ANYONE who has arrived in Lima will know just how much there is to eat, to drink, to see and to do. If you’re on the move, and don’t have much time to explore, here are the favourite picks from locals. Let them show you around to ensure you don’t miss out!
Sip Pisco Sour in Lima’s landmark hotel
The Gran Hotel Bolivar is a hallmark of the old-Peruvian establishment and famous for serving Pisco Sour, the country’s national cocktail.
Sitting on Plaza San Martin in centre of Lima, it’s easy to find and the perfect spot to drop when you need a break from walking around the historical centre.
This 95-year-old institution in Lima holds the same charm as Raffles in Singapore, which serves the famous Singapore Sling all day long.
The stately hotel was built in 1924 as Lima’s first modern hotel.
Hollywood stars Orson Welles and John Wayne even Ernest Hemmingway are known to have sampled many glasses of the classic Pisco Sour.
The cocktail combines clear brandy called Pisco, lemon juice, egg white, sugar syrup with a few splashes of Angostura bitters on top. It takes its name from the city Pisco in Ica, which is a few hours outside Lima and worth a day trip to visit the distilleries.
Take a seat in this air of old-school glamour and toast to its history. Salud!
Eat Ceviche where Robert De Niro goes
Peru’s signature dish is undoubtedly ceviche and this can be found everywhere across the city.
Typically this is seabass but can be any white fish, marinated in the crucial ingredient lime juice, which is made into what’s called ‘leche de tigre’, tiger milk. It then comes served with red onions, giant corn, sweet potatoes or yucca.
It’s popular as a Sunday family meal and picking out the best restaurant cause huge family arguments.
It’s difficult to make recommendations but back in January 2019 Hollywood star Robert De Niro went to Canta Rana in Barranco to try the famous food. If this is worth an A-list visit, it must be good.
This cevicheria has been open since 1985 and they say their recipe for success is “constancy and love everyday for what is done’.
For a real Peruvian experience, start with chicha morada, which is a typical Peruvian soft drink and canchita or chifle (banana chips). Then order ceviche pescado or ceviche mixto (fish and seafood) and for dessert try tres leches, which is a cake made with three milks.
ZEN drummer Hans Menacho shares his top live music spots in Lima.
Listen to the best rock bands in Peru
If you crave live music head for a night out at La Noche.
Set in the trendy Barranco district and close to all the buzzing bars, this spot has played an integral part of Lima’s nightlife.
Set in a former colonial mansion, inside it’s been converted into an intimate venue with two rooms – one with a bar and the other where the bands perform. You’re so close to the stage, you can reach up and touch the artists. Upstairs there’s a balcony area.
For almost three decades, it’s hosted some of Peru’s biggest bands including rock-pop group Zen who give packed out performances around three times a year.
It’s also a hang out for local musicians and if you’re in the know, you could be standing next to the drummer of Mauser or the bassist of The Big Pink or Emergency Blanket.
Anyone who goes there can say they have genuinely experienced the real Peruvian music scene. Oh, and don’t forget, the Pisco Sours and chilcanos are pretty good too.
It’s open everyday from 7.30pm to 3am.
Visit the best live water show
Just when you think, you’ve seen Lima, you find this: The Magic Water Circuit.
Here they have the largest water fountain complex in a public park, in the world.
Just over a decade ago this was a derelict park from the 1920s but it’s been reimagined and the upshot is this Las Vegas-esque water and light show that opened in 2007.
There’s so much to see including 13 impressive water fountain displays with laser shows around three times a day so get your timings right. Aim for the late afternoons and close to dark.
It’s open Tuesdays to Sundays from 3pm to 10.30pm with three light shows starting at 7.15pm, 8.15pm and 9.30pm.
It’s totally unexpected and it’s great the for Insta.
Cost: s/.4 to enter
Take a stroll along the Malecon from Miraflores to Barranco
Walk this way for a coastal stroll across Lima. The name Malecon means boardwalk and in this case it’s a pathway that will take you from Miraflores to Barranco. It’s perfect if you’re staying in either of these popular districts. It’ll also help you really get to know the city and see what it has on offer that you might want to come back to.
It’s safe and a popular route for joggers and cyclists plus you’ll get some of the best views of the coastline.
Along the way, you’ll tick off a lot of sights including Parque del Amor with the large sculpture El Beso (The Kiss) by Peruvian artist Victor Delfín, Larco Mar, which is a large shopping complex built into the cliffs and the Villena Rey Bridge.
Other highlights include the paragliders on the Costa Verde, the old Faro lighthouse and Cristo del Pacifico, which is Peru’s version of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer.
It’ll take around half an hour so it’s easy to walk it and then come back too. But really you should make it last a whole day and take pictures of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
You can even turn it in to a foodie trail as there are plenty of places to stop and explore including Beso Frances, which sells crepes and coffee.
Visit El Olivar Parque in San Isidro
Lima is one of the largest desert capital cities in the world so it’s not known for its green spaces but they do exist.
This might one reason why El Olivar Parque is popular although it’s also the heritage that locals comes for.
Planted as an olive grove in the 17th century, this park is highly regarded because of the old European colonial mansions dotted within and around the park that take you back more than 100 years.
Today there are more than 1,000 olive trees and it’s home to wildlife including birds and turtles.
This city park is also home to a lake, the House of Culture with the municipal library, the Chamber theatre and the Marina Nunez del Prado House Museum, which is an art gallery housing a collection of sculptures, drawings and paintings by the late artist.
Located in the posh part of the city, in San Isidro, it’s close by to the upscale hotels, embassies and office buildings. Once you’re done, head towards Avenida Conquistardores to hit the main shopping area in San Isidro or stop at Don Mamino for a coffee.