What? An ancient pyramid in the center of town?
Yup, Lima has one right in Miraflores district. On my first visit to Lima in 2010, I stayed across the street from this marvel; this time we were a few miles away. Built in terraces, the adobe and clay structure dates from the fifth century. It now serves as an archeological museum and one of the top restaurants in Lima. Nope, I didn’t eat there, but I did enjoy other culinary delights.
Barranco food tour
Closer to us, within walking distance (or a short cab ride), was the Barranco district. This up-and-coming neighborhood also borders the Pacific and has a more bohemian vibe. I ventured there to take a free (tip what you want) food tour that featured quintessential Peruvian food and drinks, all delicious. I highly recommend it.
We met at a coffee shop and headed to our first stop, Juanito, for variety of causa (mashed potato towers with toppings of tuna, octopus, scallops) and then to a nearby bottle store for a Inka Cola, which is made from lemon verbena. We took the scenic route with lots of street art and crossed the famous bridge, to arrive at our third stop, Javier, for anticuchos (grilled beef hearts) where we stayed to watch the sunset.
We continued our street art tour to our fourth stop, Isolina, for escabeche (fish, onions, cheese, egg) and nabo (sweet/sour pickled turnips). We followed that with for a small sample of a light beer at the Barranco Beer Company, and we finished at Tio Mario with picarones (fried pastry of sweet potato & pumpkin dough with a caramel syrup).
Make your own chocolate
At the Choco Museo, not only did we learn where chocolate comes from (shockingly huge cacao pods filled with white goo and seeds), where it is grown, and how it is processed, but we also got to make our own chocolate tea, chocolate drinks, and molded chocolate bonbons to take home.
We selected dried cacao beans, shelled them, roasted them, and then ground them into a paste that was eventually used to make all the other delights. Educational AND yummy!
Other fun finds
I found swing dancing at two outdoor spaces, Parque Municipal in Barranca and El Malecón along the waterfront. Another great outdoor space is Parque Kennedy (named after the US President). It’s big and lively, filled with artists, musicians, and vendors. It’s also surrounded with a variety of restaurants and bars of all nationalities, as you would expect in a big city. For March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, we had several choices of Irish establishments. We lucked out at Molly’s where we got free t-shirts and were entertained by a kilt-wearing bagpiper and an adult-sized Leprechaun.
Exploring beyond the city to Ballestas Islands, Huacachina, Cusco, Macu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley.