Lima is the largest city in Peru and the second-driest capital city in the world! In the Lima metropolitan area live more than 9 million people and is the third largest city in South America. Its located in the middle of a desert with high coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Lima was founded in 1535 under Spanish regime but was already inhabited by indigenous groups in the pre-Columbian time. Nowadays Lima is the political, cultural, financial and commercial center of Peru. Due to all the influences from over the world Lima is known for its gastronomy. Like I said, Peru is all about food,…. and Incas of course! That was my intention here in Lima, eat at one of the best restaurant in the world; Central (see below).
Transport to and from Lima
I think most people arrive in the capital city of Peru, Lima. I was already on my way during my three months trip in South America and arrived by plane from Cusco. The hotel picked me up and took me in 30 minutes to Miraflores. I departed Lima by night bus from Cruz del Sur at 22:00 to the north of Peru; Trujillo and then to Huanchaco. I used a bike and went by foot to discover the Miraflores district.
Miraflores is an upscale suburban neighborhood at the coast in Lima. It is probably the most popular district in Lima from a tourist’s perspective, gorgeous coastal views, quality shopping at the Larcomar shopping center and offer world-class food. If you’re planning to visit Lima, book your hotel here in Miraflores; it’s safe, lot to do and see. See below more things to do in Miraflores. I didn’t go any museum, Plaza or church; I had seen enough the last weeks in Cusco, Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley.
1. Atelier Boutique Hotel
Atelier Boutique Hotel located at Calle Aristides Aljovin 335 and is a 2-star hotel. This attractive accommodation has six bright rooms that feels like home including good breakfast. The vibe is cozy and has very friendly staff, but the best thing is that you could borrow their bike!! This became very handy to explore the neighborhood. The hotel is in walking distance of the coastal boardwalk and Larcomar shopping center and Central restaurant.
2. Enjoying Larcomar
Larcomar is a modern complex built on the cliffs at the seaside watching over the Pacific Ocean. You can find different types of restaurants (from junk to trendy), all kinds of shops (boutiques to international chains), entertainment (movie theater to children playgrounds). For me this was something different than I had seen the last couple of weeks like the traditional markets; the vibe is modern and Western. You expect a lot of tourist here, but I notices a lot of locals too. I went to have a drink and delicious snacks at this hip and happening place called Mangos, which has a great sunset view.
3. Strolling the Boardwalk
Miraflores has a 10 kilometer long boardwalk or Malecón. The boardwalk is perfect to stroll to get a perfect scenic view over the ocean and city. In between you will find a lot of parks where you chill and read a book; you will see a lot of locals sporting on this boardwalk. Here you can see the paragliders flying over the cliffs and ocean too. On the right hand site of Larcomar you will see the surfers in the ocean surf the break Waikiki. Surfing is on my agenda in Huanchaco.
4. Bike to the Artisan Market
If you still need to do you last minute souvenir shopping you can go to the Artisan Markets at Av. Petit Thouars. Here are a number of Artisan markets which sell crafts and traditional art from all over Peru. If you want an authentic souvenir to bring home, this is a great place to pick one up if you not already did that in Cusco or Pisac; which I found better place to buy the souvenirs. On my way I had lunch at the popular place called Punto Azul at Calle San Martin 595, Miraflores. Here were a lot of locals eating the ceviche (fish cooked in lemon); I went for the one with pulpo (squid) a perfect lunch meal!!
5. Gastronomic Highlight at Restaurant Central
The cuisine at Central Restaurant is contemporary Peruvian and is located in the district next to Miraflores Barranco, easy walk. The founder Virgilio Martínez Véliz has attempted to redefine Peruvian cuisine by introducing little-known indigenous ingredients from Peru’s coastal region, the Andes highlands and the Amazon rain forest. My lunch menu was called the Elevation menu. It was set up with ingredients and coursed through all the elevations of Peru.
I will not mention all the 16 courses to you that will be too much, but some are worth to share;
- Valley of the Tree: Avocado, Panca Chili Pepper, Paico; 230 meters
- Andean Platea; Tunta, Annato, Coca; Elevation 3900 meters
- Close Fishing: Octopus, Coral, Barquillo; Elevation -10 meters
- Amazonian Rainforest: Rose Apple, Pitahay, Lemon Grass: 650 meters
- Green Highlands: Lucuma ,Cacao, Chaco Clay; Elevation 1050 meters
Most of the ingredients used in the menu I had never heard off before and even better, never tasted them in my life before. That is why this was such a special experience, all the tastes were new to me! Central is awarded as top best restaurant in the world a couple of times; 4th in 2015 and 2016, 5th in 2016 and 6th in 2018 and 2019.
The menu cost 595S (2019) excluding drinks, it’s a lot of money I know, but it is a real treat and special experience and in Europe you pay even more. So save money for it and gooooo!!
Tip: Go for the lunch option (13:30), this way you can skip lunch and dinner, which saves you money and you have more chance to get a table.