We ended our time in South America by staying in the Miraflores district of Lima for 2 weeks. We rented a really nice Airbnb in the fancier part of town. It was great! We celebrated our second wedding anniversary the night we arrived in Lima- Jeff took me out to a really nice restaurant called 'Panchita' and it ended up being our favorite meal in Peru! We liked Panchita's so much that we went back and ate there on our last night also. Below: Jeff ordered Adobo (traditional stew, served with rice, and I ordered steak that came with plantains, eggs and shoestring fries. Complete with a few glasses of wine!
Altair CrossFit was 3 blocks from our apartment, so we dropped in while we were in Lima. Turns out, the key to fitness is not eating your way around the world for 12 months. Both of us were extremely happy to lift some (light) weights again. It’s a really good thing that CrossFit is a universal language; the classes were entirely in Spanish, but we’re pretty good listeners and just followed along. Thank you Altair for letting us drop by!
One afternoon we walked from our place to the coast. There is a super fancy shopping mall called Larcomar built on the cliffs of Lima overlooking the sea. We also explored the Barranco area, which is the ‘hipster’ neighborhood of Lima. Jeff found a hole in the wall place in Barranco for ceviche- and it was delicious!
There are pre-Incan ruins right in Lima! One afternoon we took a short 15-minute walk from our apartment to visit Huaca Pucllana. For about $4 each, we got a tour of this adobe settlement from the time of the Lima culture (200-700 AD). It was amazing to see ancient ruins amid the skyscrapers. It is an active dig site; there is about 30 more years of work to be done in order to uncover the entire settlement. It’s pretty cool because their building techniques have outlasted centuries of earthquakes.
Since Miraflores (where we were staying) is pretty far from downtown Lima, we went on a free walking tour one day in order to see more of the city. Our tour guide corralled our group onto the public buses to get us the 16km to the main square. The tour was ok (not as good as our other free tours in Peru), but we were pretty disappointed when we tried the restaurant our guide recommended at the end of the tour. Unfortunately, our experience at this restaurant was the only time we legitimately felt like we were ripped off in this country. If you are ever in Lima, skip the restaurant called ‘Kirpay.’
Anyway, the plus side of the tour was that it got us to use the public transport in town! Peruvians aren’t afraid to get friendly on the bus. Think of a bus’s normal capacity…now quadruple it. I’m not exaggerating. At one point I was sitting on a woman’s lap because there was no place for me to stand. It was a tighter fit than any Japanese train we had been on, and Jeff thought it was comparable to the metro in New Delhi. I also experienced my first ‘hair pull’ of this entire trip on the Peruvian bus. Yes lady, my hair really is as blonde and thin as it looks…
While the bus is a pretty effective method of transportation (stations are run like subway stations and there are separate bus lanes in part of the city to bypass traffic), paying for tickets wasn’t. The tour guide from our walking tour just told us to give our exact change to a bus worker at the station and they would help us through the gate- well, it didn’t really work like that. In order to use some of the buses in Lima you need to have a reusable bus card. They don’t sell 1-time tickets. Since we were only using the bus a total of 4 times, we didn’t want to buy the nonrefundable card for 5 soles. So when we went to get back on the bus after our tour, I told the station worker we didn’t have a card, but wanted to ride the bus. She ended up giving our money to a random person who was re-loading their bus card at a machine and then this person ended up swiping us in! Apparently, this is normal, as when we went to ride the bus again the next day we were again at the mercy of strangers to take our money and have them swipe us into the bus station. Surprisingly, strangers were extremely helpful and no one seemed put out that had to help the gringos on the bus!
On one of our last nights in town, we braved the bus again and went to the Parque de la Reserva to see the fountains. For a little over $1, we entered the park to see the 13 fountains all lit up. It was great! They also have a water/light show that runs a few times each night. I included one of the fountain descriptions from a sign because I thought it was great! Not sure what 'unique acoustic flowers' are, but the fountain was pretty!
We had a really nice 2 weeks in Lima and it was pretty low key. We spent time looking for jobs and thinking about what we want to do once we are done traveling- which will be here so soon! If you are ever traveling through Peru, a day or 2 in this city would be more than enough. After spending 5 weeks in Peru, both Jeff and I are ready to move on. Our next stop is Stateside!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff’s Peru Recap:
Modes of transportation: Bus, Plane, Boat, Train, Taxi
Total Spent: $5,524.80 (includes flight into Cusco and multiple flights in country)
Average Per Day: $138.12
Peru can be very cheap, and it can also be quite expensive, all depending on your tastes. We stayed in some nicer places, but avoided the hotels that clearly were ripping people off. A little research and you can easily tell that most of the hotels are the same quality, but the price can vary a lot. We also knew we had some more money left than we thought we would at this point and used it to fly within Peru, instead of taking the bus. They say time is money and we figured it was worth paying more to fly for an hour or two than take a 12+ hour bus ride. Overall we lived pretty large here but still were barely over our year goal average for the daily amount spent. We don't have much left before the real "end" of the trip, so sometime soon I'll put together some financial numbers for the whole year!