Viva Peru – A Weekend in Miraflores, Lima

Viva Peru – A Weekend in Miraflores, Lima

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Objective

To check out the Miraflores district of Peru’s capital city, Lima.

When We Went

March 2018.

March is during the rainy season, but it stayed pretty dry during our time on the coast.

This time of year is the end of summer and beginning of fall in South America.

Length of time

We had a total of 9 days in Peru, 2 of which we spent in Miraflores.

The rest of the time we spent backpacking in Cusco and the surrounding area (you can read about that here).

Language

Spanish is what the locals speak. We came across many English speakers too, but not everywhere we went.

Currency

The Sol. Keep some small bills of the local currency on hand.

A lot of places also accepted US dollars and credit cards, and ATMs and exchange buildings were not hard to find. Each time we paid with USD, the bills were thoroughly examined and would not be accepted if they were ripped or tattered in any way, so make sure yours are in good shape.

Map

The map below shows some of the places we visited while in Lima:

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Check out what the CDC recommends for travelling to Peru here.

Hygiene

You cannot flush your toilet paper in Peru, little trash cans are set next to the toilets to discard of it instead. Try and remember to grab your toilet paper before you enter the stall when you are in a public restroom, as it is oftentimes kept on the outside.

Health

Drinking Water

We did not drink the water and avoided ice to be safe. I do recall one particular time we ordered drinks and forgot to ask for no ice (sin hielo, por favor), but we just shrugged and drank them anyway. Bottoms up. Neither of us got sick on the trip. Do your own research and use your own judgement to decide what is right for you.

Vaccines

We both wanted to double check that we were up to date on our routine vaccines and opted to get a couple that were recommended by the Center for Disease Control as well. Keep in mind that if you are planning on getting any vaccines, you will need to start looking into getting them several weeks in advance based on availability and to make sure they are effective in time for your trip. (This varies depending on what you are getting, of course). Do your own research and use your own judgement to decide what is right for you.

Safety

We felt comfortable walking around by ourselves on this trip.

ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. (Even more so if you don’t know Spanish).

Insurance

Alex purchased travel insurance, I did not. Most plans cover things such as flights and medical expenses. Alex used World Nomads for his, check out their website here.

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Plane

We flew in and out of Lima, the capital of Peru.

For our international flight, we flew Spirit Airlines. Spirit is of course a “budget airline,” so we didn’t get any free drinks or snacks on the way. You are only allowed to bring one personal item for free, all other bags require an additional fee. We were able to get away with using our giant backpacks as personal items on the way there, but we ended up having to pay for them on the return trip. Some gate attendants are stricter than others on this.

Airport Express Bus

We used the Airport Express Bus from the Lima airport to the place we were staying in Miraflores. The bus kiosk was located inside the Lima airport. We were able to book our rides to and from our Airbnb when we landed, then hopped on the next outbound bus. Our host recommended this service to us as an alternative to a taxi. (It ended up being about the same price in the end.) It had a pre-planned route so we just needed to be at our pick up spot at the corresponding time. We hopped off at our stop and walked a couple of blocks to our spot following the map the bus had provided and our host’s directions.

On Foot

We were able to get around well enough in Miraflores by walking.

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Airbnb

We used Airbnb to find the apartment in Miraflores. We were able to talk to our host beforehand and felt very comfortable with the arrangements.

Nueval Apartment

The Nueval Apartment we stayed in was inside a sleek looking building with stone detailing and large windows. We had to buzz in as well as show identification each time we entered the building.

The condo was very modern, we were greeted with stainless steel appliances, leather couches, and tasteful rod-iron decor. Updated tile-work and counter-tops adorned the kitchen and bathrooms. A HUGE walk-in closet was in the bedroom. Several large windows with no screens were along the walls of all of the outward facing rooms. (Based on personal experience I would assume this as an indication that there is was no AC during the summer months.) The bed was a large queen-sized foam mattress with crisp white sheets, stacked high with fluffy white pillows. Maybe I was a bit delusional at this point from the lack of sleep and rigorous physical activities of our last few days spent in Cusco, but it looked very much like a cloud. Time for a siesta.

We slept in past 8 am the next morning for the first time the whole trip. We felt rejuvenated. I was finally coming down from what I believe was an altitude induced sinus irritation from our time spent in the Andes and ready to explore the new city.

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Clothing

We had brought mostly hiking gear for our time spent in the Andes, all I had packed for footwear were hiking shoes and a pair of flip flops. (These worked out fine, I’d suggest comfy shoes or sandals.) It was fairly warm and sunny during the daytime, I wore jeans and t-shirts and was comfortable.

Compression bags will save space in your bag. I wasn’t on board with this idea at first, but they really do work quite well and I was glad we brought them.

Electronics and Gadgets

The electricity used in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycle, which is not the same as the US, 120 volts, 60 cycle. Make sure your devices can handle 220 volts, or you could end up frying them. The only electronics we brought were a tablet and our cellphones, which were all dual voltage, and therefore we did not need to use a converter. The plugs in Peru are typically the 2-pronged flat type, which is the same as the US, so we didn’t need to bring an adapter, either.

Download Whatsapp. I would recommend downloading this app so that you can communicate if necessary without incurring any international charges.

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It’s no secret that Lima is a recognized gastronomical paradise. We loved trying new foods as well as the Peruvian style on some of our favorites.

