca, Pancho Fierro 194, T:(51-1) 712-6000, . Nice hotel in San Isidro with spacious rooms. Good hotel for the first night after arrival, book ahead and bargain the rate.
- Kennet Apartment, Diez Canseco 434, Miraflores. US telephone (English/Spanish/Hebrew): +1 301.318.2963.  . Email: Mark.Kennet@MarkKennet.com . Nicely furnished apartment in the heart of Miraflores, very reasonable rates, but must reserve in advance to assure availability. Can include breakfast and laundry service if rented for a week or more. A much better deal than hotels.
- Miraflores Suites, Av. 28 de Julio, Miraflores.  . Email: email@example.com . Fully furnished, equipped and decorated apartments for tourists in the best areas of Miraflores. Weekly rentals.
- JW Marriott Hotel Lima, Malecon De La Reserva 615, Miraflores. Reservations: +51 1 217 7000 
- Thunderbird Hotel Suites & Casino (Thunderbird Las Americas Suites & Casino), Av. Alcanfores 475, Miraflores (on the corner of Av. Alcanfores and Miraflores Avenue our Fiesta Casino and adjacent Hotel), ☎ 511-616-3131, . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. Adjacent you will find Fiesta Casino Benavides, a quality establishment with 3 floors of gaming space and nightly live entertainment. $170.
If you witness a crime being committed, DO NOT intervene unless you are really sure of what you are doing: many criminals, even pickpockets, carry guns, knifes, etc and may use them if feeling threatened.
In general, a tried and true technique for staying safe in Lima is to simply maintain a low profile. Leave the Rolex at home, don't wear the fine suit and don't carry a laptop when hailing taxis on the street, and keep a relaxed, friendly, smiling attitude. If you do need to go out dressed like a gringo, call a taxi rather than hire one in the moment - the few moments you wait and the few extra soles you pay will be worth it.
While there is not much violent crime against tourists, theft is rampant. Watch out for pickpockets constantly. Don't wear gold jewelry. If you carry a purse, a camera, a backpack or just a pair of sunglasses hang on to them at all times, even when eating indoors at a nice cafe, otherwise they might be stolen.
Avoid the surroundings of Soccer / Football stadiums before and after big matches, since "barras bravas" (hooligans) can be very violent. Ask for advice if you plan to go there or thereabouts. Very infrequently, but occasionally, even in nicer tourist areas, gangs of youths, sometimes from rival high schools, or supporting rival football clubs, or strikers involved in a labor dispute may brawl. If you find yourself caught in the middle of such a confrontation, just try to move out of the way, preferably behind a closed door - these youths generally do not carry lethal weapons, and the worst that is likely to happen is that someone will get hit with a rock before the police arrive to break it up.
Districts of note
Some areas of Lima are safer than others: Miraflores and San Isidro have large populations of well-to-do and wealthy Peruvians, not to mention large tourist groups, so they have large police presence to protect the population. Other districts, such as La Victoria, are much more dangerous. Visitors would be well advised to stay out of these areas unless accompanied by an experienced native or visiting busy areas during daylight hours. Downtown Lima is normally well patrolled but be careful anyway. Callao (the port, technically a different city) is rather rough: ask for advice before going there if you plan to. The area around the airport is generally safe and well guarded but use common sense while lugging your luggage outside the airport.
Staying safe for adults can also require an understanding of the sexual climate of Peru. In general Peru is a relatively conservative country in the sense of male and female roles, but at the same time Peruvians are extremely open to friendships with foreigners. Thus, some males can find themselves suddenly the object of flirtation by attractive young Peruvian women, but then be suddenly rejected for having violated some unwritten line of conduct in, say, discussion topics. Women can find themselves the object of unwanted looks and stares, but at the same time the risk of violence and rape is probably not as high as in many other countries.
