Traveling to Lima from San Francisco is a breeze! The ticket cost a whole $20/person (and 20,000 miles). The flight was San Francisco –> Houston –> Lima. The SF to Houston leg almost didn’t happen as there was a big storm in SF and the airport shut down for part of the day right after our plane took off. Houston to Lima (only 6 hours) was a beautiful flight on a brand new plane (tons of leg room, individual touch screen tv’s and a very friendly staff on-board).
We arrived in Lima very late and by the time we got through immigration, it was 1:30am. Luckily, I pre-ordered a shuttle from our hotel and the driver was waiting at the entrance for us with my name tag (wish I took that picture – felt super special); shout out to Leya for the suggestion!
A few notes on all the places we got to experience in 3.5 days:
Miraflores Lodge: nice staff, good simple free breakfast, free wi-fi and the beds so hard you might as well be sleeping on the floor. It is in the center of the “nice” area called Miraflores.
La Lucha: great spot for yummy sandwiches and fruit juices/smoothies. It’s a popular chain and it is great!
Panchita: really good Peruvian food and ambience. We have a once a week “fancy outing” in our budget, and this was one of them!
Embarcadero 41: Decent chain for ceviche. We probably should have tried another one, but never made it due to the issue below.
Cafe De La Paz: see the section on losing 5-10lbs!
How to Lose 5-10lbs
Go to Lima and eat at Cafe de la paz, or at least that’s where I tracked our food poisoning down to. So, the next few days to follow (going on 4 at this point) have been a pure joy of searching for bathrooms and praying for toilet paper in those bathrooms. This has been an “amazing race” to say the least. And then, there is a lovely 17 hour bus ride to Arequipa to follow (post on this to come at a later date). Who needs a cleanse when you got this?
To Do’s or Not To Do’s
Kennedy Park: meh (lots of wild cats ready to attack).
Lovers Park in Miraflores: great for really pretty sunsets.
Free walking tour: I have been a big fan of these in different countries, but in this case, no bueno! The guide had NO CLUE what he was talking about. Very disappointing, but a great way to learn the bus system in Lima!
Barranca neighborhood: cute, but nothing special (are you getting the theme here)?
Choco Museo in Barranca: free tour with samples – YUM!
LarcoMar: a nice outdoor mall (very Americanized but has great views).
Plaza Mayor (Plaza De Armas): this is where the palace is and you can watch the changing of the guards at noon every day. The whole area is a bit sketchy, so go during the day (otherwise, lots of cheap shopping and great eateries).
Overall, my impression of Lima is ok, but not amazing. The city is a bit grey and although it is right on the pacific ocean with great weather, there are no developed beaches. If you are going to Peru for Machu Picchu or other beautiful places, then fly directly into Arequipa or Cusco; skip the big city! That aside, the people are super friendly and the food is YUMMY (mostly)!