Flights Supervisor Chris Rendell-Dunn was born in Lima and regularly returns to the city.In the evening Barranco, Lima’s bohemian district, comes to life, brimming with folkloric shows and bars featuring spirited live performances

48 Hours in... Lima

Lima is often overlooked by visitors to Peru: with so many world-famous sights like Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines and Machu Picchu on the horizon, travellers are naturally eager to head into the Andes, the Amazon or along the desert coast. If you have time to devote to the capital though, I promise you, Lima will not disappoint – even if you just stay for the food! Here is what I recommend you do…

DAY ONE

After a hearty breakfast head to Lima’s colonial centre, best visited in the morning when it’s fresh and the traffic is not too heavy.

To see some of Lima’s best-preserved colonial legacy head to the Plaza de Armas – the city’s main square – flanked by the 18th century cathedral, the President’s Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Torre Tagle Palace that was built for the treasurer of the Royal Spanish fleet and considered to be the most striking of Lima’s 18th century mansions. Another building that borrows its architectural style from Baroque and Moorish Spain is the Monastery of San Francisco with its fascinating library and grisly Catacombs. Not far is the old central post office, a true philatelist’s dream.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head across town to the Larco Herrera Museum to enjoy a peaceful lunch in the museum’s pretty walled gardens and sample one of the best ceviches in Lima. The museum houses an amazing collection of beautifully modelled pottery, unique gold and silver work, mummies and ceramics from pre-Inca civilizations. Not to mention the erotic collection!

In the evening Barranco, Lima’s bohemian district, comes to life, brimming with folkloric shows and bars featuring spirited live performances by Peruvian bands. For a light dinner of barbecued beef hearts (anticuchos) join the locals at Tio Mario’s near the evocative Puente de Los Suspiros (whispering bridge). Alternatively Cala restaurant, which overlooks the ravine, offers all the Peruvian classics like aji de gallina (mild chicken curry) and seco de cordero (coriander lamb stew), but in a refined setting. And if you haven’t sampled Peru’s famous Pisco Sour cocktail yet, now’s your chance.

 

DAY TWO

This morning you’ll experience the day-to-day life of the limeños. Head to Surquillo food market with its diverse variety of fish and vegetables for sale, where you’ll have a chance to taste some of the delicious local fruits such as lucumachirimoya (custard apple) and pacay. Now that you’ve whet your appetite, choose either Pescados Capitales restaurant on Avenida La Mar, Miraflores, or Segundo Muelle on Avenida Conquistadores in San Isidro for a superb seafood lunch.

In the afternoon you can either opt to do some shopping around Miraflores – you’ll find some lovely antiques and silverware on Avenida La Paz – or head to the lovely residential suburb, San Isidro, to visit Huaca Pucllana – an ancient pyramid that pre-dates the Incas. To cool down, there’s a fantastic ice cream parlour called 4D which is located just around the corner – try the tumbo flavour (similar to passion fruit).

If you have the energy, try and get out to Parque de la Reserva near the centre. From Wednesday to Sunday there’s a Magic Water Show (Circuito Magico del Agua). The show lasts about 45 minutes with performances starting at 19:15, 20:15, 21:30 and 22:30. Expect an exceptional display of fountains choreographed to music, accompanied by a spectacular light show behind the swirling, twirling water.

For dinner, Astrid y Gastón offers one of the best upmarket dining experiences in Lima. For a more modest option with bags of atmosphere I really like Mangos in Larcomar, Miraflores. Its location overlooking the Pacific Ocean is second to none, and the lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with rice and chips) is delicious.

EATING IN LIMA

Peruvian cuisine is known throughout South America for its ability to incorporate influences from different times and cultures. The result is a culinary palette that has a depth of taste and colour that is unrivalled in all of the Americas, and the capital is its showcase. In my opinion, Lima is easily one of the world’s best places to dine.

For more restaurant recommendations than you could possibly fit into 48 hours (though trying would be pretty enjoyable), don’t miss the Culinary Guide to Lima. by restaurateur Martin Morales. and my wife’s blog post, Eating Between the Lines.

 

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Chez Wong
114 Calle Enrique León García
Lima , Peru
51-1-470-6217

Incomparable Ceviche

Everyone knows that the best ceviche in the world can be found in Peru, but what may be a surprise is that Lima’s most lauded Ceviche chef is the son of Chinese immigrants, and he learned his craft at his parents’ grocery in the ‘barrio’ of Balconcillo.

My friendship with Javier Wong Chong goes back to our childhood so it is a great joy to watch him prepare incomparable delicacies of flounder and octopus right in front of his admiring diners. Javier’s recipe for success is the combination of right from the sea freshness and the secret ingredients that he uses to bring his his ceviches and wok ‘saltados’ to life.

The ceviche is the best I have ever tasted during my decades in Peru, and in Peruvian restaurants throughout the world. It is simply incomparable. It is mesmerizing to watch Chef Wong prepare sizzling fish and mushrooms wok creations as  flames lick the morsels from outside the traditional concave pan.  The results are, as with his ceviche, spectacularly delicious. Anyone having the privilege to eat here will surrender to the exquisite food. The restaurant itself is completely non-descript, just a door with a number, not even a sign indicating that the place is a restaurant, but none is necessary. Those who know know, are here to eat what the chef is cooking (there is no menu) and wash it down with the one type of beer or soda that is available.

A meal at Chez Wong is a uniquely Peruvian experience, and one that should not be missed by food lovers visiting LIma. Lunch is the only meal served at Chez Wong so get there early, and be prepared for a the best of the best.

Felipe Elejalde

Manager

Solar Tours, Peru

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First developed by the Killke people, who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Incas in the 13th century, Cuzco was to become the epicenter for the entire Incan civilization, which included most of western South America.

 

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