Things to do on an overnight layover in Lima
June 2, 2015 11:45 AM   Subscribe

We'll be in Lima, Peru from 9pm to 4am on a weeknight. Since who knows when we'll ever be in Peru again, we wanted to get out of the airport and actually see something. Where should we go?

Things we like:
Seeing interesting neighborhoods
Vegetarian food

Things we don't really like:
Loud bars

Is there some hidden all-night vegetarian diner that serves local beers and is in a fun neighborhood to walk around in at night? Somewhere that we could direct a cab driver to on our limited Spanish? That's what we're looking for.

posted by roll truck roll to Travel & Transportation around Lima, Peru (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you eat fish? Lima is famous for its cebiche - you could go to, for example, Punto Azul in Miraflores, which seems to be open until midnight. Miraflores and the neighborhood next to it, Barranco, are nice for walking around, probably even at night. Probably you could feed yourself vegetarian food at Punto Azul, but outside of potatoes, Lima's famous cuisine centers around fish and meat.

I would generally be cautious walking around at night. Lima's a lot safer than it used to be but it's still a big Latin American city with a lot of poor folks. If you're going soon, it will be winter there, and the winter in Lima is famously foggy. I was there in July/August timeframe 2 years ago and it was a constant heavy dampness.
posted by vunder at 12:52 PM on June 2, 2015

I thought Lima was nicer than it's reputation suggests. I walked around at night in the neighborhood I stayed in (near Miraflores). However, it wasn't exactly a "fun" neighborhood in terms of sights or street life. I felt comfortable because I saw a lot of other middle class-looking Peruvians also walking around.

Also: Both myself and my sister - on separate occasions - had taxi drivers "run out of gas." Being clueless, I just got out and tried to walk the rest of the way to my hotel (it was during the day). I didn't realize that it was a scam, that I was supposed to offer to pay for the gas, and that we had been driving in the wrong direction.

So you run that risk with the cabs, which was an mild adventure during the day but would scare the hell out of me at night. Give yourself a margin of error. Also, I think it's an hour to an from the city. You might not have as much free time as you think. I probably wouldn't risk it.

The food court at the airport is open all night. This is where most backpackers hang out. And the restaurants at the nearby Wyndham have a good reputation.
posted by kanewai at 1:53 PM on June 2, 2015

I like Lima but I would be nervous about hanging out there in the middle of the night--it will take you at least half an hour to get into Lima by taxi and it is not the safest city in the world.

If you already figured in the travel time, the Magic Water Circuit (a bunch of neat fountains, basically, but also lots of people for international people watching) closes at 10 and it's pretty cool.

Otherwise, Barranco, Miraflores and San Isadora are the fancy schmancy neighborhoods in Lima (and also the touristy ones, which means they might not be totally dead late on a weekday). Barranco is imo the most interesting, lots of old buildings and hidden corners. Barranco might be fun to walk around in for a few hours--it's typically pretty lively around the Puente de Suspiros and I imagine it would still have enough people around at 10 pm to feel comfortable walking around. Hopefully someone else can confirm because I don't know that for sure and if it's dead I would not recommend wandering around. There's also a fun staircase down to the beach but I definitely would not do that at night. Actually, I believe there's a brewery as well but I haven't been (also I wouldn't get your expectations for south american beer up too much).

If you're going to be leaving a restaurant or bar late at 12 or 1 am to head to the airport, I'd recommend arranging a registered taxi (the restaurant might be able to do this for you or a hotel might be willing to do it or you could call them yourself if you'll have a phone) to avoid any night time hijinks like kanewai describes above.
posted by geegollygosh at 3:34 PM on June 2, 2015

Small quibble in case it matters: the third neighborhood geegollygosh mentions above is actually San Isidro, not Isadora. Also the Barranco Brewery does appear to be open until late and is close to the Puente de Suspiros.
posted by vunder at 8:42 PM on June 2, 2015

Lima also has a massive fountain park with water and light shows. Parque de la Reserva has something like a dozen huge fountains, with the "largest water show in the world". See this TripAdvisor link for more information.
posted by yggdrasil at 11:56 AM on June 3, 2015

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