T+L's Definitive Guide to Lima
In Peru's coastal capital, the art scene is thriving, new shops and hotels have opened, and local chefs are turning out some of the most exciting dishes in Latin America.
Lay of the Land
Barranco: This former summer colony of shaded plazas and Pacific overlooks is experiencing a revival as 19th-century town houses are transformed into art galleries and hotels.
Centro Histórico: A Spanish-colonial cathedral and old palaces surround the grand Plaza Mayor.
Chorrillos: A rustic fishing village on the urban outskirts, Chorrillos fronts a port where informal restaurants serve just-caught fish.
Miraflores: Lima’s tourist hub is filled with high-rises, upscale shopping malls, and star-chef restaurants.
San Isidro: Café culture and one-of-a-kind designer stores flourish in this downtown area.
Private taxis are the safest way to navigate Lima’s congested streets. Instead of paying one fare at a time, ask your hotel concierge to set you up with a driver for the day (about $50).
Here, the latest hotel arrivals—and long-standing favorites.
Hotel B: In a converted Belle Époque mansion in Barranco, this newcomer is a magnet for sophisticated Limeños, who come to sip pisco sours at the hotel bar under a colorful mural by Peruvian painter José Tola. The 17 airy guest rooms, some with soaking tubs, are done up in neutral tones and contemporary works curated by the adjacent gallery Lucía de la Puente. $$$
Belmond Miraflores Park: The landmark Belmond Miraflores, formerly Miraflores Park Plaza, just received a much-needed update. Surrounded by parkland, it has 82 spacious rooms with private balconies that face the Pacific Ocean. Come sunset, head to the rooftop infinity pool. Bonus: the city’s high-end shopping center, Larcomar, is a short walk away. $$
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores: One of the Casa Andina brand’s upscale boutique hotels, this 148-room property mixes modern accents—bold artwork; a palm-fringed indoor pool—with traditional touches such as wood-beam ceilings, locally made ceramics, and Peruvian music playing in the lobby lounge. $$$
JW Marriott Hotel: A gleaming glass tower designed by U.S.-based Arquitectonica, the JW Marriott has a covetable address on the Costa Verde bluffs. Rooms are decorated in gold, blue, and brown hues and almost all have water views. At lunch, locals gather at the light-filled La Vista Restaurant, where Peruvian and international specialties are served. $$
Second Home Peru: Peruvian artist VÍctor DelfÍn once lived in this Tudor-style manor in Barranco, and you can see his metal animal sculptures throughout the garden. The eight rooms are simple but comfortable, with blond-wood furniture and paintings by regional talents. There’s also a small lap pool and art gallery on the first floor. $
Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000
Our favorite boutiques for Peruvian-made wares.
Dédalo Arte y Artesanía: This Barranco town house turned gallery has modern sculpture, ceramics, tableware, and accessories by local artisans. Snap up a hand-stitched Purocorazón jaguar tote or felt collar choker by Vaçide Erda Zimic.
Giuliana Testino: Lima-born fashion photographer Mario Testino’s sister Giuliana shows sexy knit tops and crocheted dresses that go from beach to ballroom at her San Isidro atelier. 2132 Avda. del Ejército; 51-1/264-3874.
La Casa de Titi: Owner Cecilia “Titi” Guiulfo Zender champions traditional Andean textiles as well as progressive Limeño designers such as Sumy Kujon at her 18th-century hacienda in Chorrillos. Best bet: Guiulfo’s shawls made of baby-alpaca wool colored with natural dyes. by appointment.
Xocolatl: Locals indulge their sweet tooths at Giovanna Maggiolo’s experimental chocolate store in Miraflores. Maggiolo favors cacao from the Amazon for her velvety fruit cakes and butter cookies; candy bars are studded with pistachios, candied orange, or sea salt.
Four great art stops in the city.
MATE: Mario Testino’s contemporary cultural center in Barranco houses a large selection of his photography. Also on view: heavyweight talents such as Vik Muniz, Julian Schnabel, and Cindy Sherman.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo: Opened last year in a warehouse-like space, MAC is Lima’s newest art institution, with dance performances, lectures, and exhibitions by emerging Latin photographers such as Morfi Jiménez Mercado and Mario Silva.
Galería Delbarrio: Gallery director Gabriela Tineo has an eye for up-and-coming street artists, especially comic pop and graffiti-inspired works. Don’t miss the colorful pieces by Jorge Flores Najar and Alberto Lama.
