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Lima sometimes gets a bad rap as the “Boring Capital” of South America but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Lima is a vibrant youthful city filled with all kinds of opportunities to experience something unique. All you have to do is dig a little deeper to reach the heart of Lima and its people. Lima is certainly not the boring capital of South America and here are the top seven unique things to do in Lima that prove it!
The Gastronomic Hub of South America
Lima’s culinary scene has exploded in the last couple of years and Lima is now the gastronomic hub of South America. The restaurant scene has grown to include several Michelin rated restaurants including Central Restaurante and Astrid y Gastón. Then there are the classic dives that have been here for years serving up Comida Criolla for the locals.
One of the most innovative and progressive restaurants in Lima is Central Restaurante. This unique restaurant offers a tasting menu that changes seasonally. Their menu takes you on a culinary journey through Peru as you start at below sea level with a dish of rock mussels to over 3050 meters above sea level to finish with a dish of medicinal plants. Central Restaurante is proving that haute cuisine can embrace traditional ingredients and celebrate the biodiversity of Peru! And there is a reason it made it on to our list of best meals in 2017!
Then there is Astrid y Gastón which was established in 1994 as a French restaurant and has evolved into a wholly Peruvian restaurant. Gastón Acurio, one of the founders of the restaurant, has gone on to give life to a whole host of well-known Peruvian restaurants both here in Lima and across the world including La Mar and Cafe del Museo inside the Larco Museum.
If you are looking for a more classic Peruvian restaurant then you have to head to Canta Rana in Barranco. Head here for Comida Criolla, local cuisine, including spicy cebiche, tiraditos (cebiche cut sashimi style), and the famous limeña causa comprised of layers of potatoes, avocado and your choice of seafood from shrimp to octopus and more.
Either way, it is worth diving into Lima’s unique gastronomy!
Do museums bore you? Well, I can guarantee the Larco Museum in Pueblo Libre will keep your attention. That is because this museum is first and foremost known for its extensive collection of pre-Colombian art of the erotic nature. The gallery’s erotic pottery was acquired in the 1960s and has been causing adults to giggle like children for over fifty years. So if you have ever wondered about sex in the ancient world, prepare to be enlightened!
While Rio gets all the press for paragliding, it is not the only South American city that offers this exhilarating experience. A jump off the cliffs of Lima sends you soaring over the Pacific Ocean with views of the Costa Verde in Miraflores and greater Lima. This is the most adrenaline pumping activity you can do in Lima for all you thrill seekers!
Dine in the Shadow of a Peruvian Pyramid
Peru is known for its ruins, most famously Machu Picchu, but did you know that there are ruins smack dab in the middle of Lima?
The Huaca Pucllana is a pyramid constructed between 200 and 700C.E. built in seven staggering layers. The pyramid is thought to have been an important administrative and ceremonial center for the indigenous Lima population. And not only can you explore them but you can also dine amongst them.
Once you explore these ruins head to Huaca Pucllana, the restaurant, and dine on neuvo-Andean cuisine in the shadow of the pyramid. Make sure to make a reservation for the patio and take in the ruins at your leisure as you dine on the sublime cuisine of the Andes. If you’re brave, be sure to sample the cuy (guinea pig) and the delicious alpaca steak!
Convento de San Francisco
Located just outside the main square of Lima, Plaza Mayor, the Convento de San Francisco is holding a dark secret. Underneath the church are catacombs filled with the bones of over 25,000 bodies. In order to view this macabre sight join a tour of the church and view for yourself the thousands of bones littering the catacombs. Just be sure to schedule this visit before lunch if you are squeamish.
Embrace Your Inner Kali Ma
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the priest reaches into the chest of the human sacrifice and pulls out his still-beating heart? Well, you can have your own Kali Ma experience in Lima by heading to Anticuchos Grimanesa in Miraflores and snacking on some beef hearts. Beef hearts are a traditional snack from the Andes and have become a favorite snack of the Limeños as well.
The best ones are reportedly being served up by the chief priestess, …I mean Doña Grimanesa, whose brick and mortar shop is haunted by locals who are addicted to her anticuchos de corazon!
Explore the Street Art of Barranco
The Barranco neighborhood is known as the Brooklyn of Lima in part, thanks to the proliferation of street art all throughout the neighborhood. This neighborhood is perfect for taking an afternoon stroll and exploring the tiny streets and alleys to discover all the secret street art that dots this neighborhood. Keep an eye out for the mural that pays tribute to The Beatles or discover the Inca-inspired street art or even the psychedelic frog who watches over the neighbors. Barranco’s street art brings this neighborhood to life!
Lima has so much going on and this city certainly isn’t boring! These unique things to do in Lima prove that. Come to Lima for these unique adventures and stay for the amazingly friendly people, the beautiful coastline, and discover that the city is more than just a jumping off point for Machu Picchu!
Have you been to Lima? What were some of the unique things to do in Lima you discovered?
Headed to Lima and want to escape the city. Why not join a tour with Peru Hop and see something a little unexpected?
Heading to Peru soon? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! Sure you may not use it but its always good to have. We recommend World Nomads which we have been using for years and have always made us feel secure as we travel around the world!
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