Lima was a pleasant surprise for me on this trip. We initially decided to bypass Peru completely after deciding that Machu Pichu would be too difficult with Otto. (Many people do it with a toddler but they tend to drive in and not take the few days to hike which is what we would have liked to do). However, the universe had a different plan for us. After realizing that it was actually cheaper to book a flight through Lima to South America, watching Anthony Bourdain’s parts unknown and having a general attitude of “f#k it, lets do it” we found ourselves in the artsy, romantic and bohemian neighborhood of Barranco.
Barranco is a special place. It feels as though it is a small city in itself, rather than a neighborhood of a capital. It has a town square which comes alive at night with people playing guitar, little girls dancing, dogs being walked, people eating gelato and women selling giant balloons. People are friendly and we received many stares and smiles at Otto.
We stayed in an Air BnB right off the square. In fact our host had just gotten back from living for a few months in San Francisco! The first night we arrived late, showed up famished and Kevin was able to score a few tacos from a restaurant next door. I had the mushroom taco and Kevin and some type of meat. They reminded us of tacos from tacolicious in San Francisco. He bought bottles of water from a sketchy corner store and a bottle of wine.
Our only plan in Lima was to explore. We walked everywhere that first day. Its a small neighborhood but has a lot to see. There’s an ocean cliff walk that is actually a huge sidewalk but its an extremely long and steep downhill towards the beach. We were both surprised to see so many runners and people out exercising. We found a tiny bakery were Kevin and Otto shared empanadas and I had a latte.
Otto’s appetite was a little off. He only had eaten a little of the empanadas and we did not have a lot of his usual snacks (yogurt, bananas, etc). So we let it go too long and he became so hungry that he just wouldn’t stop crying. Luckily we found another small cafe where he had the best yogurt, honey and fruit of his life. Voila, he was happy again.
The murals, sculptures and flowers through the parks are really interesting. I felt like I was walking through an art museum. The buildings are so colorful. Barranco is just a pleasure to look at. Otto fell asleep at 12 in his stroller so Kevin and I used that time to find a brewery with wifi and catch up with emails etc and enjoy some of Chile’s crafty finest. It was decent but overpriced. Otto loved the dried corn when he woke up. That is everywhere!
Later that afternoon Otto and Kevin shared ceviche. We were concerned about the spiciness but Otto just kept eating! On our way back to the apartment we decided to try a Pisco Sour and found an outdoor cafe that had them 2×35. Yum! The place played sublime, had grass for Otto to run around and we made friends with a Dutchman and Ukranian who live in Lima and who shared their spicy potatoes with Otto.
We realized at this point we had blown our budget. So we went to the supermarket and got the goods to make a cheese and meat platter, some fruit, yogurt for Otto and another bottle of wine to enjoy later on the balcony.
The following day was more of the same. We had healthy pancakes and Indian eggs for breakfast. We took an uber to Miraflores to bring Otto to a playground. We were very happy we decided to stay in Barranco. We tried the cow heart delicacy, the donuts and ate a great sandwich at a little bodega. We also ended up getting gelato after I conveniently forgot about eating all the donuts.
Lima really has something for everyone. Trendy and high priced restaurants (2 of the top 10 restaurants in the world are in Lima), street food, uber, drip coffee, surf shops and friendly people. It has a lot of Chinese influence which is why Chifa shops are on every block.
I don’t know if it will be my favorite city on this trip but I am really glad we stayed. I said to Kevin, I could see us living in Barranco for a year. It seems like it could be really easy. Except we would really have to learn Spanish.