Going to Lima for the first time? This is my 2 cents contribution:
Starting with the basics:
1. Taxis: There is no such a thing as a taximeter on the taxis in Peru, you basically have to negotiate the fare with the taxi driver, so ask to the Hotel's concierge how much it will cost before you take the trip to somewhere - and negotiate the fare with the driver before you get in the cab. Also, as any place in the world... rely on taxis suggested by the hotel or restaurant... taxis in Peru is pretty cheap anyway...
2. Currency – Exchange at the Hotel or Airport (bad rates, I know). Know that restaurants, hotel and pretty much everywhere else accepts US dollars normally, but its better if you can pay with USD and get Nuevos Soles back, so you don`t get false USD bills.
Places to go in LIMA:
Museums: Don't have been to many, but the Museo Oro (Museum of Gold) is very nice and if you like ancient art (Inca and Pre-Inca), you must visit Museo Larco - there are huge amounts of pieces to see, and the place itself is very nice to visit.
Landmarks: If you like downtown, go to Plaza de Armas, it’s nice to walk and take pictures of the time of the Spanish colonization. The first time I was there, I went to the Sao Francisco Church where you can visit the Catacumbas – it’s kind of scary – but well, I was young and I was amazed.
Miraflores: The tourist neighborhood. Ask the cab driver to take you to the Love Park (El Parque del Amor) and you can start walking from there. There are plenty of stores, restaurants, etc. But go during the day to enjoy the ocean view.
Circuto de Playas: Nice sightseen too. Ask the driver to take you to the Bridge of Sighs (Puente de los Suspiros) and walk from there.
1. You´ll probably want to buy handcraft/folk art (artesanías), so you can go to the Mercado Inka (in Miraflores) – it’s basically for tourist, but you´ll find thousands of things.
2. The Peruvian cotton and wool are the best in the world, and buying there is very cheap – Peru extracts wool from llama and alpaca (which is a kind of llama) - the best is from the Alpaca, and even better if is from a “baby” alpaca witch is softest and more expensive - the best store (for me) is KUNA by ALPACA (www.kuna.com.pe) – but there are plenty of locations.
3. Gold and silver are cheap too – and also you can find lots of gems made jewelry
3. There are of course big shopping Malls, with brand stores and etc… you can find Peru stuff there, but not much. There is a Mall in Miraflores called LARCOMAR (http://www.larcomar.com/) that pays the visit. The place itself have an amazing view, go in the afternoon, before the sunset, do some shopping and find a restaurant with a view to the ocean! Superb.
If you like fish and sea food… Peru is the place to go. My restaurants choices:
1. Astrid & Gastón – absolutely fantastic. Make reservations in advance. I didn’t, but I went alone and sit by the bar - the menu is the same. Ask for the cebiche trio (sampler) and the coquilles Saint-Jacques if they are still on the menu. And of course drink something with Pisco.
2. Cebicheria La Mar – opens only for lunch. Ask for cebiches (of course) and you should try causas – I like a lot – which are made of seasoned smashed potato. You may also want to try the anticuchos (kind of kebabs).
3. Pescados Capitales – Also for seafood. Try the shellfish or octopus. And again, the causas are fantastic there.
4. La Rosa Náutica – In the past (like 10-15 yrs ago), was the only choice when you try to find a nice dinner in Lima, I didn`t go there last time, but I heard it’s a little bit old fashion. But the view is incredible, the restaurant was built over a pier and therefore is literally over the sea – which makes the view incredible at night.
TIPS: If you want to eat/drink something different – drink Inka Cola – a local yellow soda - or try chicha morada – made from a purple corn – very refreshing. I personally like a fruit called chirimoya, which makes incredible deserts. If you like hot, try aji de gallina, nothing special, but very well know locally. Like beer? Go for Cusqueña, Cristal or Arequipeña. Never come back without trying pisco sour – the famous local drink. And I almost forgot: Coca Tea! It’s nice, I always bring some when I travel. You’ll find coca tea everywhere (in bags) but only restaurants can use the raw coca leaf to prepare the genuine tea. Ask for a teapot at the end of your dinner.
If you can't afford or haven't time to go to Cusco/Machu Picchu: Visit the archeological site called Pachacámac – google it to know a little bit more. Its 40km south of Lima - Try to negotiate with a travel company or with a taxi driver.
There are 2 other archeological sites in the city of Lime, but I never been there.
At night, you can go to Barranco, which is a neighborhood with lots of pubs.
So, relax and enjoy your trip to this beautiful location. Even if you try everything that I suggest I bet you'll love to come back. I did it for six times!
If you own or manage Discovering Peru, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.