Museo Larco: Set in a colonial mansion in Pueblo Libre, Museo Larco showcases a standout collection of pre-Columbian jewelry and ceremonial artifacts that span more than 5,000 years.
Where to dine in Lima now.
Astrid y Gastón Casa Moreyra: South America’s best-known chef, Gastón Acurio, recently relocated his flagship restaurant to a converted colonial hacienda in San Isidro, where guests can stroll through the newly planted gardens and sign up for culinary workshops. His 29-course tasting menu may include early harvest potatoes from the Andes and hairy crab with yellow chili pepper and sea urchin. Not hungry enough for the full meal? Grab a table in the informal La Barra tavern. $$$$
Central: In Miraflores, rising star Virgilio Martínez composes a multicourse lesson in biodiversity with ingredients such as cacao, chia, and maca root sourced from the Amazon. The freshwater fish arapaima, served with hearts of palm, is a signature. $$
El Mercado: Chef Rafael Osterling’s casual, covered patio in Miraflores is packed with boisterous Limeños grazing on seared-tuna sliders topped with miso and avocado. lunch only. $$
La Picantería: At his cheerful upscale version of a picantería (lunch spot) in Surquillo, chef Héctor Solís serves the kind of rustic northern Peruvian platters—causa potato; suckling pig—that are ideal for sharing. Order a chilcano (pisco, lime, ginger ale, and rose petals) to accompany the feast. $$
Maido: Japanese-Peruvian fusion, or Nikkei, is one of Lima’s most inventive melting-pot cuisines. Mitsuharu Tsumura highlights local seafood on his new-world menu—grilled octopus with botija olives and black quinoa; a ceviche with sea bass, clams, shrimp, and tobiko. Tip: skip the sake and ask for the Qollqe pisco instead. $$$
Peruvian Food Lexicon
With immigrant populations from places as far-ranging as Liguria, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan, Peru is filled with rich flavors. For the perfect introduction, wander through Surquillo Market (Paseo de la República at Narciso de la Colina)—and keep an eye out for...
Anticuchos Peppery, grilled beef-heart brochettes.
Chifa The Peruvian version of Chinese food, combining local cuisine with traditional Cantonese cooking.
Cuy Guinea pig. Yes, those furry little critters that are best barbecued.
Leche de tigre Tiger’s milk is the colloquial name for ceviche marinade.
Lomo saltado A delicious mash-up of sliced beef, onions, tomatoes, and peppers paired with french fries and rice.
Pisco sour The ubiquitous cocktail made with lime, egg white, and pisco brandy.
Tiradito Peruvian sashimi, often garnished with sweet potatoes and corn.
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
Three insiders share their top places in the city.
Chef at Central Restaurant
You can find amazing single-origin Peruvian coffees at Tostaduría Bisetti, in Barranco. The owner sources beans from the Amazon that are then roasted in the shop. Canta Rana (101 Génova; 51-1/247-7274) is a small, humble cevichería with a great selection of ceviches, including one made with avocado. Every Saturday, I head to the Bioferia organic market near Parque Reducto, in Miraflores. It’s full of products such as honey, chocolate, and olive oil from the best small producers across Peru.
Lucía de la Puente
Director and Owner of Galería Lucía de la Puente
One of my favorite designers is Meche Correa, in San Isidro, whose accessories (colorful handwoven shoulder bags; bull’s-horn cuffs) reflect Peruvian indigenous culture. Museo de Arte de Lima is one of Lima’s best museums. It features temporary exhibitions of sculpture and photography. On Avenida Almirante Miguel Grau, I like to shop at artist Alberto Casari’s contemporary design store, PPPP Design. I always find something there for my house.
My go-to restaurants in Lima are La Gloria ($$) for fresh seafood and chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s Malabar ($$). His menu incorporates hard-to-find ingredients from the jungle that inspired me to create my most recent jewelry collection. For shopping, I love the Peruvian folk art at Artesanías Las Pallas (212 Cajamarca; 51-1/477-4629). If you’re looking to spend an afternoon at the beach, head to Paracas or Punta Hermosa, just south of town.
Where to soak in Lima’s nightlife.
Ayahuasca Lima is tamer than Rio and Buenos Aires, but this Barranco nightclub is where you’ll see the hipster crowd sipping craft cocktails.
Avalon The futuristic three-story lounge with neon lighting hosts DJ’s and live music throughout the week.
Mayta A restaurant and bar, Mayta serves up more than 100 varieties of house-made chilcano pisco cocktails—perfect for hot summer nights.
Appeared as "T+L Decoder: Our Definitive Guide to Lima" T+L Magazine