If we were planning on buying a vacation rental somewhere in South America, it would be a penthouse apartment in the Miraflores District of Lima with a view of the ocean. This alluring city is by far our favourite so far. And here’s why:
6. Beautiful Sunsets
5. Great Shopping
Lima has a great variety of shopping with all the big medium to high-end international brands as well as an array of quality made-in Peru items. Miraflores has a gem of an open-air shopping mall built into the cliff overlooking the water accompanied by a few great restaurants. Only issue is, with the current exchange rate, it’s a bit pricey for Canadians to shop the international brands.
Colonial buildings, Inca culture and modern infrastructure flawlessly blended together. Many South American cities claim to be a collage of colonial and modern culture and infrastructure but Lima by far does it the best. Where other cities are literally falling apart at the seams as they expand too fast and the modern buildings are a facade for cheap poor construction; Lima is well designed with large roads, a fast coastal highway and infrastructure and buildings that would meet Western standards. The layout of the city feels similar to LA, but without being quite so crowded.
3. The Perfect Climate
It doesn’t get too hot or cold. It’s not too humid or dry. The average low in winter is 15 C and the average high in summer is 26 C.
2. Miraflores Boardwalk
Lining the Miraflores coast and stretching for many kilometers is a beautiful and well-maintained boardwalk dotted with benches, grassy areas for picnics, art and sculptures, out-door public gyms and parks. It is built on top of the cliff that hangs over the coastal highway and has a few pathways from which you can access the beach and road below. It’s the ideal spot for a run, a bicycle ride, a picnic with friends, a leisurely stroll watching the surfers below or an evening date enjoying the sunset.
1. World-class Cuisine
Fresh cebiche. Peruvian-Japanese fusion. World-renowned chef’s. Lima has it all.
Our favourite restaurant was La Mar (we went twice). Featuring the acclaimed cuisine of chef Gaston Acurio, La Mar is only open from 12:00 – 17:00 when the freshest fish is available. Both times we went we arrived early and got a table no problem; however, by 13:00 there is a line to get a table or a seat at the bar. La Mar also has locations in Bogota, Miami, San Francisco and Sao Paulo. The ambiance inside the place is great and the servers are clearly trained to please Westerners. For a starter, you are given a complimentary basket of vegetable and plantain chips with three dipping sauces as soon as you sit down. The menu is large enough you could come there every day for a month and try something new, but not overwhelming.
As some examples of their delicious food, here were our choices:
Cebiches Clasico (lemon, aji limo (hot pepper) and cebiche seasoning) – lenguado, corvina, mero (flounder, sea bass, grouper)
Causas Sampler – whipped peruvian potatoes and ají pepper topped with:
- Limeña (the classic causa: chicken, avocado, egg and tomato)
- Chalaca (crab and avocado, pejerrey crackling, tartar and creole sauce)
- Nikei (salmon and tuna tartare, avocado, nori and wasabi)
- La Mar (crab, avocado, crispy prawns, honey escabeche, ocopa sauce)
On top of everything Lima had to offer, it felt great to get away from the crowded streets of Cusco (and much of South America) where there is a constant noise and hassle of people trying to sell you garbage, lure you into their crap restaurants by shoving menus in your face, and ripping you off in general. It was nice to blend in more and be able to go out without being noticed as a “rich” gringo yet still in a city with culture and history.