Month 4 of Remote Year has brought me back to the Pacific to live and work in Lima, the capital of Peru. Lima was a city that had never been on my radar, but believe me, it should be added to your bucket list. Comprising 43 districts with nearly 9 million residents, Lima is a city of contrasts, with modern seaside neighborhoods nestled up against gritty shanties that cling to desolate hillsides. I spent most my time hanging out in Lima’s artsy Barranco and surfing the waves in Miraflores. I didn’t fully get a sense of the culture because I went on several side trips throughout my stay but hope to return in the future to dig a little deeper. Overall, the area I visited most in Lima had a west coast vibe with a mix of high-brow Santa Monica and grimy Venice, and the atmosphere was relaxed like San Diego. It reminded me how much I love to live on the coast and have access to the ocean whenever I desire. When I was there I ate ceviche and drank pisco sours all while basking in the sunshine making it one of the best months so far. Lima was also a central hub for getaways to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley; the Amazon; Lake Titicaca; and the amazing sand-dune oasis at Huacachina.
The first week of Peru I went to Cusco to start my hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is recommended to go there a few days before your trek to adjust to the altitude. I recommend going as early as possible because our initial flight was unable to land due to cloud coverage and I had to wait an extra day to fly out, leaving me less time to adjust to the altitude. Cusco was full of Inca temples, ancient plazas, museums, galleries, markets, cobbled hills to climb, and women in the richly-coloured national dress with their alpacas. In Cusco, I stayed at Palacio del Inka, an old Incan palace in the heart of the city. The hotel and its artifacts transport you back in time. The spa and restaurant were also very convenient after returning from the Inca Trail. My favorite part of Cusco was eating in great restaurants like Cicciolina, Chicha, and Greens Organic and strolling the streets to check out the beautiful textile markets.
After my side trips, I was excited to spend the rest of the month in one place. By stay in one place, I really mean eat all the food in Lima. And believe me, Lima’s reputation of having the best restaurants in South America did not disappoint! I stayed in the pretty Miraflores neighborhood which showed the city at its best. I also spent time in Barranco, a lovely area to the south of Miraflores dotted with historic homes, restaurants, and several museums. I found a natural market a few blocks from my apartment, ECO Tienda Natural. ECO didn’t have produce, but the farmer’s market, Bioferia de Miraflores on Sundays, was chuck full of organic goodies and local flavors. A fellow remote also led me to the farmer’s market in Barranco that had local, homemade Kombucha! In Miraflores, I also found a lovely yoga studio, Lima Yoga, to continue my practice. I loved how pedestrian friendly my neighborhood was. I often found myself taking different routes throughout the day to admire the cute architecture.
Besides the eye-candy architecture, pretty parks and gardens, including my favorite Lovers’ Park with its sculpture of a couple kissing, are great to visit to overlook the Pacific Ocean. I went almost every night I was in Lima to watch the sunset on the water. It was nice to round up some friends and picnic or drink piscos along the pier after work. The Magic Water Circuit, the world’s largest water fountain complex in a public park, is a delightful show to check out of dancing water and lights.
I took advantage of the water by surfing for the first time in my life. Surfing has been something I feared but always wanted to try. Luckily, I had a great team, including many newbies, that helped me feel at ease and get out and ride the waves. It is a liberating feeling being able to use the natural force of the ocean with only your balance and breath to glide along the water!
One of my favorite days was spent on a traditional fisherman’s boat, a Peque Peque, sailing through the sea in Pucusana. We saw sea lions and penguins living on islands surrounding the fishing village.
My art highlight this month was a visit to the Museo Mario Testino, MATE. My favorite part was the dichotomy of contemporary culture exhibited in an elegant colonial home with white pillars. His work empowers the female figure and seeing his photographs enlarged on the gallery walls really highlights his talented eye and commitment to his craft.
And finally the best for last, the food. From freshly baked bread to chifa to ceviche to a tasting menu from a top restaurant in the world, Lima left my stomach and heart full. If you are traveling to Lima, make a reservation at Central! It definitely lived up to its hype from Chef’s Table and it was really special to see Virgilio and Pía working together in the kitchen (couple goals) when I was there. More dinner spots not to miss are Maido, Rafael, and Madam Tusan.
El Pan de la Chola, El Mercado, La Picantería, Raw Cafe, and Chez Wong were my favorite places to lunch. Good coffee was a bit of a challenge to find in Lima, but for a perfect brew, I went to True Artisan Café.
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