Places to Peruse: Lima’s best kept secrets!
Chalkmarks: Huacachina, Peru, 2016

Get messy eating anticuchos

Barranco El Puente de Los Suspiros
ANTICUCHOS are the tastiest street food in Lima. You might turn your nose up when you hear what it is but once you’ve tried them, you’ll love them. These are kebabs crafted from beef heart, that come served with giant corn, potatoes and a dollop of aji amarillo, which is a mild yellow chilli sauce. They are always cooked fresh to order on the barbecue which is a delight to the senses. The sight of them sizzling on the grill is a feast for the senses. There’s sizzle and smoke everywhere. Seasoned with spices and sauce, waiting five to 10 minutes is too long. You typically get two skewers per plate and then it’s radio silence. They’re riquisimo. For some of the best head to Barranco El Puente de Los Suspiros (the Bridge of Sighs) where there are dozens of nearby restaurants which become a bustling hive of tourists. Here there’s fast flowing service with staff buzzing around delivering plates.  For a more laid back, authentic experience find La Panka, in Miraflores, San Isidro and Surquillo. You’ll be left saying “uno mas por favor” (one more, please). It’s not typical to eat them for lunch so wait until dinner. They are quick, cheap and divine.

Taste fired-up bread in the desert

Tambo Rural, Santa Maria del Mar
LOVE bread? Then try Tambo Rural, about half an hour out of Lima, is a hidden gem in the desert. Its location might seem remote but situated on the famous Pan-American Highway and a popular pitstop on the way to Lima’s best beaches or to Ica. Their enormous clay ovens turn out fresh baked goods with queues throughout the day. The smell gets you as soon as you arrive. Their ovens are filled with loaves, stuffed breads, rolls and pizza. It’s hard not to tear them apart and eat then and there. For those who can’t wait to tuck in, there are plastic tables and chairs to eat and enjoy the desert views. Lots of families buy bread to eat there and then get more to takeaway. If you too can’t decide what to eat, it’s so cheap – a few soles – you can afford to splurge and even fill a shopping bag. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and gives a glimpse of the life and culture out on the deserted Pan-American Highway.

Chalkmarks: Tambo Rural, Lima, Peru, 2016

Snap up Peru’s favourite photographer

MATE Mario Testino Muesum
FASHION photographer Mario Testino made his name taking pictures of celebrities and the British Royal Family – most famously Princess Diana for Vanity Fair in 1997. Madonna, Kate Moss, Gisele Bündchen, and Naomi Campbell all grace the walls of this blockbuster exhibition. Rather than opting for London, Paris, or New York, Testino chose to showcase his seminal works in his hometown of Lima, where MATE opened its doors in 2012. Beyond haute couture, the collection includes Testino’s poignant portraits of Peruvian highlanders from Cusco, captured in 2007. MATE is located in the arty Barranco district – in a traditional townhouse mansion built in 1898 – a short walk from the main square. Inside, visitors find contemporary exhibitions spread across bright white spaces, each room curated around a distinct theme. Once you’re done, there’s a gift shop Bodega MATE selling books, bags and other souvenirs featuring Testino’s pictures. Make sure you’ve got your camera with you as when you done, you’ll be inspired to take your own pictures around Barranco, which is the perfect backdrop. The district is covered in impressive graffiti by commissioned street artists.

Chalkmarks: Mate, Barranco, Lima, Peru, 2016

Have a beer in Lima’s iconic bar

BAR Juanito in Barranco holds a special place in Lima’s history due to its rich heritage and unique family legacy. Established in 1937 by Don Juanito Casusol, this bar has endured the passage of time and remains as popular today as it was in its early days. Situated in the bohemian Barranco district, Juanito stands prominently across from the main Plaza de Armas. stepping inside feels like entering a bygone era. The decor, featuring wooden tables and chair, wine-filled cabinets, and a lengthy countertop offering traditional service, it’s like going back to another era. It comes with a list of celebrity fans including musicians, poets such as the late American writer Allen Ginsberg and rumours the former president Alan García visited. Even Peruvian chef Martin Morales drew inspiration from Juanito for his London restaurant Ceviche. After more than 80 years, it remains in the same family. Juanito’s three sons, Rodolfo, Cesar and Juanito Chico run the place giving it a laid back informal atmosphere where you feel like family.
It’s a hotspot to be seen and gets lively before the start of a night out and even after when friends have one last beer for the road. Though it may get crowded find a stool and order a beer with their traditional butifarra sandwiches – ham, lettuce and onions – and settle in. Salud! Long may they continue. 

