The Pacific Ocean accompanies Peru from end to end: it gives it its pleasant climates, its delicious beaches, and a delicious marine gastronomy. Lima enjoys the privilege of being the only South American capital with access to the sea, and that is just one of its attractions that can be used even for short stays. Also, three hours to the south, Paracas proposes leaving the city behind and bathing in a coastal experience of pure nature in one of the most emblematic hotels in Peru.
5 things you can do if you come to Lima for a few days
Lima is the gateway to get to know Peru: its connectivity makes it essential, whether it is to discover Cusco and the Andes, the Amazon and its mysteries, or the Peruvian coast. On the other hand, it is a capital with a strategic location in South America and an excellent meeting point in the region. It is not surprising that many visitors arrive for business or as a first step towards other Peruvian destinations. So, what to do in Lima during a short stay? Here are some suggestions to make the most of your visit. 1. A Gastronomic RouteLima has the privilege of having some of the most awarded restaurants in South America and the world. In fact, it is already known as a gastronomic capital for its biodiversity, variety and complexity of ingredients and flavors. A culinary tour of Lima can start well in Barranco, where Central is located, the famous restaurant that has been considered for several years as the best in Latin America, and which is currently the second best in the world by the 50 Best guide. In the historic heart of that same neighborhood, you can go to Isolina to experience the flavors of traditional cuisine. Nearby, the proposal of Siete combines Peruvian flavors with Mediterranean techniques and an excellent bar. In Miraflores, very close to the boardwalk, is another award-winning establishment –the second-best restaurant in Latin America according to 50 Best– which is Maido, with its Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. The sophisticated Rafael is one of the most popular places –for its flavor and good atmosphere– in Lima. And when it comes to coastal food, without a doubt La Mar or El Mercado are excellent alternatives, both with good accompaniments of pisco, the flagship drink of Peru. An unmissable experience is Insumo, at AC Hotel Lima Miraflores, the only restaurant in Lima on a rooftop overlooking the sea and an unbeatable perspective of the city. San Isidro is one of the districts with the best food and drink alternatives. Here is Astrid & Gastón, the restaurant that started the Peruvian food boom in the world, housed in the beautiful Casa Moreyra. In the Business Center, one of the most modern and lively areas of Lima, meat lovers can try the artisan technique of Osso. Those looking for a more exotic experience should go to Shi-Nuá, an Asian restaurant with Peruvian touches and a suggestive setting. Finally, Maras, the fine dining restaurant at the Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center is the best example of Peruvian signature cuisine, with international references and contemporary know-how.
2. The Amano MuseumThis pre-Columbian textile museum is one of the cultural treasures of Lima. Conveniently located in Miraflores, a few minutes from AC Hotel Lima Miraflores and Aloft Lima Miraflores, it houses one of the most important collections of pre-Columbian textiles in South America. The product of decades of work by Japanese businessman, inventor, and archaeologist Yoshitaro Amano (1898-1982), the museum was founded in 1964 and exhibits around 30,000 pieces. Yoshitaro traveled tirelessly through northern Peru to rescue and reassess pre-Columbian cultures, and then wanted to share his findings in a private museum that is cared for by the Amano family itself. The Yoshitaro Amano Hall is a special access depot that is not part of the normal tour, but rather a full circuit that must be requested when booking. There, dozens of drawers can be opened to surprise with the beauty of the textiles. Among the most notable pieces in the museum are a Chavín fabric from 800-1000 B.C., a Wari mantle from 600-800 A.D., and gauze, reticulated and dolls of the Chancay culture. The tour takes approximately two hours and is an unmissable visit to understand the richness of Ancient Peru. 3. The Magic Water CircuitLocated in the Parque de la Reserva, in the Historic Center of Lima, the Magic Water Circuit is an attraction inaugurated in 2007 that has quickly become one of the contemporary icons of the city. It is a large public space in a historic building, as the Parque de la Reserva opened in 1929. The Magic Water Circuit has thirteen cybernetic fountains in which music, water, sound, and laser lights are mixed to design fascinating audiovisual shows. For this, it obtained the Guinness record, for being the largest fountain complex in the world in a public park. In addition to the cybernetic fountains, the circuit has ornamental fountains and architectural heritage that are worth visiting. You can also take advantage of the proximity of other monuments and symbolic buildings in Lima, such as the Museum of Art in the Parque de la Exposición, the National Theater, the Plaza San Martín and, of course, the Plaza Mayor. Of course, at night is when the light show is best seen and is perfect to close a magical and profitable day in Lima.
4. A Walk Through BarrancoKnown for being the bohemian and artistic district, Barranco is one of the places with the most history and charm in the city. It is very close to the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, at the foot of the Costa Verde. A walk through Barranco could start at the Museum of Contemporary Art, an excellent opportunity to discover Peruvian plastic art. The building is surrounded by a park and a reflecting pool, and for this reason it is a meeting place for people from Lima who come to have picnics, rest, and exercise. It is not the only space dedicated to art, as in Barranco you can find contemporary art galleries such as 80m2, and others that combine current art with design and crafts, such as Dédalo and Wu Galería. And if it is about crafts, Las Pallas, on the emblematic Cajamarca Street, is a shop-gallery full of original and handmade pieces –some are even valuable antiques– produced by different Peruvian artisan groups. In Barranco, art is also in the street. The walls of the district are decorated with murals made by urban artists and communities such as the Shipibo-Konibo, a people native to the Peruvian Amazon that has made muralism a colorful form of expression. It is also common to come across street musicians or dancers. Many artists and designers live and work in the neighborhood. It is a delight to walk from the central park of Barranco towards the Puente de los Suspiros and the Bajada de Baños that reaches the sea. Another short but unmissable walk is the Paseo Sáenz Peña, a small avenue surrounded by art and design shops, and restaurants and cafes that ends at the boardwalk.
5. Relaxation and Wellness at the Heavenly Spa by WestinEvery stay in Lima is best enjoyed with a wellness space to incorporate experiences and rest body and mind. Heavenly Spa by Westin®, located in the Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center, is considered the largest urban spa in South America with 3,000 square meters. This remarkable spa includes 17 treatment cabins, a thermal circuit, a fitness center, and an indoor heated pool. Among its premium massages is the Aspire Massage, which uses plant oil aromatherapy and a variety of techniques to relax the nervous system; you can also ask for a seashell massage, based on coffee cream, which allows the seashells to slide all over the body. The wide variety of massages includes supplies such as chocolate, hot stones, and feathers. For an immersive experience, nothing like the baths at Heavenly Spa. The milk bath –a classic and mythical beauty cure– is recreated with marine collagen to caress and soften the skin; or maybe you prefer a natural mineral salts bath if you want to detoxify your body and mind. Highly recommended is the bamboo exfoliation, as well as the Suri Express, a facial that revitalizes the skin, ideal for an important meeting or celebration, or simply to pamper yourself in a space of total well-being.