Peru trip in 3 weeks: advice, opinions, tips wanted!
February 22, 2016 9:49 AM   Subscribe

In a few weeks my wife and I are going on on vacation to Lima, Cusco, Agua Calientes/Machu Picchu. While Cusco and Agua Calientes will be entirely through a tour company, some of the days in Lima we'll be on our own, free to do and see what we want.

I'd love to hear of any museums or historical sites we shouldn't miss, any restaurants we must eat at, etc. I'm big into history and archaeology, so anything related would be high priorities.

Advice on areas of Lima we should definitely explore, along with any we would not want to find ourselves in and any additional safety concerns we should keep in mind would also be appreciated.

posted by rbf1138 to Travel & Transportation around Peru (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you're going to be there around March 8th, it's a new moon, and I would suggest hightailing it out to Lake Titicaca; I had the good fortune of being on the Bolivian side of the lake during a new moon once, and being able to see the milky way at that altitude, and that far south is really intense. You could've read a book by the starlight alone, and it was the closest thing this atheist has ever come to a religious experience (YMMV).
posted by furnace.heart at 10:06 AM on February 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

astrid y gaston is a pretty famous (and i assume expensive) restaurant in lima. i've not eaten there, but if you're looking for a famous restaurant that's a name i've heard mentioned in several places.

(tbh we didn't have huge success at good but cheap food during a brief stay there, which was surprising, given the popularity of peruvian restaurants here in santiago - probably our fault)
posted by andrewcooke at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2016

I'd see what Lonely Planet's take on the area[s] is.
posted by Freedomboy at 12:32 PM on February 22, 2016

To piggyback on furnace.heart's comment, there is a privately run "observatory" in Cusco (an easy evening tour to book at one of the many tourist booking agencies in the main square of the town). they pick you up and drive you out of town to a dark hill top, give an excellent multi-media talk about the southern hemisphere night sky and how the inca and earlier cultures used astronomy; and then adjourn outside to look through telescopes at anything interesting. then they drive you back to town. the cost is minimal, maybe even just a suggested donation type of thing.
since it's an evening event, it won't likely interfere with your travel agency booked itinerary and it's a fun time.
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:52 PM on February 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Miraflores is a nice touristy area in Lima. When I was there, on Sunday morning a bunch of streets were closed off for fitness dance classes and activities, which was cool to see (and join in if that's your style).
The port area near the airport is dangerous and you shouldn't walk around there (on the off chance you decide to get a hotel near the airport for your first/last night) - door to door cab called from a known number only.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:28 PM on February 22, 2016

How many days do you have? Would you be interested in blowing off Lima and going down to Ica (five hours by bus) to spend a few days camping in the desert with amazing fossils? You'll learn a little about archeology and the people that lived there, current Peruvian conservation standards, and you'll see fossil quality that you've never, ever seen in a museum. The friend I recommend is fantastic if you don't piss him off, and his uncle is the guy that invented the Nazca aliens story and I have no reason not to believe him. It's no fun if you don't really like sand and wind. It's one of the best things I've ever done, if you do. You need to go down for at least a couple of days to be worth it. Also, the area is famous for pisco, but, pro tip, save the pisco for after you get out of the desert. It looks like his website isn't working quite right, but I can get you in touch with him if you need it:

Otherwise, I like the gold museum, the national archeology museum, and San Francisco church for the bone crypt, in that order. You can get nice retablos at some of the art shops in Miraflores; just ask at the hotel.
posted by arabelladragon at 4:59 PM on February 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

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