You arrived to Peru and you are craving fun in your vacations. You and your travel companion cannot wait for stepping in the Machu Picchu citadel and have an excursion like those adventure movies. However, your flight and all those activities in the highlands is scheduled for the next day. Lima is the starting point for most visitors, and more than being a forced stop, it is a wonderful city where top gastronomy, architecture, extreme sports and relaxing landscapes that cannot be missed will fill you day in the capital city.
1.Take a plunge in the realm Peruvian cuisine
The rise of Peruvian gastronomy around the world started in since 2006, after Lima was awarded as the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas, and six years later, beating to the bump famous culinary destinations like Italy, France or Japan in the World Travel Awards as Best Culinary Destination. All those acknowledgements can lead to a conception of Peru being a paradise for your taste buds, but is that true?
Your stay should include a lunch or dinner in one of the classical restaurants around the city. Depending on your budget, top-notch options like Maido or Central will translate into a feast of innovative flavors and the chef’s passion in elegant atmospheres. The capital of food culture also houses places that, more than restaurants, are food temples, like Siete Sopas, where large lines are not an excuse to explore the world of soups including ingredients from the coast to the highlands to the jungle.
If you have locals on your side, do not reject an invitation to one of the huariques, the culinary hunts, where glamour is replaced with warm and cozy joy of cheerful cooks in small restaurants. The letters in recipes passed down by generations are transformed by these cooks using spicy peppers, a great variety of potatoes, fresh-caught fish, vibrant greens, cannot-miss rice, sweet sugar, minced garlic, sweet potatoes, tender meat and a huge host of ingredients into the classics of Peruvian cuisine.
Foodies should schedule their itinerary according to Mistura, the major gastronomic event of the country held in the capital, where food-related activities and innovative dishes with the all-time favorites are gathered for you to delight your palate for around 3 days.
2. Extreme Adventures around the City
After that friend of you bragged of doing kayak in the Apurimac Canyon or zip line in her way to Machu Picchu, it is time for you to get the nerve of trying some extreme sports in the City of the Kings.
Soaring the sky above the high-rises in the Miraflores district in a paragliding experience can be an introductory class to the world of adrenaline. Starting in the Antonio Raimondi Park, after giving a step in the slope and another into the air, you will jump into the Costa Verde cliff and your air adventure will start. Your safe flight will be backed by knowledgeable operators’ staff and you will relax and appreciate the magnificent view of the busy city, the Larcomar shopping center, Parque Del Amor Park, the surfers and runners and the quiet waves reaching the beach. No turbulences guaranteed. Courses are also available!
Surfing is also a great choice to fill the gaps in your itinerary. Starting in La Herradura, a 20-minutes away, is one of the best points to find the best waves of Peru considering that the longest rideable left worldwide is in Peru. In case of thronged days, Punta Hermosa district offers 30 feet high waves in Pico Alto. Beginner-friendly can take some lessons at Playa Waikiki, located pretty close to Miraflores beach.
In case of having a gap spanning two days, Huacachina is waiting for you. The oases in the Ica region can be reached in a full-day tour where sand boarding and dune bugging are the main attractions for daredevils. Again, being a total novice in sandy sports is no excuse. Follow the instructions of your instructor and let the spirit of the desert and adrenaline flow.
3. Once Upon a Time: History and Museums
The history books telling the past of Peru have more than Inca ruins pictures. This country houses one of the six oldest civilizations in the world. During your day off in Lima you cannot miss a time travel and get to know a small portion of our past times.
Most city tours include a visit to two vestiges of the Lima culture. First, Pachacamac is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast and covers around 600 hectares. This temple was used by Lima, Huari and Inca cultures to worship Pacha Kamaq deity, and it is formed by several temples, aclla chosen women rooms and a cemetery. A visit to the specialized museum is included also.
One alternative inside the city is Huaca Pucllana. Huacas were local shrines, in this case, place for worship of the Lima culture. You will also find a pyramid built in the huaca for administrative purposes. Activities also include a visit to a specialized museum to examine closely the legacy left by ancient Peruvians including golden totems, tools, and more to enjoy for inquisitive tourists.
4. The way of life in Lima
Society in Peru has different aspects depending in the region you visit. The busy capital will show you a noisy and bustling group of people striving for life every day. Walking tours are a good approach to leave your hotel and mix within locals. Use a map, or better, hire a local guide to have a glimpse in the result of the mix of indigenous, Spanish and foreign lifestyles in local markets, street food, slang, architecture or clothing as you go by.
Do not miss places like Chinatown, where chifa, Peruvian interpretation of Chinese food and oriental food stores feature this historical symbol of immigration located just in the downtown. Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin, close one to the other, will tell you pieces of the history of our independency. Another way to watch more in less time is taking a bus tour. Companies offer different routes for your budget. Activities include visiting different parts of the city like the Water Fountain Park, the Government, Downtown, San Francisco Church, bohemian Barranco district, among others.
5. Relax on your own feet
Barranco is the gathering place for many tourist as it offers a mix of a relaxing atmosphere with blooming street art, alternative culture and a beautiful view of the beach. A safe place to walk by or have a meal while enjoying your first day in Peru. Do not miss local handicraft fairs, live music shows and cultural activities!
Not that far, Miraflores has shopping centers, beauty parlors, parks, theatres and cinemas, supermarkets, museums and everything you need to start the transition to Peruvian culture.
The first minutes in Peru can be as fun as all the days of your stay. Lima offers several activities for every kind of traveler wanting to tap every second of their trip. Do not miss the lively capital of the land of the Incas and contact us to add it to your journey itinerary with View Latin America. Happy vacations!