Lima: What To See And Do

Many times, travelers to Peru are in such a hurry to see the major tourist sites such as Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, they don’t leave much time for experiencing the things that Lima has to offer. If your schedule permits, this capital city merits some extra time during any Peru tours. This is true not just for the places to visit there but also just for getting a general feel for what the people and the culture are like. You will sometimes hear it said that there is Lima and then there is the rest of Peru. Spending some time both in and out of Lima will give you an idea of what the cultures of both are like.

Lima

The key thing to do in Lima on one of the many Peru travel tours is to be sure that you try the food. In recent years, the city has become known as the Gastronomic Capital of South America. If you only try one dish, you’ll want to make sure to try ceviche. This is a simple yet delicious dish of raw shellfish or fish that’s been cooked by marinating it in lime juice. It’s generally eaten during the day and can be found at lots of places all over the city. You can make an afternoon out of it by heading to the beach and trying it at Chorrillos or Barranco.

You will definitely want to go to Barranco in any case. This section of Lima has a real Bohemian flair to it, with many cafes and bars as well as boutique and arty type of shops. On the weekend, there is a food festival outdoors where you can try a lot of different dishes. If you’re not there on the weekend, it is still a great place to have lunch, spend the afternoon walking around and watching the sunset.

When it comes to fine dining, there are almost too many places to choose from. If you can only go to one, you may want to try Astrid y Gaston, the flagship restaurant of Gaston Acurio. Peru’s most famous chef, Acurio now has restaurants all over the world. Be sure to also sample a pisco sour, Peru’s national cocktail made with the country’s national liquor, pisco. While it may not seem strong initially, the grape-made pisco is far stronger than it tastes at first.

It’s not a bad idea to take the standard city tour which will take you to see some of the most outstanding colonial buildings as well as through some catacombs that lie under the Church of San Francisco. The city is blessed with a number of museums that you can enjoy. Head to Pueblo Libre and take in Museo Larco to get an experience that is arguably the best of the bunch. This museum specializes in pre-Columbian art with fine examples of silver and gold work as well as an erotic art collection.

Something you don’t see in every huge metropolitan city is a pyramid. There are actually a number of huacas, or spiritual sites, shaped like pyramids in Lima. You can check out the Huaca Huallamarca in San Isidro or the Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores. There is something a bit surreal about seeing a huge adobe structure juxtaposed with modern buildings and the inexpensive tours are worth a quick look. The Huaca Pucllana also boasts an haute cuisine restaurant.

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