Arriving into Lima, a noisy Airbnb, devouring pisco sours and visiting a pre-Inca temple
James and I travelled to Peru in summer 2019. We flew from London Gatwick on a direct flight to Lima. The flight was as pleasant as a 12hr35 min flight can be and the free booze definitely softened the blow! We landed and got caught in an annoyingly long queue for passport control (by this point we were suffering from a hangover after too many white wines and Brewdog Speedbird 100s). We collected our luggage and made our way out of the airport to order an Uber. As you walk out of the terminal there is a flurry of taxi men attempting to offer you a cheaper price than the last. We read that you should be wary of taxis and a lot of the companies are not properly registered. We have previously used Uber in other countries so felt this was the safest option. We booked AirBnbs for the majority of stops throughout our trip. I would recommend anyone who hasn’t tried AirBnb before to give it a go. The website is extremely easy to navigate and they really help you find exactly what you are looking for in any location. I use tripadvisor a lot and trust the reviews of the people. Depending on where you go/what you’re booking there may only be 2-3 reviews on Airbnb but you can generally get a good idea from the reviews and pictures what the place will be like. We have now stayed in Airbnbs all over the world and have been pleasantly surprised. They aren’t as reliable as say booking a hotel that have been around for years and you don’t get the on-tap customer service. You need a little independence as you are often given instructions to follow to check in without meeting the owner. Our main issue with Airbnb’s in Peru, which the hosts could not avoid, was the noise. The road noise unfortunately kept us awake and disturbed a number of nights during our trip. Peruvian drivers are well...shall we say, interesting drivers. During your time in Peru take care when crossing roads and if you’re in a taxi or on a local bus be prepared for a great deal of last minute lane changing, sharp breaking and beeping horns which will make you jump out of your skin.
Our first Airbnb was in Miraflores. It was pleasant enough and clean but unfortunately it was located in a car park next to a busy road and we were kept awake by the noise. We had two stops in Lima and our second was at the end of the trip where were staying in the trendy and bohemian Barranco. Due to the time difference we woke up very early and decided to go out and about to explore. We arrived in the evening and as with every new location it always looks very different in the daylight. The main thing we noticed was the thick fog that covered the sky. Lima is cloudy all year round and this is due to a combination of the cold water from the South Pacific Ocean and the warm air. I’m no geography buff, all I know is my hair was suffering from the humidity and my baby hairs were wild! We had some breakfast at Cafe La Paz overlooking the beautifully green cat park (yes it is what you’re thinking - a park full of free roaming cats) ‘Parque John F Kennedy’. We had Huevos Benedictinos and although not the best we’ve ever had it sure did the trick and tackled our hunger. We then joined a free walking tour which again we have done in most countries and cities we have visited. We love them. They are always very informative and we have found the guides to be very enthusiastic and often have a great sense of humour. For those who haven’t done a free walking tour before they are basically what they say on the tin but the guides rely on tips at the end. It is completely up to you to decide how much to give and we have never come across any pushy guides trying to get more money out of you. In Miraflores (and Cusco) we used a company called Incan Milky Way for our walking tours. We met the owner in Cusco and he explained how the company had started as a family business with himself and his brother and it has grown and expanded to include Lima and Arequipa. The walking tour was a tour of downtown Lima where we visited the main square (Plaza de Armes), various churches, historic Peruvian buildings and the Rimac river. This tour was long as it included a cramped bus journey to downtown Lima from Miraflores but informative and worth it. One of the best parts of the tour was the lunch spot recommended by the tour guide. I had researched many different restaurants in Miraflores but none in downtown Lima so this recommendation was just what we needed. We had our first taste of traditional Peruvian food and our first (of many) Pisco Sours.
Once back in Miraflores we wandered to find Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca temple. The ruins are only accessible with a tour guide but the company have frequent tours in all languages for a very reasonable price, around £4. In the middle of the tour you enter into the gardens of the grounds to find Llamas and Alpacas amongst other animals. It’s exciting the first sighting of Llamas and Alpacas but I assure you at the end of your trip this will become the norm. We walked back to our apartment and stopped for another Pisco Sour and to watch the Copa America. Peruvians are football fanatics and they create a great atmosphere in the bars and on the streets with their passion for the sport. During our time in Peru practically every second person we passed was wearing a Peruvian football shirt. The remainder of our night was spent in Mangos bar in Larcomar shopping centre where we had a Cusquena beer (our favourites were the Dorada (golden) and the Trigo (wheat)) and ended with getting some questionable food from Pardos Chicken.
Next Stop: Huacachina - A desert oasis