Ask Gomad Nomad: Layover in Lima, What to do?
Dear GoMad Nomad,
I’ve got a 9-hour layover in Lima. Is it worth it to go into the city to try to see something or should I just stay at the airport?
Steven from Northern California
Layover in Lima, What to do?
Absolutely, you should head into Lima for the day, as long as it’s not too late in the evening. There are plenty of good reasons to visit Lima. I would grab an official taxi from the airport and head first to the historic center. This should cost you around 45 soles ($14 US). The historic center is a little unsafe at night, but during the daytime you should be alright as long as you take common sense precautions (e.g. stay on the main streets, keep your camera/smart phone out of plain site).
The historic center is situated around the Plaza Mayor. The 16th century cathedral is right there and a few blocks away is San Fransisco, and old convent with a beautiful cloister lined with colorful tiles from Seville, Spain. Underground are the eerie catacombs with thousand of bones. A few blocks away is the lesser-visited Casa de Aliaga. Built in 1535, this is the oldest home on the continent, still family-owned after 17 generations. It is packed with decorative treasures from the 16th through 18th centuries.
After a few hours in the historic center, take an official taxi, or if it’s rush-hour get on the El Metropolitano rapid transit system, to the seaside district of Miraflores. Watch the sunset from the park that lines the Malecon. From here you’ve got a splendid elevated view out over the ocean. After the sun goes down, it’s time to eat Peruvian food in style. After all, you’re in Lima, the foodie capital of South America.
In Miraflores, a nice place for civiche and seafood is Punto Azul (San Martin 395). Located near the center of Miraflores, it’s popular at lunch time, reasonably priced, and delicious. Another place, a little more chic, nice for some ceviche and a glass of wine is La Mar Mar Cebicheria (La Mar 770). It’s about a 20 minute walk from the center of Miraflores, or a short cab ride, and is open from 11am-5pm daily. Across the street from La Mar Cebicheria is Mi Causa (La Mar 814), a casual cafe/restaurant packed with locals and a delicious 30 sole ($9.50 US) lunch menu which is a steal (open noon-5:30pm). The chef is super-friendly and cooks to order and makes killer civiche.
For fine dining at prices below $40 US, try Astrid y Gaston Casa Moreyra (Av. Paz Soldan 290), Central (Santa Isabel 376), or Rafael (San Martin 300), three of the best restaurants in the city.
Hope you enjoy your day in Lima!
ps. Enjoy the rest of Peru also. Here are lots of Peru travel articles to inspire your travels through the country.