On the gringo trail in Peru, talking to other tourists, Lima gets the worst rap of all. It’s an over crowded capital city rife with petty crime and shitful drivers. I mean really shitful drivers, but I digress.
Strangely, it never rains in Lima – ever. It just kind of spits when it does. There’s only 3 months in the year when the sun does shine and the rest of the year it’s plain clouded and moggy. But is there anything to do? Well not hugely.
We stayed in a nice middle class suburb Mia Flores away from the hustle and bustle. It could be a suburb anywhere in the world, like Toorak in Melbourne, San Francisco who knows. There’s not a lot going on but it’s safe and there’s all the normal US style shopping malls etc.Â It’s a nice big warm fluffy comfort zone. Walk down to the JW Marriot Hotel and there’s a massive beach side plaza full of TGI Fridays style restaurants and fashion stores.
When we did venture into Lima proper, it was not the lawlessness and debauchery I expected. Typically for Peru, they have a Plaza De Armas, some great churches. If you’re lucky enough, you can see the changing of the guard at the government buildings, a la Buckingham Palace in UK. Despite all that, Lima isn’t gringo central and there are nowhere near as many street hawkers and crap merchants hassling you as in say Cusco. Wandering around the town centre, there’s a few very cool bookshops and plazas. Even the odd tapas and vino bar.
Sadly I didn’t spend too long in Lima. But the anxiety about being rolled or worse seemed unwarranted. If you go, keep your big city smarts on you and stay in one of the ritzier suburbs and you’ll be fine. Keep obvious tourists traits to yourself and take it all in.
Is it worth staying in Lima? Well Mia Flores is definitely the best place to wind down your holiday. Because you can have all the big city creature comforts yet it’s still foreign and interesting enough to amuse you. Especially after a Maccu Picchu trek, it’s worthwhile place to chill. But it’s definitely not a Peru highlight.