There's more to Peru than Machu Picchu and Lima is one such locale that should not be missed. Lima has struggled to overcome an outdated reputation of being a boring and dangerous stop, with many travelers telling me they don't think it's worth the time on their trip to Peru. In fact, Peru's capital city of Lima has left behind its old reputation and grown into its moniker – the city of Kings. It boasts museums, beautiful colonial architecture, leafy streets and some of the best culinary experiences in South America. Take a few days on the beginning or end of your trip to slow down and explore Lima.
1. Museums: Lima has incredible museums, which reveal the vibrancy of the regions lost civilizations. A personal favorite, the Larco Museum, is now offering tours guided by curators and archaeologists. Hosting one of the most famous exhibitions of pre-Columbian art, these guides give travelers an entirely new perspective on Peruvian cultures. Another favorite is the Pisco Museum. You can't leave Lima without delving into the history of pisco, an alcohol used to make Peru's famous pisco sour. Remember, "if it's not Peruvian, it's not pisco!"
2. Food. Lima has become the unofficial gastronomical capital of South America. The city boasts world-renowned chefs such as Gastón Acurio and Virgilio Martínez. Lima is also the only city to have three restaurants ranking in the World's 50 Best Restaurants, Central Restaurante, Maido, and Astrid & Gaston. Fine dining aside, Lima's central market offers an incredible glimpse into the daily shopping of limeños. Fresh seafood is the focus here, integral to making Peru's most iconic dish, ceviche. Lima is the place to try ceviche, raw fish, hot chili peppers and onions marinated in lime juice.
3. Pacific Ocean. Lima sits on the Pacific Ocean, the perfect complement to the high elevation plains of the Sacred Valley in central Peru. If you're feeling active, Lima has a vibrant surfing and kite surfing culture or you can take a run or walk on the six miles of manicured parks bordering a coastal bluff in Miraflores. At night, settle in at one of the cafes or bars with sweeping ocean views and enjoy the sea breeze while sipping a pisco sour.
4. Modern Life. Barranco and Miraflores are two of our favorite sections of Lima. Explore the streets of Barranco, an artsy neighborhood that was once a seaside resort for Lima's upper class. It features dozens of art galleries and supports a blossoming fashion scene, often based on the textile work that Peru is so famous for. Stop by to visit M.A.T.E, dedicated to the work of the renowned Lima-born photographer Mario Testino. Miraflores is known for its green spaces and is a district with tidy homes, leafy streets, and ocean views.
Where to stay? At Wildland we believe where you stay can be as important as what you do every day.
Hotel B: Located in the bohemian seaside district of Barranco, the hotel occupies a restored historic mansion and is surrounded by art galleries, fashion boutiques, and other historical sites. The original house was designed by the French architect Claude Sahut, who was also commissioned to design Lima's Presidential Palace and several theaters and gardens around the city. Hotel B has 17 meticulously appointed suites, a rooftop lounge with views of the Pacific Ocean, and a restaurant run by renowned chef Oscar Velarde.
Atemporal: Named as the only South American property on Conde Nast's 2017 Hot List of the best new hotels and restaurants around the world.
Housed in a revamped 1940s mansion in the chic Miraflores district, Atemporal is a one-off luxury townhouse and the perfect cozy refuge for guests to decompress and recharge their batteries between adventures in Peru's vibrant capital. Atemporal is located on the corner of a leafy residential street, in the heart of the chic Miraflores district, within quick striking distance of many of Lima's best shopping areas, restaurants and neighborhoods. The hotel offers a concierge on duty around the clock, house car and chauffeur for short excursions, 24/7 menu created with locally-sourced natural ingredients, and full connectivity. Each room is equipped with modern furnishings decorated with an eclectic but sophisticated mixture of contemporary and classic artworks and artifacts thoughtfully collected from across Peru.
Villa Barranco: Villa Barranco is located in a charming republican house built in the 1920's that has been masterfully restored with much care and attention to detail. The traditional architecture of the building blends seamlessly into the bohemian neighborhood surrounding it. The hotel's 9 rooms are all unique, with a focus on simple elegance that reflects the culture and warmth of Peru. You're always just a short walk from the pacific coast and some of the city's greatest restaurants. It also offers a rooftop terrace for guests with a marvelous view of the sea and the surrounding neighborhood and ample space to relax.
Ready to plan your trip to Peru and Lima? Check out our itineraries to Peru and don't forget to work some time in before or after the Sacred Valley to explore all that Lima has to offer!
Don't just take our word for it, check out this trip review from the Edises group who traveled through Lima and the Sacred Valley with us.