The format of this post is inspired by one of my favourite New York Times travel series, 36 Hours.
We spent one full day in Lima to cap off our trip to Peru. After nearly two weeks of early mornings and bodily strain sustained in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, on the Inca Trail, and in the Amazon rainforest, we were ready for 24 hours of relative luxury. We booked ourselves into a fancy hotel and enjoyed an easy exploration of Peru’s capital city.
24 hours in Lima
10 pm. Landing in Lima.
After escaping from the jungle, we arrived on a late evening flight from Iquitos. I booked an airport pickup with Taxidatum, which I would recommend as a reliable and reasonably priced option for transport around the city. Unfortunately, Lima has a reputation as being an unsafe city and if you do a lot of reading, you will find some scary stories out there about things like taxi kidnappings and such. I should note that Mr. Chuckles and I did not feel unsafe at any point during our brief stay in Lima, although we did stick to the nicest parts of the city, Miraflores and Barranco, which are catered to tourists. We noticed a lot of private security and police presence in the streets as well. I think the only legitimate danger we felt was in witnessing the crazy drivers in Lima! Google Maps advised me to budget about an hour to get from the airport to Miraflores, but it only took about 30 minutes probably because of the maniacal driving.
Our accommodation was at Belmond Miraflores Park, a very nice 5 star hotel and welcomed step up after our week in a rustic Amazon lodge. We were booked into a beautiful ocean view junior suite.
11 pm. Pisco sour night cap.
We enjoyed a snack platter and a couple Pisco sours at Bar Belo in the lobby of the hotel, before calling it a night and having a delightful sleep under soft sheets, in an air conditioned room.
10 am. Walk along the Malecon.
The Malecon in Lima is a two mile strip of parks, gardens, and green space on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Miraflores. We spent our morning walking along, enjoying the ocean breeze and watching some surfers and paragliders.
We ventured south toward the district of Barranco, and stopped at the Bridge of Sighs. Legend has it that a wealthy man’s daughter was forbidden to see the man she had fallen in love with, as he was a lowly street sweeper. In dismay, she stood at her window and would sigh within earshot of those passing on the bridge. Apparently, if you hold your breath as you cross the length of the bridge, all your wishes will come true. Mr. Chuckles and I were not aware of this story at the time, so I guess we missed out.
There was some beautiful street art around here.
1 pm. Lunch at Central Restaurante.
Our fancy dining experience of this trip was at Central Restaurante, currently ranked number 6 among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We enjoyed an incredible 16 course meal via their ‘Mater Elevations’ tasting menu, which features dishes inspired by the varying ecosystems of Peru, ranging from altitudes of 20 metres below sea level to 4100 metres above it. I particularly appreciated that they had a non-alcoholic drink pairing which included a number of interesting fruit juices. I would say that this is my favourite tasting menu I’ve ever experienced.
3 pm. Street art in Barranco.
On the way back to our hotel after that amazing lunch, we wandered through Barranco to take in the plentiful street art. This district is home to some of Peru and Latin America’s finest artists and has something of a hippy feel to it.
5 pm. Pisco cocktails master class.
Our hotel offered a complimentary Pisco cocktails class hosted by the bartender at Bar Belo. We learned how to make our own Pisco sours, the signature drink of Peru. Interestingly, it was invented by American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris, who owned Morris’ Bar in Lima in the early 20th century. The story goes that he was bartending one busy night, serving whisky sours, when he eventually ran out of whiskey and ended up substituting with Pisco, hence inspiring invention of the Pisco sour.
We also learned how to make several other Pisco based cocktails. The Algarrobina uses a thick molasses syrup extracted from the algarrobo tree. The Chilcano is a twist on the Moscow mule, with Pisco and either ginger beer or ginger ale.
8 pm. Massage at Zest Spa.
While Mr. Chuckles slept off the cocktails, I made a stop at the hotel spa for a deep tissue massage. There was also a nice looking rooftop infinity pool but I didn’t bother having a dip this time.
10 pm. Goodbye Peru.
Our departing flight back to Toronto was scheduled at the awkward hour of 4:25 am so we had some rest in our room before packing up and heading to the airport.
This trip has been the most adventurous experience Mr. Chuckles and I have had together. There was some (read: a lot of) physical discomfort and even some grumpiness and tears over the past two weeks, but we survived and hopefully are better for it! Travel really is wonderful, but now it’s time to appreciate the comforts of home for a little while before we head off again.