Last Saturday, we left our hostel in Guatemala City very early for our 5:40 a.m. flight to Lima, with a layover in Mexico City. When we finally landed in Peru, 11 hours later, we were all pretty tired! Fortunately, going through immigration in Peru was a smooth process.
We had considered renting a car in Peru, but everything we had read led us to believe that driving ourselves would be a poor choice. We had a homestay reserved in the Barranco District, and our host had arranged for a car to pick us up from the airport. Once we were out on the roads, we were very appreciative of the fact that we had a driver!
The roads in Lima were crazy! There seemed to be no rules for driving, no particular lanes, and very few signals. There were just a lot of (dented) cars honking and pushing their way through traffic and tons of pedestrians weaving between vehicles.
When we finally arrived in the Barranco District, we found ourselves in a very lovely neighborhood full of restaurants, cafes, shops, galleries, and a lively, youthful crowd of tourists and residents. Our host, Claudia, lives in a three-story condo in a small gated community. When we arrived, at about 7:30 p.m., she showed us around the apartment. She lives on the third floor and rents out the three bedrooms with a shared bathroom on the second floor. We had reserved two of the bedrooms for our family, and a young American man was renting the third. Downstairs, the shared common areas include a living room, kitchen, dining room, and patio. Her home is quite lovely and proved to be a very comfortable base from which to explore.
We were exhausted from our travels, and quite ready to rest; however, we had been offered no food on the six-hour flight from Mexico City to Lima; there wasn’t even any food available on the plane for purchase. We were very hungry! Fortunately, Claudia recommended a lovely spot to eat just a few short blocks from her home. Arlotia is a great little Spanish-Peruvian restaurant, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal there. Unfortunately, we were too hungry to be prudent and, therefore, we ate way too much food and spent way too much money!
We started with limonadas for all of us and then a sample of 18 different tapas. For dinner Jon enjoyed grilled octopus in an olive sauce, Mic ate grilled fish in a tomato sauce, and I had a delicious ceviche. Daisy ordered fried potatoes and sampled from everyone else’s dishes. Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying a piece of their amazing cheesecake and some crème brûlée. The service was great and everything we ate was awesome. We had blown our Lima dining budget on a single meal, but we left the restaurant stuffed and very happy!
After a good night’s sleep, we spent a leisurely morning in the apartment then went out to find some brunch. Claudia recommended nearby La Bodega Verde, which definitely satisfied our needs, though the environment seemed a bit too hip for us, and the service was definitely lackluster. Regardless, the food was good and the drinks hit the spot.
From the café, we explored the immediate vicinity on foot. We walked around the park across the street, crossed the famed “bridge of sighs,” strolled alongside a busy plaza, and then looped around to do a little grocery shopping before heading back to the apartment. The whole area was so scenic and lively!
After unloading our groceries and resting for a bit, we decided to head out to the beach for the evening. Another scenic walk led us to the beach path, which follows a number of stairs down through the ravine, along a cobbled stone footpath bordered by cafés, restaurants, and shops. As we approached the Pacific, the path took a bridge over a busy, main coastal highway.
Despite the overcast weather, the rocky beachfront was extremely crowded. There were numerous food and art vendors and lots of pedestrians. A few people were brave enough to splash and swim in the cold Pacific waters! We sat on a cement wall overlooking the ocean and enjoyed the view.
The walkway heading back up into town was beautiful in the twilight. Back at the house, we ate dinner and relaxed. Later in the evening, Mic wanted to go on a walk, so she and I enjoyed a lovely, late-night walk through some of the areas we’d explored earlier. The plaza and park were still busy, even at 10:00 at night, but everything was softly lit and peaceful.
Unfortunately, Daisy became extremely ill on our second night. She got sick in the middle of the night, and was unable to keep anything in her stomach all the next day. As a result, we mostly stayed in the apartment on Monday and only ventured out for a couple hours. I spent the evening packing up and Jon and Mic ran out to grab some picarones (Peruvian donuts) drizzled with honey and mochas from stands in the park. Daisy was actually able to keep them down so, yay for picarones!
After dinner, we tried to get to sleep early, as we had an early ride to the airport the next morning. On Tuesday morning, we got out at 7:00 a.m. and made it to the airport in time for our 9:30 flight to Juliaca, near Lake Titicaca! Ultimately, though we hadn’t been sure what to expect, we all enjoyed Lima, and the Barranco District in particular.