A problem that can arise is the Peruvian concept of the "pepera," found at certain night clubs or pubs. Peperas are usually attractive women aged 16 to 25 that deliberately entice foreign tourists and then spike their drinks with sleeping pills and rob them once they're unconscious. Usually peperas work in groups of two, although smaller and larger groups exist as well. Male "peperos" also spike the drinks of women but robbery is often accompanied by rape. Peperas in general are found in dense tourist areas, such as Park Kennedy in Miraflores as well as the Plaza de Armas in central Lima. One locale in particular that is notorious for dangerous peperas is the Tequila Rock discoteca in Miraflores and its sister in Pueblo Libre (La Marina).
Another cultural concept worth learning is the "brichera" (or "brichero"). There are two types of bricheras: the first type are women that are genuinely looking to meet foreign men in the hopes of dating or marriage or even a quick fling. The second type are women that search for foreign men with the implicit purpose of exchanging sex for small gifts or money. This second type of brichera is risky, especially for foreigners lacking local sensibilities, since it involves prostitution. These bricheras do not use contraception reliably, and therefore pose a higher risk for transmitting STDs (Sexual Transmited Diseases). If you decide to have a fling, make sure to use a condom!
Another important point to be taken into consideration is that you should not pick up just any taxi, especially when you are leaving the airport. It is not strange to hear news that some taxi drivers cheated tourists (for example, going from the northest point of the city to the southest part would take you at most 50 soles and that is the largest distance in Lima so do not pay more than that) by charging them 100 or even 200 soles for normal rides (even though Peruvian taxi drivers normally tend to increase their fares in front of gringos, it is not a massive difference) . It may be better to rely on some taxi companies as they do not charge that much and they are secure.
Informal taxi drivers have also occasionally been known to participate in actual robberies and express kidnappings. While the overwhelming majority of Lima's taxistas are just poor working people trying to make a living, you should be alert if you are going to hail a taxi on the street; and if you are carrying valuables or appear to be well-dressed you probably should call one of the formal taxi companies.
The surrounding residential towns in the foothills of the mountains offer spectacular views and are ideal day-trips from central Lima.
- Matucana, a small town about 3 hours (by bus) from Lima, offers a stunning 4 hour hike through the Andes to a waterfall. Bring water, sunblock and warmer clothes - the temperature varies by as much as 20 degrees (f) throughout the hike, and you can end up with a nasty sunburn (especially on the back of your neck) because of the altitude. From Lima, follow the combis to "Chosica", then transfer to the ones marked "San Mateo." Matucana is the stop with the statue in the mountainside. You'll know you're headed to the trail when you hit the street where every house on the left side is painted depicting the statistics and landmarks of the various little surrounding towns (there is farmland to the right). Follow that street to the end, cross the small bridge, and the trail begins there. It's recommended to arrive no later than 10am, as the sun gets too strong after 2pm. Stop at the market on your way back and buy some fresh goat cheese and honey.
- San Mateo - a small town with lots of artisan crafts and foods, about 4.5 hours outside of Lima. You can get a 3-course menu meal here for around 4 soles. The drive offers spectacular views of the mountains - bring your camera. Follow the directions to Matucana, but take the last bus until the end.
If you are flying to your next destination, you can take the "S" bus to the airport (ask at your hotel for the stops) or any micro bus that says "Faucett" on its side. The trip from Miraflores takes about an hour and costs 3 soles. Cabs are of course more convenient and much more expensive.
If you wish to take a long distance bus, see the Get In section above for bus companies, the various locations of their terminals and their destinations.
Some popular destinations from Lima are:
- Trujillo— A city in the north with ancient ruins.
- Mancora— A very relaxing beach in the north.
- Huaraz— A mountaineering centre.
- Ica— With an interesting museum and oasis.
- Arequipa— An attractive city in the south.
- Cuzco— The centre of the Inca civilization. Luxury tourist buses run twice daily with Cruz del Sur.
- Nazca— Home of the ancient and mysterious Nazca Lines. Luxury tourist buses run twice daily with Cruz del Sur.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!