One Day in Lima
November 10, 2015 9:29 AM   Subscribe

My friend has one day to go sightseeing in Lima, Peru. She is overwhelmed by the available options. What are the highlights of Lima?

Other notes: She is an experienced traveler, and is particularly looking for the best place to eat dinner (best meaning not only good food, but a good experience for a single traveler), and experiences that are iconic but also not completely touristy. She is interested in history, and is a very skilled fiber artist. She works in the tech industry. On this trip, she will also be visiting Machu Picchu and the Galapagos (among other things).

One day to take in Lima -- what do you choose? What tips do you have for her?
posted by anastasiav to Travel & Transportation around Lima, Peru (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I had a day-long layover in Lima, arriving at around 10am and departing around midnight. We had a pretty great day strolling the park along the bluffs in the morning and hitting La Mar for lunch. Then wandering around the Miraflores neighborhood and then grabbing a sandwich at La Lucha and hitting a couple bars in the area. It wasn't a big layover in terms of seeing "important" tourist things, but it let us feel like we got a good feel for the neighborhood and, to a lesser extent, the city.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

The main decision to make is whether she wants to spend her day in Miraflores, the hip, modern neighborhood near the beach (reminded me a lot of Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area) or in the historic old city. The old city is a lot like the historic center of other Peruvian cities (and potentially other Latin American cities? It also reminded me of New Orleans), so if she is headed to Arequipa or another big regional city next it may be better to go with Miraflores.

Lima is very sprawly, and these two popular tourist areas are nowhere near each other, so unless she's really the go-go-go-go type, she will probably want to pick one and stick with it. The old city has lots of historical sights, while IIRC most of the exciting food is in or near Miraflores.

Re fiber arts, she will see much more exciting stuff once she gets into the southern/Andean parts of the country, assuming this is a trip in that direction and not just a random business layover or the like.
posted by Sara C. at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was in Lima last month and it did not strike me as particularly touristy anywhere - I gather tourists tend to skip it and head straight for Cusco. And Cusco is a much more interesting place than Lima for my money (but I may be biased by a week of endless traffic, interminable smog and cloud, and a general distaste for megacity sprawl). As others have said, the choice is between Miraflores and the old historical center.

For me, the highlight of Lima was entirely the food, which totally lives up to the hype. Central is the hot ticket, people fly in from all over Latin America to eat here, you have to book well in advance, but apparently there is a bar where you can eat without reservations and that might be perfect for a solo traveler. Any of Gaston Acurio's restaurants probably worth trying - I went to Panchita - which is more casual but very nice and delicious (Try the aguaymanto pisco sour! Some untranslatable Peruvian fruit -- delicious in a cocktail!). Amazing ceviche everywhere, but special points to Pescados Capitales. On the rustic side, I heard great things about La Picanteria for Northern Peruvian cuisine. And of course there are little hole-in-the-wall cevicherias on every corner. Bonus tip - I was reliably informed that no Peruvian eats ceviche after midday (I guess a holdover from the pre-refrigeration era?), but that doesn't stop every visitor from starting out dinner at the fancy restaurants with a great big pile of it.
posted by oneaday at 1:38 PM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Acurio's restaurants. I really like his seafood joint La Mar.
posted by 4Lnqvv at 2:47 PM on November 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know Lima well enough to be comprehensive about the highlights, but I can say that we really enjoyed the Monasterio San Francisco. The catacombs and library are amazing.
posted by hought20 at 7:27 AM on November 11, 2015

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