We stopped in Lima for a few nights before beginning our adventure in Peru. It wasn’t a destination, more of a “we should probably see what this city is like” stop. Turns out, we really liked Lima! We stepped into a bright, air conditioned grocery store with layers of fresh fruit (that didn’t cause our stomachs to turn over), a whole cheese department offering types other than queso fresco and people that looked….different. There was blonde hair, brown hair, blue eyes, light skin, dark skin. After traveling though Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia, it was one of the first moments that we didn’t stand out as blatantly.
We were directed by buddies to spend our time in the Miraflores area. The clean style of the homes and the cool little cafes with reclaimed wooden signs out front, reminded us of a mellower LA. We stayed at KoKopelli hostel, which was affordable, clean, had a fun (though collegey) vibe, and was ten minutes walk from the beach and right near a buzzing area of bars. Miraflores is right on a cliff that overlooks the ocean. There’s a nice esplanade that runs along the top edge, good for an early morning run or sunset stroll.
Itching to surf, we hurried down to the rocky beach early in the morning with our 3/2s and rented from one of the surf schools. There’s a row of about six surf schools, each with a ton of boards – peruse them first and see if they have the board for you. It was about $12 for two boards for three hours. As always, it felt so refreshing to sit out in the cool water and look back at a busy city, this one uniquely perched up on a cliff.
After trekking Machu Picchu the week before, we gladly taped up a box and sent our hiking gear home to the US. We picked up a dress and a buttondown, and were ready for a real date. Reece researched and we explored the “best ofs” in the area – we sipped espresso at Arabica Espresso bar (the deserts also look sick), had a glass of wine at La Esquina Wine Bar (selection of wine and hearty charcuterie plates), ate at Edo Sushi Bar, then rolled out to Dolce Capriccio for dessert (we felt “meh” about the chocolate cake we had, but it’s apparently a local favorite). We also had lunch one day at Homemade, with an interior like your hip grandma’s living room and a covered patio in the back. The food was straightforward, filling, and really delicious (eggs, thick sandwiches, salads, rosemary fries), I would eat there again and again. It also seemed like a great spot to perch up and click away on the laptop, Arabica too. Wong was the super grocery store.
At a glance…
- Do go for a surf. It’s a unique experience to be able to surf right off a city.
- Do get the fries at Homemade and the apple pie at Arabica Espresso Bar.
- Sleep at KoKopelli, but there are probably some nice boutique hotels in the area if you’re willing to spend more.
- Shop for surf gear – Manduka, Klimax, and Movement Surf + Café. Klimax had tons of surfboards in the range of $150 for used to $400 for new locally shaped. Dunklevolk is the Peruvian surf lifestyle brand (in the Wong shopping center), so we also stopped there to pick up a few wardrobe upgrades.
- Don’t stray to far at night. There are dangerous areas in Lima.
- Tips – make sure you take the official airport taxi. It cost us about $20 for the hour ride from the airport to Miraflores. Give yourself plenty of time if heading the airport, as roads get congested during rush hour.