Great tips and valuable information for those who are traveling to Lima
If you are going to Lima for the first time and don’t have any clear idea what to expect or what it is like, I’m going to give you some valuable tips and information that will make your stay even more enjoyable and comfortable.
Climate and weather
As you probably know Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. What you probably don’t know is that you can freely leave your umbrella at home while packing your suitcase for the trip. You will never need to use an umbrella in Lima, because it never rains here! The reason for this is the fact that Lima is basically a desert. One more thing that you aren’t likely to see in the capital of Peru are stars at night and bright blue sky at day. The sky most part of the year looks pretty gray as if it were overcast with clouds, especially in winter months when there’s less sunshine. This can be explained by the coastal location of the city and closeness to the Andean mountain ridge, which doesn’t let the humid air masses from the Pacific ocean move further towards the center of the country, thus causing them to be constantly “hanging” over the city. One more thing that you might be surprised to find out in Lima is the absence of seasons, which means that the streets look exactly the same all the days of a year. The only way winter is different from summer is by some insignificant drop of temperature, so it’s never too hot or too cold in Lima, which means you don’t need to bother taking with you any fur coats on your winter trip to Peru, some jacket and a couple of sweaters will be just fine. Mind that this is true only for Lima, climate and weather vary greatly throughout the country and you have to prepare for a trip to each particular zone differently.
This by all means is going to be the most enjoyable part of your trip to Peru, which is known to be one of the world’s best food destinations. No wonder thousands of tourists each year come to Peru to discover and taste its exquisite and exotic dishes. Peruvian cuisine is loved and admired not just for its unusual flavors and seasonigs, it’s very popular for its extreme diversity. Each geographic region in the country with its particular climatic conditions can offer its range of typical dishes based on special local ingredients. To get familiar with the complex and rich Peruvian cuisine make sure you try food from the coast, the jungle and the mountains. Talking about seafood the best recommendation would be ceviche (raw fish in lemon juice) and choritos a la chalaca (pre-cooked mussels served on its shells with some lemon juice, onion and other ingredients). Going to some country-style restaurant, farther from the center of Lima, you’ll be offered dishes typical of the mountain areas. Here the most representative dish would be pachamanca (three types of meat, potatoes and some other vegetables, cooked under the ground over hot stones) and those who feel most adventurous could try cuy (fried guinea pig, – yes, they eat it!) which is also very traditional. As for the food from the Peruvian Amazon, don’t miss trying their special fried banana and huge (3 meters long) river fish called paiche. No meal would be complete in Peru without their mouth-watering desserts, try picarones (donuts made from sweet potatoes and pumpkin), suspiro a la limeña (for true sweet tooths), alfajores and of course lucuma ice-cream.
Lima’s tourist districts
Lima is a city of contrasts, it’s reflected almost in every part of its life. For example there are many poor people and people who lead a luxurious life (middle class layer isn’t extensive), in the same way there are some pretty poor districts of the city that aren’t recommendable for tourist visits. The safest, one of the most developed and the most popular tourist distict is of course Miraflores. You can easily find your type of a place to stay here among plenty of hotel options and apartments available for rent. This district seems to able to satisfy every traveler’s taste offering a wide range of places to eat, shop and have fun at any time of the day. One could find here a lot of expensive restaurants and relaxed, cosy little home-made type cafes, modern supermarkets with excellent service and typical peruvian fruit and craft markets, little sovenir stores and large brighly lit and beautiful shopping malls, that’s just to name a few… And if you enjoy cycling and jogging by the ocean or you’d like to try paragliding, Miraflores is just the right place! While you have your accomodation in Miraflores, it’s very convenient to visit Barranco – a neighboring district along the coastline, which is famous for its bohemian and romantic atmosphere, where you can cross the Bridge of Sighs and make a wish which is bound to come true! Just as Miraflores Barranco can offer you busy night life with its nicely decorated bars and disco clubs. If any of your trips can’t be considered complete without visiting museums, I’d recommend you to go to Lima downtown, where you’ll enjoy not just museums and picture galleries, but could also visit the two main squares of Lima: Plaza Mayor and Plaza San Martin and some important historical buildings such as the Cathedral of Lima, the Archbishop’s Palace, The San Francisco Church and many more. Actually you could also buy a tour on a special red tourist bus called Mirabus, which offers excursions in English and has a visit to Miraflores, Barranco and Lima Center all together as one of their suggested tour options.
First of all you should know that Lima doesn’t have a properly developed public transportation system, apart from a Metro line which is operated by special buses running in their own lanes. But here’s really good news for you: taxis are extremely cheap in Peru! You could take a taxi from the street, (which sometimes can’t be even recognized as a taxi) and pay around 2-3 dollars to move within Miraflores. But if your Spanish leaves much to be desired and you are not accompanied by anyone who’s local, your best bet would be to use secure taxi applications on your phone, such as Easy Taxi, Taxi Beat or even Uber. The fare of a secure taxi will be a bit higher than of a street taxi, but it’s still going to be very reasonable (around 4 dollars within Miraflores). The most important is that your experience is going to be comfortable and really safe. Additionally in Miraflores and some other districts there are some bike rentals, so you could freely rent one and enjoy moving along the coastline with a breathtaking view over the ocean.
This has been an overview of the most important peculiarities of life in such an extraordinary city as Lima and of course my tips and recommendations for those who are willing to come here especially for the first time. Now you’ve got a better idea of how to prepare for your trip and how to make your stay most comfortable and enjoyable while making the most of your time in the capital of Peru! Have a great stay!