Posted 12 May, 2015
Step out onto the Malécon, the oceanfront promenade along the waterfront, or to the Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, for an early morning stroll or run, as the city wakes up. Catch the early morning surfers as they brave the waves, while the sun rises over Lima, or simply stop to smell the flowers – literally. Miraflores translates to “look at the flowers!” Step across the Diagonal to Café Haiti, a well-entrenched haunt of Lima’s literati, with its bamboo chairs and café alfresco, for a healthy dose of early morning Hierba Luisa.
Grab a sanguche (a sandwich – and Lima’s favourite snack any time of day). Chicharron, which is chunks of fried pork simmered in a broth with camote, is a Limeno favourite. Craving something healthier? Try a Triple – Avocado, Tomato, and Egg sandwich - a light and easy snack at any hour.
Get high (literally) on a terrace or rooftop breakfast overlooking the Pacific, or better still, meander over to El Parque del Amor (The Love Park) so named for the sculpture that captures a passionate kisses between two lovers, close to which you’ll find the “˜parapuerto’ where you can catch a lift to go parasailing along the cliffs!
Refueled and rejuvenated, head out for an exhilarating morning in Lima’s markets. Whether its fruit and veggies, or pig’s knuckles, or filets of fish, Lima’s markets are a treat for the senses – particularly your taste buds.
Wander down aisles of native potatoes, maize, and avocado – in every shape and hue. The Mercado Central is one of our favourites and has a smorgasbord of Peruvian delicacies to nibble on from the freshest ceviche to lucuma flavoured icecream! (And don’t forget to drown down your meal with an Inka Cola! The neon yellow, syrupy sweet beverage is high-octane fuel to keep you going. The healthier option? Indigo coloured chicha, made of blue corn juice is the Limenos local bebida).
If nibbling at market stalls isn’t your thing then head to Barranco. From its Plaza de Armas with its cheerful beds of flowers, walk to the Bridge of Sighs, an old wooden bridge over footpath lined with brightly coloured bougainvillea. Stroll down the sidewalk accompanied by guitar players and women selling roses for your love to Barranco. A 19th century Phoenix of a neighborhood that is rapidly shaking off its ashes to create tomorrow out of yesterday, Barranco is the hub of Lima’s eclectic art scene, the uber hipsters, and a rollicking nightlife.
Veggie Pizza is the hottest new buzz on Lima’s hipster scene. The Melgar Brothers, who own this funky pizzeria, decided that it was high time that Peru’s native vegetables were given a platform of dough – and what we love most is that almost all the veggies they use are locally sourced and organic.
It was only natural that when Lima-born photographer, Mario Testino, decided to house a collection of his photographs from around the world, he should choose a 19th Century Townhouse in Barranco as his space. Thus the Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) was born.
Continue to the Galeria Lucia de la Puente, which provides the stage for Peru’s finest emerging artists and has been at the forefront of Peru’s contemporary art scene since 1995. Emerging art/media, such as Diego Lama’s satirical videos and photographs, find a strong platform here.
But art in Lima doesn’t stop at the threshold of its galleries and if you step out on the streets, vibrant forms of graphic expression find their way onto the walls of the city. Inspired by indigenous crafts, Lima’s street artists use the walls of the city as their “speakers corners” to echo social and political issues and challenge conformist ways of thinking about Peru’s indigenous people.
On a lighter note, dance with the water at The Parque de las Aguas which does a sound and light show with its dancing fountains in the evenings - a delightful way to cool off at sunset. Once you’re ready for Happy Hour, then toddle down to Pueblo Libre for your first Pisco Sours of the evening.
There’s no shortage of gastronomy in Lima and dinner at any one of the city’s finer restaurants is a lovely way to relax and enjoy a great evening. If you’re looking for atmosphere, look no further than Amor Amar in Barranco. This 110 year old former home, now art gallery, houses a patio which offers alfresco dining, a bar that runs all the way down, a wood-fired clay oven and even an orchid shop. The food is an eclectic mix of Peruvian and Mediterranean.
If you want to step it up a notch, Barranco has no shortage of clubs and bars. The weekend starts on Thursday and ends on Monday as you party the night away. La Vida Limeña Loca.