Lima, Peru
Nathan, 28
Photographer and Marketer
see his Lima city guide

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What are the Lima spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

As you can see from my recommended spots on the Lima map there are basically three main areas where all of the can’t miss stuff is at, which are Barranco, Miraflores, and Centro de Lima. If you can focus on these three main areas then you will basically hit all of my recommended spots, or at least get close logistically speaking. If you aren’t going to all of the specific spots I list, just being in these three areas the majority of the time will give you the best Lima experience possible with a good mix of both modern and historic places.

Do’s and don’ts in Lima: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

There are nuances to every situation in Lima, but in sum it is one of most modern and interesting cities in all of Latin America. For the most part you can sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself in the modern areas of Lima, which are quite numerous and expansive relatively speaking. These areas include Barranco, Miraflores, San Isidro, Surco, San Borja, and La Molina. In the other areas you will be reminded that Lima still has issues with poverty, and as such the same rules apply as they would anywhere else in Latin America. Don’t show too much wealth, don’t make yourself an easy target, and don’t go looking for trouble.

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

Really just depends, because venues and activities are either very cheap or horribly overpriced depending on the location and situation. You can spend $10 for a bottle of okay Argentinian wine and head to the Parque de Amor/Parque Antonio Raimondi at night with your lover and have a great night of conversation or you could spend $400+ dollars heading out for dinner and drinks at Central or Astrid y Gastón. I’m typically somewhere toward the former and never usually end up spending more than $60-$75 for me and my girlfriend on a night out that includes dinner, drinks, and dancing.

Which Lima shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

All depends on what I am looking to buy, because that will make me decide where I want to go. If I want some legit, American-style stuff at a North American-style mall I will most likely go to Jockey Plaza, which is like Larcomar but 10 times the size. If I’m sort of looking to save on a purchase I’ll go to the Centro Comercial Las Malvinas to buy a knockoff or mock good that’s essentially the same thing but from China. The latter is not for the faint of heart because there are lots of pickpockets around that area.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

Miraflores would be the best experience both day and night, because per capita Miraflores probably has the most restaurants, venues, and general places open both day and night, where as many other areas shut down early at night. Miraflores is also the safest at night out of all districts in Lima. You can’t go wrong in Miraflores at any time of the day.

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Deep in the heart of San Juan de Lurigancho, as it's probably the most dangerous of all the districts in Lima and it has the craziest stuff always happening there, and by crazy I mean really crazy.

What’s the one place in Lima you think is underrated?

Lima is so big that I feel there are a lot of pockets of underrated areas in each part, but in my opinion the most underrated place in all of Lima is La Punta. One of the reasons I feel like it is overlooked is due to the fact that it is quiet far from the main tourist areas of Barranco, Miraflores, and Centro de Lima, and the route to get there requires going through some less than desirable areas of Lima. Per my spots recommend in La Punta, you can see why I love La Punta and why I continually go back. It really is Lima’s oasis, as you can get a break from all of the regular hustle and bustle of Lima city life here.

Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?

Lima’s restaurant and bar scene is so great that there are literally endless options for a romantic night out, so I’ll break this up by area and budget. If you are in Miraflores and on a budget, go to Larcomar and eat and drink at Popular. If you are in Miraflores and not on a budget, go to Astrid y Gastón and splash the cash! If you are in Barranco go to Isolina Taberna Peruana for dinner and then head to Ayahuasca after for a drink.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in Lima?

One problem with Lima is that the food options past midnight are pitiful, even on the weekends. Unlike the U.S or Europe, there aren’t deliveries past midnight and there aren’t many food joints open past this time. In Miraflores the best options are La Lucha and La Republica, which are almost right next to each other in Parque Kennedy. They are both open until 1AM on weekdays and 3AM on weekends. Oh and there is also McDonald’s down the street from both of these which is open 24 hours. In Barranco your best bet for late night food will be on Nicolas de Pierola, as there are a couple small late night sandwich and shawarma places there.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

The good thing about Lima is that it’s in the tropics so you won’t be seeing snow or ice. It does get a little chilly during the Limeño winter, especially at night, but nothing ever below 55°F or 12°C. If you are from the Caribbean that might actually be freezing to you, so I’d recommend just staying inside at night during the Limeño winter.

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

Basically all of the 50 spots that I list, including Huacachina if there is time for it!

Your perfect night out in Lima includes:

I’ll just say what is my favorite kind of day here: A day out walking around Barranco, Miraflores, or Centro de Lima shooting pictures all day, and then watching the sunset on the coast while tipping back a couple Pilsen Callao’s (Peru’s most popular beer). After that, heading out to get some food, preferably seafood or sushi. Then to top the night off going out to a discoteca.

Which local creators do you admire?

I might sound like a broken record here, but I do admire the work of Gastón Acurio. Not only is the work he puts into his cooking impressive, but I am also impressed by his restaurants and their brands. He’s got tons of creativity in not only his cooking, but also his branding. Additionally, I find his ethos behind trying to elevate his country’s culture and culinary history to be very admirable. Since he’s risen to stardom worldwide, he’s brought Peru and Peruvian Cuisine right along with him.

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

If you are at Parque Kennedy in Miraflores then La Lucha is the no brain answer to this question. If you are not near Parque Kennedy and you are on-the-go with not much time, then my recommendation is to go to the closest Polleria. A Peruvian Polleria serves the famous Pollo a la Brasa, which is Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken. Most Pollerias will serve you at a lightning-fast pace, because their chickens are already cooked and just rotating in the oven. A half chicken will feed two people and only cost 35 to 60 soles depending on what sides and drinks you get. The best of the common Pollerias are Don Belisario and Pardo’s.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Lima. How do you spend it?

This is a question I’ve faced multiple times now having gone back home intermittently to the U.S. My last days usually consist of eating tons of Peruvian Ceviche and other Peruvian seafood dishes, and making sure I catch every sunset over the Pacific Ocean from Miraflores that I can. Usually the latter will include a Pilsen Callao or a bottle of wine with my girlfriend.

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Marco Simola