Live it up in Lima: What to Eat, Where to Go, and What to See

Peru’s capital city is a mix of ancient ruins, stunning art, and, yes, plenty of pisco.
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AC Lima Hotel

A waterfront reprieve from the bustle of Peru’s biggest city, this Marriot property in Miraflores is ideally located right next to El Malecón, the city's seafront strip lined with shops, sculptures and scenic views of the Pacific Coast. Speaking of breathtaking views, the hotel boasts some of Lima's best at its Insumo Rooftop, where you can take in the sunset and a pisco sour (or dos) before tucking into your sleek guest room, equipped with the most essential of modern luxuries (rainfall showers, Netflix).

Museo Larco. Photo: Christina Izzo

Museo Larco. Photo: Christina Izzo

Museo Larco

There are few prettier places to delve into ancient Peruvian history than this privately-owned museum in the Pueblo Libro District. Housed in an 18-century vice-royal building, the museum is as worthy of a visit for its lush, bloom-filled gardens as it is for the 5,000 years of pre-Columbian art on display, from beautiful ceramic pottery to ornate gold chest plates.

El Cacaotal
When it comes to great chocolate, go straight to the source: cacao. And you don’t get a much purer source of the stuff than Peru. This “edible library” in Lima’s trendy Barranco neighborhood showcases the best of the country’s bean-to-bar chocolate producers. You can partake in tasting classes led by owner A.J. Wildey, who will trace the roots of Peruvian cacao, teach you how to seek out ethical cacao companies, and guide you in stocking up on seriously delicious souvenirs.

Fried fish at Isolina Taberna Peruana. Photo: Christina Izzo

Fried fish at Isolina Taberna Peruana. Photo: Christina Izzo

Isolina Taberna Peruana

As close to home cooking as you can get in Lima without going to your madre’s house, this rustic restaurant from chef José del Castillo resurrects the traditions of an old-school Peruvian tavern, and is fittingly named after his own mother, Isolina Vargas. Enjoy hearty comfort foods (papa rellena, tripe stew) served in a two-story renovated grand home from 1906.

Central Restaurante
The culinary scene in Lima is world-class and nowhere is that more apparent than the flagship dining room of Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, which clocked in at number six on this year’s World’s Best Restaurants list, the highest showing from any restaurant in Latin America. Sourcing from the Amazon to the Andes, the kitchen melds indigenous Peruvian ingredients with modern technique for its tasting menu, resulting in edible stunners like crispy piranha skin perched on a bowl made of frozen fish heads.

Huaca Pucllana. Photo: Christina Izzo

Huaca Pucllana. Photo: Christina Izzo

Huaca Pucllana
It’s a welcome surprise to find this pre-Incan pyramid towering among the picturesque parks and great shopping of Lima’s modern Miraflores District. Made of adobe and clay and dating back to the 5th century AD, the well-preserved ruins once served as a gathering space to host ceremonies and meetings for Inca precursors, including the Lima and Wari cultures. After a guided tour of the complex, take to the on-site restaurant for some sophisticated Peruvian eats.

Dedalo Arte

Looking for a perfectly unique gift to bring home for family and friends after your Peruvian adventures? Set inside a colonial mansion, this eclectic gallery-store is a seemingly never-ending labyrinth of home goods, handmade jewelry, haute knitwear and high-end art from local designers and artisans. With all of these cool finds, you definitely won’t be left scrounging around airport shops for a last-minute present!