Alright, are you planning to visit Lima for the first time in your non-Peruvian life? Just staying there for a couple of days until you have your trip to Machu Picchu arranged? Well, let me tell you that, although Lima may not be as majestic as Cusco, it could easily give you that cross-cultural experience that you may be looking for, or perhaps it can simply frighten you a little bit. Come on, you gotta risk it, right?
In my 27 years of being Peruvian, I’ve seen so many tourists doing the exact same things, visiting the same mainstream places and getting to know so little when they can do more, so much more than what they can imagine.
So, if you are an adventurous and lively traveller, here’s some advice. I won’t name any places to visit because I’m sure you already know where to go. Instead, I’ll give you 5 tips to take into consideration before you land in this busy and chaotically beautiful city.
KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King… Seriously? You have travelled hundreds of miles to find new things and you’d rather stick to fast food because it’s the safest option? Come on! I don’t want to show off, but our country has won the award for the best culinary destination in South America. This is because our food has a huge variety of flavors, sensations and history. There’s so much more than ceviche! You must try lomo saltado, carapulcra, ají de gallina, causa rellena, seco de cordero, escabeche de pescado, locro, etc. You can find really good restaurants around the city, but remember that expensive dishes are not necessarily the tastiest. If you happen to find a ‘huarique’ (small restaurants where homemade food is served), GO THERE!
2. Public transportation system
Uber? Meh! Don’t get me wrong, I know taxis are almost always the best option when you arrive to a new place. Unless you love extreme sports, you might want to avoid the cheap buses that run like Formula 1 cars and stop anywhere. However, there’s a better option for adventurous travellers: taking the Metropolitano. This law-abiding bus can, for example, take you straight from Kennedy Park (the cat park) to Plaza de Armas (Main Square) in a few minutes. You’ll need to buy an electronic prepaid card (USD 1.5) at the vending machine at the station and each trip costs less than a dollar. Give it a try!
7-9 a.m., 1-2 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. are Lima’s rush hours. So, don’t forget to plan your journeys accordingly. If you take a bus, it’ll be crowded, and if you take a taxi, get ready to watch a movie on Netflix on your phone. You could try to chat with your driver as long as they speak English, unless you’d like to practice your Spanish. Planning to rent a car? Hmm… I don’t really recommend it.
4. Be safe
When it comes to security, I’ll definitely tell you to trust your instincts. Even though public transportation is the best option to go sightseeing, I’m also aware you could get lost and end up in a bad neighborhood. So taking a cab is another good option, but be sure to use a taxi app. This way, you won’t get scammed and you can send your location to some you know. Also, keep in mind that you shouldn’t trust anyone too quickly. Peruvian people can be really helpful, friendly and welcoming, but remember there might be a few bad apples here and there.
5. Places and nightlife
All of this is up to you and your interests. This city has so much to offer: cultural and outdoor activities, gigs, bohemian bars and more. These are the districts you should check out: Barranco (hipster neighborhood with great bars), Miraflores (nice cafés and great discos), Lince (lots of good and cheap Peruvian restaurants), Cercado de Lima (plenty of historical buildings, museums and great bars) and La Punta. The last one belongs to another city called Callao, and it’s worth visiting for the sea sights and street art.
I hope these tips helped you and if you want to know what events we have in Lima, go to https://www.joinnus.com/PE. There might be a great experience waiting for you. Check it out!