Day Tripping from Home: 12 Hours in Lima

This itinerary will make you feel like you’re actually museum‑hopping and pisco‑sipping in Peru’s biggest city.

If, like us, you’ve had enough of being housebound, our new Day Tripping series will take you right to where you want to go in an instant, no passport required. This month, head to Lima to shop the stylish boutiques of Miraflores, learn how to make classic ceviche and even take a side trip to bucket-list topper Machu Picchu.
 

May 14, 2020

10 a.m. Get in the groove

To make it feel more like you’re actually in one of South America’s largest cities, turn to hospitality experts Inkterra for some mood setting. The brand of sustainable hotels and ecotourism experiences has long partnered with Peruvian musicians to make albums that celebrate indigenous music and culture, including Serenata Inkaterra, arranged by the composer and saxophonist Jean Pierre Magnet, and Fiesta Inkaterra, an “Andean Chill” mix by Miki Gonzalez. Or, to tap into what’s topping the charts, shuffle Spotify’s Peru Top 50, which features the most played tracks in the country.

Potted plants at Museo Larco in Lima, Peru
Museo Larco.   Photo: Gianfranco Pena (Unsplash)

10:30 a.m. Head out on a museum hop

The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru is the country’s oldest and largest museum with pieces in its collection that date back to 14,000 BC. Take a virtual tour, courtesy of the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, to “walk” through the building’s galleries and courtyards, stopping along the way to read exhibit texts and get up-close, 3-D looks at artifacts. If you’d like a speedy primer on Peru’s ancient history, Museo Larco, home to a vast array of pre-Columbian art, has a 10-minute introductory video and recommends watching it before viewing its online galleries. For a contemporary art experience, visit Museo Mario Testino, founded by internationally acclaimed fashion photographer Marino Testino, via Google Arts & Culture. The platform showcases Testino’s Alta Moda portrait exhibit of Peruvians from the high mountains near Cusco in traditional and culturally significant costumes.

A plate of ceviche served in Lima, Peru
Ceviche.   Photo: Pirata Studio Film (Unsplash)

12:30 p.m. It’s ceviche time

You won’t find Peruvians ordering ceviche for dinner – the beloved dish is eaten earlier in the day, for lunch or even first-thing, when fish is the freshest. Whether you’re sampling a no-frills version in Lima’s bustling Mercado de Surquillo or dining on an elevated take with prawns, scallops and squid on the terrace at El Mercado, ceviche comes down to fresh fish and bright citrus. Let Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, consulting chef on luxury river cruise company Aqua Expeditions’ Amazon cruises, walk you through the process in his tutorial video and you’ll be feasting on classic leche de tigre ceviche in just 15 minutes. (Skip ahead to 6:25 – we’ll come back to the first minutes of the video, which cover the famous pisco sour, soon!)

Robes and crochet handbags hang from the walls of Mozh Mozh Studio in Lima
Mozh Mozh Studio.   Photo: Brian W. Ferry
Cream coloured alpaca sweaters by Ayni hang on a rack in Lima
Mozh Mozh Studio.   Photo: Brian W. Ferry
Alpaca Knits by Ayni.    Photo: Brian W. Ferry

1 p.m. Shop ’till you drop

No trip to Lima is complete without an afternoon spent strolling – and spending – in the luxurious cliffside district of Miraflores, a mecca for Peru’s fashion designers. Here you’ll find jeweller Lorena Pestana’s Amazon-inspired pieces, Mozh Mozh’s crochet handbags and Ayni’s alpaca sweaters – all of which you can currently shop online. For extra cred, navigate to each boutique along the neighbourhood’s colourful streets using Google Street View.

A bartender making a pisco sour
A pisco sour.   Photo: Ben Yang (Unsplash)

3 p.m. Pick yourself back up with a pisco sour

As promised – pisco sours! Peru’s national drink mixes pisco, a brandy made in the country’s coastal valley regions, frothy egg whites, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters. Head back to Aqua Expeditions chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s video for instructions, or get a comprehensive how-to from award-winning mixologists Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana, who cover the cocktail in episode nine (titled Silky Egg White Sours: Panacea, Pisco Sour, and Morning Glory Fizz) of their 17-lesson Master Class series. As bar director for Brooklyn’s Llama Inn and New York’s Llama San, Marrero, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is well-versed in Peruvian flavours and a pro with pisco.

Clouds hang over the rugged terrain of Machu Picchu in Lima, Peru
Machu Picchu.   Photo: Jeremiah Berman (Unsplash)

4 p.m. Take a side trip to Machu Picchu…

From Lima, a trip to Cusco, the gateway to the legendary Incan ruins, is a 90-minute flight or 20+ hour bus ride. But right now, it’s just a click away. Get up close to all of the highlights, like Machu Picchu Mountain (the ancient city’s highest point at 3,051 metres), royal residences and friendly local alpacas, sans lineups and crowds with YouVisit’s interactive online tour, which features 360-degree images and a voiceover guide.

A stone fountain in the courtyard of the Santa Catalina Monastery in Lima, Peru
Santa Catalina Monastery.   Photo: Martin Espinoza (Unsplash)

6 p.m. …and another to Arequipa

The colonial-era city of Arequipa, ringed by volcanoes in the country’s south, was recently designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. While you can’t sample any regional specialties, such as queso helado (a creamy dessert that translates to cheese ice cream), from afar, you can visit one of the city’s top sights: the tangerine-coloured Santa Catalina Monastery. Wander through the tranquil 16th century convent that takes up a whole block on a virtual tour from the World Monuments Fund, making sure to explore the narrow passageways, sunny courtyards and the flower-filled Great Cloister, adjacent to the Saint Catalina Chapel.
 

7 p.m. Whip up some Peruvian specialties

End the day with a feast of Peruvian flavours. PromPerú, the official tourism organization, has some handy one-minute videos on how to put together recipes like lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with tomatoes, onions and chilis) and solterito de quinoa (a simple quinoa salad). Dinner, sorted.
 

9 p.m. Wind down with a movie

If you haven’t had your fill of Peruvian food, tune in to volume three, episode six of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, starring chef Virgilio Martinez, whose Lima restaurant Central has thrice topped the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list. For a family pick, stream Dora and the Lost City of Gold on Prime Video, which, while not set in Lima, celebrates Andean history and stories, and has been praised for its authentic indigenous representations (a Peruvian Quechua and Spanish professor served as the film’s cultural consultant).

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