Foods We Enjoyed

Inca Corn

Often served as an appetizer on the table in lieu of bread or chips, I would compare it to a GIANT corn nut. The seasoning varied. We saw these crunchy snacks throughout our trip in Peru. (In the top right corner of the picture below.)

Seafood on the Coast

Chocitas con parmaseana (scallops with parmesan) served right in the shells. (Pictured above.) I was quite amused by this presentation and how pretty they looked, but Alex, the more avid seafood eater, was surprised this was my first time seeing them served as such. He’d eaten them like this several times before.

Arroz apeallado, delightfully seasoned rice packed full of squid, octopus, shrimp, sausage, scallops, chicken, peppers, and veggies. (I’m actually not huge on octopus or squid, I’ve never been particularly found of any food that’s overly chewy, nevertheless I did not mind them in this dish.)

A Stacked Club Sandwich

We stopped in Manolo for lunch one day and ordered a club sandwich. Piled high with hard boiled eggs, various deli meats, potato salad, and drizzled with 1000 island dressing, it was delightfully different than any I had ever had.

Saltado

We ordered the Peruvian classic, saltado, a type of Peruvian stir fry. It was delicious and the restaurant we ordered it in, El pez, added to the overall experience with its funky-cartoon-ish atmosphere. Our waiter was friendly and just as much of a character.

Churros and Chocolate

We were eating lunch one day when we saw the table next to us dipping fresh, crispy churros in a creamy chocolate dipping sauce. The sweet, spiced smell got the better of us, we asked our waiter for a plate as well.

Everyone Was Eating Ice Cream

While strolling around Miraflores we could’t help but notice that literally just about everyone we passed was eating ice cream. Ice pops off street vendors, luxurious double scoops, you name it. The sun was warm. We decided to get some too at Ice Cookies.

Cough Drops ???

We were out at a restaurant and it was time for the check. There were two wrapped objects wedged in the black book, and anticipating mints or candies of some sort I was a bit taken aback when I pulled out a couple of halls cough drops. First we laughed. Then we shrugged and sucked on our lozenges. Consequently, we ended up seeing these often, so it must have been a “thing” and not a mistake after all.

Drinks

Fruit Juice

Juices made from fresh-squeezed fruit were plentiful and always included with breakfast.

Inca Cola

A very popular soft drink in Peru was Inca Cola — a yellow, banana-flavored Coca-Cola product. The unexpected sweet flavor overwhelmed me at first sip, but we both came to love it. In fact, we dreaded finishing our last bottle, which I had stashed in the fridge at home until a few weeks after our trip. We cracked it open and savored the last of the banana flavored bubbles. (While watching an Anthony Bourdain episode, RIP to our travel inspiration. Cheers!)

Coffee

In Peru, coffee is served highly concentrated and you add hot water to taste, sweetener, etc. I quickly learned this when I accidentally poured myself an exceptionally strong cup my first morning in the Andes.

Beer

Cusquena and Pilsen were the readily available domestics, both were light and drinkable.

Pisco Sours

A Peruvian classic concocted with lemon juice, raw egg whites (yes, I said RAW), Pisco, and simple syrup soon became our alcoholic beverage of choice. There were several different flavors to try.

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Miraflores is chalk-full of pretty parks, visiting as many as we could was how we spent most of our time in the city.

The Miraflores district of Lima was hip. Modern. Flashy cars on the roads. Sleek buildings towering high overhead. Stores boasting name brands that were out of my price range. Palm trees sprouting up everywhere. An apparent cultural mix of people. It reminded me a little of Miami.

Playa Redondo

Back at the Beach

We knew we were back at the beach the moment we stepped off the plane. We could feel it in the air. Smell the salt. There’s just that special something about being close to the water…

The beach we went to, Playa Redondo, was a small shingle beach. This was my first time visiting a pebble beach, I’d only ever been to fine-sand beaches before. The waves were rough. Ill-fittingly, I was wearing jeans, I hadn’t brought any shorts along for the trip (we had stuffed all of our things into a couple of back packs). This combination of things led me to falling over several times, and I ended up stumbling around and soaked up to my thighs. (What a shoobie!) Nevertheless there were a good number of people stretched across the rocks soaking up the sun.

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Kennedy (Kitty) Park

Kennedy Park was a bit of an unexpected find, right in the center of Miraflores. Yes, you are correct, it is named after the US president, John F. Kennedy, and is filled with, wait for it, cats. Lots of cats. Frolicking around in the flower beds. Walking along the brick pathways. Lounging on low lying tree branches. Just sitting and waiting for their new owner to scoop them up and take them home (this is the park’s intention). We cut through kitty park on our way to almost everywhere (yes, this was just an excuse to pet the cats again).

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Larcomar Shopping Center

The Larcomar shopping center is quite impressive looking with its unique architecture overlooking the steep cliffs that hang over the Pacific Ocean below. Uninterested in the shopping part, we watched the sunset here a couple of times, it rightfully drew quite the crowd.

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Parque Del Amor (Love Park)

Adorned with brightly colored artwork, this park was a great place to walk around. An intriguing collection of murals, mosaics, and statues encompassed the area, all with the theme of “love”.

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World Cup Hype

Everywhere we went we saw people filling out world cup cards. You could feel the excitement in the air for the upcoming event, it was just a few months away.

La Marina Lighthouse

We happened upon La Marina Lighthouse while walking around Antonio Raimondi Park. It’s short and fat with classic black and white horizontal stripes.

It made for a quite picturesque ending to our time in Miraflores.

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