lima, peru in 24 hours

It was already dark when I landed in Lima, Peru at least 3 hours behind schedule due to a cancelled flight from Santiago.  After 14 hours of travel, I was reunited with Mom and Dad in Miraflores Lima!  Our driver, Giancarlo and I chatted the entire congested ride to the apartment and I think it’s safe to say that Peruvian Spanish is much easier to understand than Chilean!

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With no rest for the weary, we were out the door, wandering the darkened streets of Miraflores, Lima, an affluent and touristy zone full of the common comforts and delicious Peruvian food.  Our restaurant, Saqra, hidden in a little garden on a side street serves up gourmet dishes like gnocchi from Andean potatoes in a squash cream sauce and fresh vegetables and quinoa crusted scallops on a bed of local lima beans, tomatoes, and choclo (corn).  Along with the Peruvian pisco sour which is less sweet than in Chile and served with egg white, we devoured pineapple doughnut fritters with coconut ice cream and deep fried pineapple slices.

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But Lima has much more to offer than Miraflores, which we quickly learned the next morning on our way to the historical centro.

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Grand plazas, immense churches, cathedrals and monasteries are around every corner.  In our whirlwind tour we went to Plaza de Armas to watch the changing of the guard,

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Plaza San Martin, and a neighboring exhibit on traditional dance costumes

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Iglesia de la Merced, Monostario San Francisco and Catacombs,

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El Catedral,  

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Iglesia Santo Domingo, Mercado Central,

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Barrio China

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and more!  It’s possible to feel satisfied with your tour of El Centro in a full day of walking but be warned!  You will be dead on your feet and overwhelmed by the end!

Lunch was Chifa or Chinese food, a famous novelty in Lima.  Due to the high number of Chinese immigrants, cheap and delicious authentic Chinese food is available nearly everywhere.  But we went straight to the source: Barrio China, a packed neighborhood of vendors, El Mercado Central, street food, Chifa restaurants and to our surprise, a parade!

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We dined at Wa Lok a highly recommened Chifa establishement.  Surrounded by liocals we dined on crispy spring rolls in spicy dipping sauces, fried rice with scallion, sprouts and mushrooms, langostinos picantes al horno or spicy shrimp and lightly sauteed vegetables with noodles.   The oversized portions left us stuffed for only about $35 USD!  We eat like kings here!

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Back in Miraflores we spruced up a bit for the higher caliber restaurant, Pescados Capitales a short cab ride away but definetly not walkable from our Airbnb on the ocean.  Pesados Capitales is one of the few restaurants in Lima that serves cebiche for dinner.  This isn’t common because cebiche demands the freshest of seafoods straight from the market each morning.   The Generosity cebiche of tuna, salmon and a local Peruvian fish similar to sea bass with three types of local onions, three types of peppers and the sweetest of sweet potatoes is a must!  As is the grilled pescado del dia which was a white and meaty local fish called cachema served with garlic roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables. For dessert, give the rollos de cheesecake de maracuya a try for crunchy Passion fruit cheesecake egg rolls! These pictures from my horrible smartphone don’t do the amazing food even the teeniest bit of justice!

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Moral of the story: Lima cannot be done in 24 hours and if you only have 24 hours you should spend every minute eating.

Other food included breakfast at Popular in the LarcoMar Mall in Miraflores which really didn’t feel anything like Peru with TGI Fridays right next door but at least we got some good eggs with a view of the Pacific!

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