We did all the research and taste testing so you don't have it! Check out our top 5 must see's, do's and eat's in Lima.
Visit Museo Larco
Whether you’re a history buff or you just love a good garden cafe, Museo Larco is a must. Trust us when we tell you to set aside 4-6 hours.. but really you’ll probably want to lounge in the courtyard even longer.
Located in the heart of downtown Lima, this colonial mansion turned museum houses one of the largest private collections of pre-Columbian artwork - and is even built on a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid. The first thing you’ll notice is the flowers because they’re everywhere!
After winding your way through the mansion’s halls, cross through the courtyard and take a look at the museum’s extensive storerooms. Completely open to the public, these storerooms contain approximately 35,000 pottery artifacts.
You’ve probably worked up an appetite by now, so head down to the courtyard and grab a table at the museum cafe. Don’t miss out on the ceviche - we counted it as one of the best we had all week! Finish your meal with coffee and gelato on the covered patio.
On your way out, take a stroll around the courtyard to find the collection that Museo Larco is most famous for tucked away. Curious as to what it is? We’ll let you find out for yourself (if you dare) when you visit Lima!
Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Barranco
Barranco is a short cab ride from Miraflores, and gave us our first glance of the Pacific Ocean. Once a seaside resort town, it's now known as Lima's "SoHo" district. Everything in Barranco is walkable, but once you descend down the cliffs toward the ocean we have a feeling you won’t have the energy to come back up!
Start by visiting Museo Pedro de Osma, a museum that focuses on colonial art and the influence of Spanish colonialism on Peru. Just next door is the MATE Museum. Founded by world-renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino, this museum guides you through various photography collections - from his features in Vogue and GQ to his project showing native Peruvians in Cusco. Most people visit this museum to see his photographs of Princess Diana. He photographed the Princess of Wales for GQ in 1997, shortly before her death. The photographs are striking because they show the princess as a normal woman - lounging around, laughing, dancing - a different view than most other photos of her.
Walk up to the city square for a quick gelato stop, and then head to Artesanias Las Pallas. The bright blue building may not look open, but ring the doorbell and you’ll be welcomed in by a slightly scary, slightly adorable hairless Peruvian dog and his owner. Mari Solari, a Welsh ex-pat, has curated a collection of folk art and antiques from all around Peru. If you get lucky, she’ll invite you into her living quarters and show you her priceless collection of pre-Columbian artifacts collected throughout her lifetime.
Enjoy dinner at Restaurant Huaca Pucllana
Food in Peru is extremely reasonable, so don’t let a restaurant that shows $$$$ on Trip Advisor scare you away. For our “treat yourself” meal, we chose Restaurant Huaca Pucllana - and we seriously suggest you do the same.
The restaurant is an indoor/outdoor open concept situated on the edge of the Huaca Pucllana ruins in Miraflores. Built by the Lima Culture in the first few centuries AD, Huaca Pucllana is an adobe and clay pyramid made up of seven platforms. It was used for both ceremonial and administrative purposes, and even contains a few sacred burial sites. You can tour Huaca Pucllana during the day with a guide, but the real view is at night when the restaurant lights up the ruins for its guests.
Because this was one of the nicest restaurants we went to, we decided to get a little adventurous with our food choices. We tried the octopus (tentacles and all) and grilled alpaca, and we would definitely recommend! We *heard* the guinea pig was delicious, but we’ll leave that for someone else to try and tell us how it is.
Eat at a churriera
Churros and chocolate - can it get any better than this? We’ve got a serious sweet tooth, so finding a churreria (a sidewalk churro cafe) was a top priority for us. Just off the main drag in Miraflores is Manolo, one of the top churrerias we found.
(Photo from TripAdvisor.. because we were too busy eating!)
With tables and chairs spilling out onto the sidewalk, our mouths were watering before we even looked at the menu. Near the front of the cafe is a tantalizing display of pyramids of churros - plain, chocolate, vanilla and even dulce de leche. Don’t forget to order the melted chocolate for dipping, and a cafe con aqua to wash it down.
Pisco might as well be the national drink of Peru. It’s a brandy made from grapes and distilled into a high-proof spirit. You can sip it straight to get a taste for the true flavor, but we preferred the fun cocktails.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that if you’re visiting Peru you’ve got to taste a Pisco Sour. We totally agree! It’s light and tart without being too sweet, and topped with an egg white foam that adds a hint of creaminess.
During the day (because day drinking is always acceptable when you’re on a working vacation) we loved drinking Chilcanos. These refreshing pisco drinking are traditionally made with ginger ale and herbs and reminded us of a twist on the popular Moscow Mule. There were so many variations of this drink at different bars and restaurants, but our #1 was the Strawberry Spearmint Chilcano from Tanta.
For our friends in New Orleans looking to try pisco stateside, the Catahoula Hotel opened the Pisco Bar last spring and we heard it’s phenomenal!