Lima, Peru (31 December – 5 January)

We landed Lima on the evening of the last day of the year 2018. We had an Airbnb place booked for several days. We lived with a family who had an apartment in the skyscraper which had a rooftop with a pool and grill area. Although our room itself was rather tiny then the view from the room and rooftop was quite enjoyable.

Since we were quite hungry, we went hunting for the food to a nearby restaurant. This restaurant surprised us with delicious food and huge portions. Anyone traveling to Peru will experience that this is a South American food meka. We loaded our stomachs full and went to grab some drinks from the groceries and went to the rooftop waiting for the fireworks.

Already 1 hour before midnight some of the fireworks started. At first, it was just us but the closer to midnight more and more people gathered and the party got started. We had never seen fireworks that closely before because all the fireworks which were shot from the ground reached the level of the rooftop. At some point, it even looked a bit dangerous. Some kids were throwing fireworks down from the rooftop and we wondered if we did close the window of our room :S

A few years back we spent new years eve in Dubai where we experienced one of the world’s most expensive fireworks which were a coordinated show of lights and fireworks. Now we were surrounded by the fireworks and it was just a huge uncoordinated show but somehow it was very enjoyable and special. We also noticed that people were making bonfires in the middle of the streets.

So we stayed in Lima for 5 days. Some of the time we just rested and worked with our blog but we also had time to play tourists. We took a local bus to the old town. Lima is a huge city and from our accommodation to the downtown, it took almost 2 hours. But the ride itself was quite an adventure – it’s the best way to get a true understanding of local people everyday life. From time to time there were local musicians joining the ride and started to sing trying to ear some little money with it. Thereby our ride was quite vivid.

Lima old town is beautiful and with a lot of churches and palaces from Spanish time. First, we walked to the Plaza de Armas. From our experience, this is how the main square is called in each city in Peru. We noticed immediately that there is some kind of event going on. We didn’t quite understand what it was but then we saw a bunch of heavily armored policemen running and we assumed it must be some kind of protest. We asked from nearby family what is happening and they said it’s a protest march against current mayor. They advised us to move away from the square before the police use the tear gas.

We moved on to the next sights but since we did not want to spend all day observing architecture which we have already done enough in most of the city’s which we visit then we did not spend too much time there anymore. Moving away from the old town we stepped by from few of the souvenir shops where we fell in love with the local handicraft sweaters and hats made of alpaca wool. The prices were remarkably cheap and so we bought an alpaca wool hat to Kaija for less than 10 euros.

Besides the old town, we heard one of the top sights in Lima is the Magic Water Circuit which is a park of the fountains featuring a light and water show. We made it to the park quite early so we had a few hours’ time til the dark when the light show started. We used this time to admire all the fountains and there was plenty of them. Our favorite was the so-called water gate where one can walk through or under.

There were many families with kids and seemed that they had come so the kids could just have fun playing in the fountain area meant just for the kids – it was like a water park for them.

When it was getting dark it was also getting colder so Kaija could test her new hat immediately. Since we arrived early we could choose the best places for the upcoming light show. Long waiting was worth it and the show was impressive. It was not just a random light show but part of the show was like a movie displayed on the wall of the mist of the water and telling a story abount the history of Peru. We enjoyed every moment of it and could not wonder that entrance cost about 1 euro per face (4 soles) We also noticed that in Expedia and other portals ask more than 25 USD for the tour which seems like a robbery because going there by your own is almost free.

It also worth mentioning that transport in Peru and Lima is very cheap. Moving around with the public transport around 1 euro. Taxi is also cheap but drivers try to charge more whenever they see opportunity because taxis do not run with a meter. We preferred Uber which was much cheaper and more reliable.

We also found time to visit the Lima zoo. We decided to go there because there are also antique ruins and we expected to have a 2 in 1 experience. The zoo was huge and we were positively surprised how much room there was for each animal. There was also a botanic garden, parrot house, and butterfly house. For the first time, we saw a giraffe. We did not saw many tourists and it seems that this place is well-kept secret of the locals 😊

During our stay in Lima, we enjoyed incredible food every day. Jaanus also tried local delicacy the ceviche. Since Kaija doesn’t eat raw fish then she skipped this dish. Besides the fish, Peru is a soup country. There are all sorts of them and our favorite is chicken soup which you can buy from absolutely every place.

4th of January was Jaanus birthday and an evening before this we had a pre-party at the rooftop. One interesting incident when we tried to buy some local beer from the groceries it turned out that it is only possible to buy this particular beer in return of empty tare. It remained a mystery to us where I get an empty tare without first buying the beer… So we had to choose some other brand, but still local but this was more expensive. Anyway, the rooftop party was great and we could enjoy the sunset in the pool.

By checking the bank account we noticed that Jaanus has some birthday money sent by the family – without a doubt we went shopping. This is something which we have not done lately considering our low budget. We made a good investment and bought proper hiking pants for the upcoming hikes in Machu Picchu and Patagonia. The Columbia pants we bought are warm, windproof, water resistant, quick dry and can be made to shots by unzipping the leggings.

In Lima, there are several world-class restaurants. So for the Jaanus’ birthday present we also visited one of those. Since we did not make it to Amazon jungle this time we visited a restaurant called Amaz to have an Amazon food experience. Nine-course degustation menu included hot and cold ceviche, rise boiled in banana leaves, wild boar meat, sorbet made of all sort of exotic fruits and many other interesting dishes. Portions were big and they packed the leftovers for us. We were very satisfied with the choice of the restaurant and it is definitely worth the visit when you are in Lima.

In the evening we walked in Miraflores which is probably the most famous district in Lima. There you can walk in parks and enjoy beautiful views to the sea and beach. We enjoyed this among Margarita cocktail.

On the fifth day in Lima, we took a bus to Cusco. It was a 20-hour bus ride. We must say it was not very pleasant. We did not book with the most expensive company either so maybe with some other company, the experience would have been better. Luckily, we got some dinner and breakfast on the bus, but a cockroach in the bread was not a very delicious surprise. The road to Cusco was quite curvy and due to high altitude, we did not feel particularly good. We still made it to Cusco in one piece and made a pact that we are not taking that long bus rides anymore.

To sum up Lima surprised us with cheap prices and good food. Weather was nicely warm and not too hot which was nice for the while.

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