When in Peru, there are several destinations that are worth visiting, but there are certain areas that can get overlooked. Lima’s history, art and gastronomy is hidden throughout its neighborhoods and smaller cities surrounding the Peruvian capital. Each of these places will expose you to the diversity of Peru and you will without a doubt enjoy your time at these fun and multicultural destinations.
Here are five valuable trips in and around Lima that are worth looking as you look to immerse yourself in Peruvian culture:
1. El Centro (Lima)
When you are in some neighborhoods of Lima, such as Miraflores or San Isidro, they have a very modern and new feeling to them. In order to gauge and witness the age of Lima, a trip to “El Centro” (the city center of Lima) will give you a sense of the rich history of Lima.
Home to colonial Spain-inspired architecture and the political center of Lima, this area is also constantly buzzing with street performances, parades, and festivals. Whether you want to eat traditional Peruvian cuisine or Chifa (a mixture of Chinese and Peruvian food) in El Centro’s Chinatown, you will definitely eat well. I have also eaten the best churro in my life in El Centro!
2. Barranco (Lima)
Barranco is Lima’s most artistic neighborhood. You will be able to visit local art shops, art museums, and exhibitions. It is super accessible from Miraflores, being only a fifteen to twenty minute car ride. Barranco’s must-visit spot is El Puente de Suspiros. “Un suspiro” is a sigh or a gasp so you can imagine that this bridge is breath taking!
When you visit for the first time, you must hold your breath for the entire time it takes you to cross the bridge while making a wish. This site is both romantic and breathtaking, not to mention the awesome views of the Pacific. There are many restaurant options in the area, as well as one of the best ice cream and dessert places in all of Lima called Blu Gelateria right near Plaza Barranco. Barranco is great for some down-time and you can easily access the beach and take a leisurely walk.
3. Churillos (Lima)
Churillos is known for having many beaches that you can easily get to in Lima without having to travel for hours. While they are not the most amazing beaches in the world, I found them to be the best that Lima itself has to offer.
You can do a beach day in Churillos or travel to one of the highest points in Churrillos to take in an amazing panoramic view of all of Lima. This highest point also has one of the world’s largest statues of Jesus.
4. Callao (Lima)
Want to swim with sea lions? Callao, more specifically El Punto de Callao? This is the place to visit if you are looking for some adventure locally.
You can take a boat ride as a part of a tour to have a scenic day out on the water, and also swim with some sea lions if you feeling adventurous! After a couple hours out at sea, you can treat yourself to some delicious and freshly made chicharron or ceviche that tastes even better by the coast!
A day trip to the city of Ica is a must when in Peru. Unlike Lima, Ica is sunny and warm year-round so you can visit any time of the year! This trip should be more than one day, as it takes four hours by bus to get to Ica from Lima.
Once in Ica, you can go sand-boarding while riding in a dune-buggy through the desert. When I was in Ica, I witnessed the most beautiful sunset while in the desert. Ica is also home to one of South America’s only oasis. Ica is one of Peru’s most beautiful and warm-spirited places, so you will not regret a little trip here!
By traveling to these different destinations in Peru, you can obtain a wider view of what Peru truly has to offer. Even while abroad, it is great to get outside of the neighborhood that you may live in and frequent often. If you do not see these areas you are missing out on absorbing Peru’s regional cultural diversity. If you find yourself in Lima for most of your time, it is refreshing to expose yourself to different scenery and more nature places. If you find yourself abroad, you must see more than the tourist spots and explore to fully take in all of Peru!
If you’re interested in learning more about Lima, and Peru in general, definitely read Why Study in Peru!