One lovely day in Lima, Peru
We spent one day in Lima towards the end of our 13th anniversary trip to Peru, where I fell in love with Cusco, hiked the Inca Trail and tasted the Amazon jungle. Lima is the capital of Peru and is known as the culinary capital of Latin America. The restaurant 'Central' in Lima topped the list of World's 50 best restaurants in 2023 and Lima got more spots in that list than any other city. Though we had a packed itinerary, we wanted to spend at least one day in Lima to taste its food and sample its culture. We loved the food, no doubt, but I also loved their bustling main square in the Historic center, Plaza de Armas. It is such a lively place and I am so glad we spent an evening soaking in its charm and energy.
We flew from Puerto Maldonado to Lima in the evening and stayed in Miraflores for the night. After breakfast, we started our day by just walking around the neighborhood of Miraflores.
After an hour of exploring, we headed to the 'Choco Museum' in Miraflores, where I booked a Bean-to-Bar chocolate making workshop. It was quite a comprehensive workshop where we learned about Peru's cacao industry (#8 in the world in cacao production), history of chocolate and its importance in the Peruvian culture, and the various steps involved in the chocolate making itself. We then roasted the beans, ground the nibs, refined the paste and created our own chocolate with our choice of ingredients. We also tasted a tea made of cacao husk/shells which is said to have a good dose of theobromine that can wake people up without the coffee jitters, if you want to try. It was a fun 2.5 hours learning experience that ended with us having our own customized gourmet chocolates. What's not to like about it :)
With chocolates in hand, we resumed our walking to our next destination to have lunch. 'Al Toke Pez' is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant featured in Netflix's "Street food in Latin America" show, serving Nikkei (Peruvian Japanese fusion) food. There was a long line in front of the restaurant, in which we spent about 40 minutes, after which we decided to get the food to-go and ate it happily in a nearby park. It was quite tasty and filling, especially for that price.
We then took a local Metro bus from Miraflores to the Union station to get to the heart of Historic Lima. We try to take local transportation in international cities whenever we can, to get a flavor of that city. Asking the locals for directions to get to the metro stop was quite interesting. On this metro, we met an old lady from India, currently living in the US, who is on her solo trip to Peru. What a coincidence! We got off at the Union station, which was a 10-minute walk to the central square, "Plaza de Armas." It was a pleasant evening and the whole atmosphere was very lively. The streets were buzzing with vendors, local artists and tourists. We loved the vibe at the Plaza de Armas and sat on the stairs for about 30 minutes, admiring the beauty and the architecture of everything around us - Government palace, municipal palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, Central library and other colorful buildings.
I also have to mention the 'Madras prawn curry' we had at a restaurant in Miraflores the night before, which was very flavorful and quite impressive.
Do visit Lima for its food, but don't miss the 'Plaza de Armas' for its liveliness :) Have fun!