After our 24-hour layover in Ecuador, my friend and I couldn’t have been more excited to make it to Lima, Peru. We dropped off our belongings at our Airbnb and then headed out to explore the town. Lima is a lively, warm (in temperature and in people) city and these are the top things to do, see, and eat while you’re there!
Top 7 Things to Do in Lima
1. Eat at Al Toke Pez – The original reason we were drawn to this restaurant was because it was on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods list for Lima for its oyaku dish, which is traditional rice porridge with salted pickled plum and fish sperm. The first time we tried going, they didn’t have it and so we went a second time, only to find out it was out of season. We did try the combinado plate with calamari, ceviche, and arroz con mariscos, which was DELICIOUS. The extra cherry on top was that it was super cheap – it was 15 soles (4.5USD) for the combinado plate and chicha morada (sweet Peruvian drink made with purple corn) and it was more than enough for my friend and I to share. I would highly recommend this place if you’re looking for some local, authentic food.
2. Biking – I want to give a high five to the urban planner for this city. The major roads feature a middle divider with shaded walkways, which are perfect for walking or for biking! You can also bike along the ocean on the coast. We were able to borrow bikes from our Airbnb but you also have the option of renting.
3. Visit the beachfront – Speaking of the ocean, visiting the beachfront is a must! It features a nice outdoor mall and it almost felt like we were back in the States with stores like Pinkberry and Banana Republic. I found a lot of the restaurants there to be overpriced, but it does have sick views of the ocean and is a good meeting point.
4. Eat dinner at a Chifa restaurant – Chifa is essentially the Peruvian take on Chinese food. Since my friend and I both love (and were already missing) Asian food, we decided to check it out. We went to Chung Yion in the Barranco District because of its good reviews on Trip Advisor (4.5 stars with 100+ reviews). I thought it was okay and pretty similar to Americanized Chinese food you could get back in the States, but it was cool that chifa was popular enough to have become its own food type in Peru.
5. Visit Feria Ecomarket – This is like a farmer’s market where local vendors sell produce and organic goods. They also randomly had “healthy” cereal like Puffins, similar to what you would see in Whole Foods. There’s a bevy of fruit, including ones that my friend and I have never heard of, so we decided to try some. We tried cactus pear, cherimoya, and gooseberry…I’d recommend trying them all for the experience but I definitely knew that I would not be eating cherimoya again.
6. Drink an ayahuasca sour at the Ayahuasca bar – You may have heard of ayahuasca, which is a drink famous for its hallucinogenic properties. This bar is famous for its ayahuasca sours and with enough of them, you may be seeing double. The bar used to be a colonial-style mansion and now each of its rooms has a different theme with matching decor. Apparently it gets insanely crowded on the weekends, but since we went on a weekday it was pretty dead. It was awesome though because one of the bartenders (pictured below) ended up giving us a tour of all the rooms and telling us a bit of his life story and how he ended up in Lima.
7. Take a cooking class – We took a cooking class with Chef Hector and learned how to make classic Peruvian dishes like ceviche, causa rellena, and pisco sours. It was a fun way to learn more about local culture and Chef Hector even ended up bringing out his turn tables and DJing for us (he is a man of many talents).
8. Go surfing – Surfing is something I’ve always wanted to try and it was so much fun! To surf in Lima’s warm waters, you can simply head down to the beach where there are a bunch of different surf vendors set up. Definitely shop around and talk to different companies to see who has the best rates. Most of the deals will include gear like the wetsuit, the board, a lesson, and free time afterwards.
Even in 2016, Lima is still a pretty cheap city relative to its North American/European counterparts and it is great for budget travelers. Some taxi drivers did rip us off, but we were able to get better at bargaining throughout the trip. You can also try taking public transportation or bike throughout the city.
To see video footage from our Peru/Ecuador trip, you can go to our channel: (skip ahead to 1:11 for Lima)
If you liked this post, I would recommend:
Your Guide on Hiking Machu Picchu – This post is a breakdown of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 4 days.
How to Avoid Getting Scammed at Foreign Airports – We missed our flight out of Lima (1/4 idiocy, 1/4 traffic and 1/2 scam)…Make sure this doesn’t happen to you!
How to Do the Colca Canyon Trek – This is a popular hike to do in Arequipa, Peru, a former capital which is well-known for its 3 volcanoes and Colca Canyon.