24.06.2012 - 28.06.2012
In total we’ll have spent 10 days in Lima. Since we’re at the end of our trip, we’re also at the end of our budget. Our friends we're staying with must think we are the most boring couple ever, but nobody believes us when we say you Mexico is so much cheaper. Here are 5 things you can do on a very tight budget:
Eat. Peruvian cuisine is up-and-coming on the culinary spread. Typical Peruvian dishes are becoming quite famous on an international level. While you may not be able to afford much, you can just sit for an hour or two looking at the menu and learning about all of the different types if potatoes. Another tasty treat is churros with chocolate. At Manolo's in downtown Lima, churros come with a creamy chocolate dipping sauce. The only other thing you must try, even if you’re out of cash, is the ceviche. Sell your Lonely Planet guide if you don't have the money.
Drink. There’s Pilsen, Cristal and Cusqueña for beers. If you’re lucky maybe the bar will serve some snacks and you can spend more on drinks than food. And you must try one of the pisco varieties. Although a Pisco sour is the typical touristy drink, all the cool Limeños drink Chilcanos, pisco with ginger ale. It was surprisingly good, and I would have had another, again, if it weren't out of our budget.
Climb. If you follow the route we did, South to North, you will have already done Machu Picchu and think that you will no longer be impressed by crumbling ruins. But Huaca Pucllana is a recently discovered (time-wise, in the archaeological world, or course) site that overlooks the city of Lima. It is actually nestled in the quiet upper class neighborhoodof Miraflores. Layered brick-like walls rise and fall as you get a guided tour of the area. There’s even a tiny farm that shows regional Peruvian animals and plants.
Explore. One of my favorite museums on this trip was the Santo Domingo Church and Catacombs. The overcast day we went on didn’t help the creepy factor. So many people were buried there that now they’ve been grouped into just piles of bones- femurs, skulls, hips. There is a very old library in the church as well- one or those two story ones where you have to swing along on a ladder to find everything. It reminded me of Ollivander’s wand shop in Harry Potter. A stunning church and convent with an air of mystery and grandeur.
Walk. At the end if our budget we don’t have any other choice. But that’s just perfect, because Barranco, Miraflores and the Historical Center are all flat. If you have some extra cash, maybe you can rent a bike or a skateboard. These neighborhoods are beautiful, with an intriguing mix of huge old mansions and shiny new high rises. Chorrillos and Barranco follow the coastline- you can watch the suffers float like little seals as they wait to catch a wave. Just breathtaking views.
In all honesty, out of all the cities and towns we visited on our trip Lima was the most inviting and authentic. Everywhere else felt like a stop along the tourist route, whereas Lima is alive and liveable. It is a vibrant city with a complicated history that is finally starting to get noticed by the rest of the world.