The journey into Lima was breathtaking. Hugging the road cut impossibly into sandy cliffs, we were afforded with an unbelievable view. It felt like being on the edge of the world, watching the waves crash against the rocks far below.
It was a good introduction to the capital of Peru, since the city of Lima itself sits on a cliff. We based ourselves in Barranco, the trendy beachside neighbourhood.
At this point in our trip time was rapidly running out, so although we would have loved to stay longer, we could only manage 2 nights and 1 full day in the city.
We could have spent a full day seeing all the highlights of the city, shuttling around in taxis. However Lima is enormous, and it would have been exhausting. We decided to leave the centre for another time and just explore Barranco and nearby Miraflores.
Starting in the Plaza de la Armas, we wandered down towards La Ermita, a bright yellow colonial church, and walked over the ‘Bridge of Sighs’, which spans the Bajada de Baños, a pretty cobbled street down to the sea. The bridge itself was unremarkable to us but is apparently a popular romantic spot for local couples.
After being disappointed by a lookout spot which seemed mostly obscured by trees, we went back to the plaza and visited the Museo de la Electricidad. A tiny and slightly bizarre museum of, as the name implies, electricity. It had a few educational displays but my favourite part was a room full of old TVs and jukeboxes at the end. The museum operates an electric tram every day except Monday which would have been great except we were there on a Monday.
It was lunchtime and what else to have in Lima but ceviche? We had tried the famous dish of raw fish, lime juice and chilli, served with sweet potato and corn before in Colan, but Lima is reputably the best place to try it so we found ourselves in the well regarded El Muelle restaurant.
The ceviche here was incredible. The simple combination of ingredients doesn’t sound like anything special on paper but it tastes oh so good. You really need to try it to appreciate it. I had the Ceviche mixto which was gigantic, and Katy had another Peruvian classic – Causa. A hearty dish with mashed potato sandwiching a delicious prawn mixture, it was delicious but very filling.
After recovering from this mountain of food we decided to take a walk down the coast to upmarket Miraflores. This started with a pleasant park absolutely chock full of housekeepers walking their employers dogs, a bizarre sight.
Our relaxing walk along the cliffs was thwarted when we found it is cut in 2 by a huge road. Katy decided to walk round via a bridge but that sounded far too slow for me, so I skidded down a huge slope, almost got run over, then scrambled up a load of steps the other side. Just in time to meet with Katy, whose safe route had taken exactly the same amount of time.
We walked a bit further through some very posh neighbourhoods until we reached our destination – Larcomar – a unique shopping centre nestled right on the edge of the cliff offering fantastic views. It was full of American chain food and very posh shops but we managed to get some cheap cakes from the supermarket and sit out to admire the view and the hordes of hang gliders swooping around the cliffs – something I would absolutely love to do if we go back to Lima.
And then we made our fatal mistake. We walked back. It wasn’t until several days later that I realised we were in walking distance of Parque Kennedy – a park with thousands of cats!
When people ask if we regret anything from our trip I usually say no but it’s a lie! Why oh why didn’t I read about this magical place beforehand? It goes without saying if we do go back to Lima I know what my first stop will be.
We hoped to sample some of the Barranco nightlife before we left the next morning but again, it was a Monday and the nightlife was sadly non existent.
Lima is a really cool city and somewhere I’d love to go back to…one day I’ll see the cats, one day…
We stayed in Hostal Barranco, which had a reputation according to Tripadvisor as sort of a seedy hookup hotel but it was actually fine, if a bit expensive at S./100 per night, though for Lima that was cheap.
The bus from Trujillo took 8.5 hours and cost S./60 each.