I ended up here three times in 8 months backpacking South America. How I’m not sure but I wasn’t complaining. Lima is just a class city.
Hands down I loved this place because I couldn’t get enough of staying at Alpes Lima hostel. Sometimes the place makes it, some times the hostel, if you’re lucky sometimes both. Like here. This hostel made travelling Lima awesome. The guys who run it are legends, it has a roof top bar ran by a Russian named Vlad who spent most nights a kip behind it and the dorm beds are massive. Not to mention Miralflores, the beach front park areas with outdoor gyms and Colombian Juan Valdez café stalls! I mean throw a dog a bone.
I spent a day walking through Miraflores down to Barranco, smashed several ice creams and looped back round down along the coast, as walks go it was up there. Another, I spent at the Market north of Miraflores and the free city walking tour, very decent as far as free ones go. But more importantly, in the market was a certain dish named Ceviche. I’d do a lot to get my hands on ceviche and the market ones didn’t disappoint. After sampling it in almost every country down from Mexico, this was by far the best.
The proof in the pudding (or Ceviche)
I got chatting to an English lad working in the market with the Ceviche chefs. He was on a 3 month course learning how to create the best Ceviche dish and in his opinion this was the ultimate place for it. I’m talking maybe £3 for a mammoth portion, potential 60-70g of beautiful, juicy fish protein and much loved hearty omega 3’s. This was also a top place to pick-up fresh fruits and veg and a couple of white fish fillets for some home cooking back at the hostel.
You can’t be in Lima and not attempt to surf on the stoniest beach in the world. Little tip, walk on your heels not the balls of your feet to avoid pain. The sunsets are something else. World famous for a reason I guess, pointless yabbering on about them you just got to see it to believe it. There was a truly authentic and tasty fish restaurant called Isolina in Barranco, one of the times I was here I went with my Mam who’d came out for two weeks to do the Inca Trail, bless her. The restaurant is phenomenal, the fish was out of this world and the potatoes to accompany it were done to perfection. Sounds mental raving about potatoes but there’s over 3000 types exported from Peru, these guys know their potato.
I regularly ran along the Miraflores coast and trained with the locals on the outdoor gyms. They have their clique but didn’t mind a northern muppet joining in on their workout plans and learning some new techniques on the bars. Some of these guys are seriously ripped up with incredible functional fitness.
- Stay in Alpes Lima hostel in Miraflores. This hostel made travelling Lima awesome, it’s a delight with a roof top bar that has sun all day.
- Do the old town free city tour
- Walk left along the coast to the end point
- Run right, along the lush green coast area and workout on one of the many hanging gyms
- Visit Barranco
- Go to the fish restaurant Isolina
- Watch the sun set
- Go surfing (walk on your heels to get out of the water on the pebble beach)
- Prink lots of Pisco Sour but from trusted, good places
- Have ceviche for breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Visit the local market numero 1 for amazing fish and ceviche
- Here’s my experience and advice on booking Machu Pichu
Lima was up there behind Buenos Aries for me as one of the best cities in south America. Peruvians are friendly peeps even though they can look like Lego men at times. Lima’s party scene is wicked, it has every dance culture here and the food is unreal. They also just leave-you-be to enjoy their country and help you out when you need it. Great people, great food, great place. There I said it like my Grandpa and he was never wrong.
Tips for healthy eats
- Isolina restaurant in Barranco is a must for the best fish in the world. Serious.
- Mercado No 1 for incredible, huge portions of ceviche for next to nothing. There’s also fresh fruit, veg and loads of nuts and dried fruits if you’re heading to do the Inca Trail
- The gelato and ice cream vendors in Barranco are a dream
- The many cafes in Barranco are where it’s at for some hipster style coffee
- Restaurant Sonia if you’re looking for a fancy pants eat on the water
How to get meat for that protein hit
- There’s a supermarket on the main street north of Miraflores stocking everything. The cooked chickens are a delight and ideal for two/three days of easy veg stir-frys or just peeling pieces off at will.
- The ceviche’s at Mercardo 1 pack about 60-70g they’re huge. If you stay at Alpes Lima hostel in Miraflores there’s a mini shop next door selling the essentials if you’re in a rush or it’s late at night.
Where to exercise
Aside from quiet beach locations, this is the best place to exercise. The park along the coast line in Miraflores is setup perfectly for it and you’ll find many people training.
Hang from bars or dip from the benches as the sky turns pink. The run along the coast is well trodden with many people enjoying it. The parks themselves have trees everywhere if you’re looking for your own bit of space but when there’s outdoor gyms with great pull up and dip bars it’s best to take advantage of being able to do compound exercises.