Chalkmarks When in Lima make lemonade

Take up salsa dancing at Sargento Pimienta

Sargento Pimienta
SALSA is super popular in Lima and almost every night of the week there’s live bands performing at Sargento Pimienta. While other city clubs might be in half-swing midweek, Sargento in Barranco is throbbing with regulars and newcomers. People dress up and come out to the salsa party in town. There’s three bars and a large dance floor with plenty of space to spread out. You can jump right in with a partner or take a moment to just watch while enjoying a chela (Peruvian slang for beer) or a chilcano, which is Pisco and ginger ale. With many Peruvians growing up with salsa in their blood, locals make it look easy. The real treat is when you see some pro-dancers, who soon attract a crowd around them. When it opened Eduardo “Mono” Chaparro said he wanted it to be a place ‘for locals to play alongside friends’ so it has a pretty relaxed atmosphere. This philosophy has seen it grow into a popular venue for national and live rock bands, such as Zen.

Relax on the Pacific beaches

Punta Hermosa
LIFE’S a beach in Lima – they’re everywhere. The city was built alongside the Pacific Ocean so there’s numerous beaches and resorts up and down the Pan American Highway. First though, explore the city starting with Miraflores’ rocky beach known as the Costa Verde, which has a big surf culture. Then check out the busy beaches of Barranco – but there’s little space here to roll out a towel. To find some real sand to soak up the sun and to feel surrounded by the ocean, you need to get out of the city and travel south – for about half an hour – to find the laid back beaches of Punta Hermosa, Silencio, Punta Rocas and San Bartolo. You can get to Punta Hermosa in a combi (bus) for a few soles. If you’re willing to go further, about an hour away from Lima, you’ll find Asia, which has an oasis of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs on the beachfront with extra events at the weekend. A lot of Asia is taken up with beach houses with pools but is where Limeños flock to on the weekends to escape work and in the summer for their holidays. Here you can siesta until the sun goes down then fiesta until the sun comes up.

Chalkmarks: Huanchaco, Peru, 2016

People watch at a Pasteleria

San Antonio
BELOVED by Limeños, Pasteleria San Antonio is a cornerstone of city life. It’s been a staple since 1959 – renowned for its fresh coffee, bistro food and desserts. Stepping inside, it’s an emporium of abundance. Think cakes, ice cream, pies and sandwiches – all prepared on the premises. The menu is unfussy with classics including tamales, humitas and butifarras. Try the triple, which is egg, avocado and tomato – it’s a favourite in these parts. If you really want to treat yourself, go for it, it’s not over-priced. 
There are five pâtisseries across the city so it’s a reliable neighbourhood haunt. They’re good for a morning meetups or even an end of day churros dipped in chocolate or tres leches, which is a cake make with three kinds of milk (not as bad as it sounds). Bright and airy inside, it offers old-school table service – one of the few traditions of its kind among the cafe culture. The long standing cafe on Angamos in Miraflores is good for breakfast or dropping by when you’ve got some emails to send and it’s open from early until midnight. Take a seat outside and just feast. It won’t disappoint.

Chalkmarks: Triple sandwich, Lima, Peru, 2016

Shop till you drop

Jockey Plaza
THIS is not where you go horse racing. But if you love to shop Jockey Plaza is for you. 
In Lima’s second largest district Surco, this sprawling shopping centre is a great discovery. Featuring more than 400 stores over two floors there’s men and women’s clothing, high-end labels and the usual global brands – so you’ll not find much new there. Instead get inspired by Ripley and Saga Falabella – the largest department store in South America. There’s no better place to experience a country than to hang out where locals go and see the different mix of fashions and style trends. I love saying: ‘Oh, this old thing – I got it in Peru.’ Even if you’re not planning on buying, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing and drinking coffee. They have more than 40 restaurants under one roof. Of course, there’s KFC and Burger King and also try the Peruvian favourites, a Bembos burger washed down with an Inca Kola or pop into Pardos for barbecued chicken and fries. Meanwhile there’s also a cinema, making Jockey Plaza a great place to shop, sit back and unwind for a lazy day.