Driving the coastal route outside of Lima, you may feel like you’re just a few miles from the Westside of LA. Just like California’s highway one, Lima’s coastal road separates a sprawling city from the Pacific Ocean to the west. But instead of Malibu and Topanga’s point breaks, you’ll see Peruvian peaks teeming with long boarders. Lima’s closest surf break, aptly nicknamed ‘Waikiki Beach,’ is slow, forgiving and can hold the ‘German surfer’ type of crowd.
The pier in the Miraflores district of Lima is reminiscent of its counterpart in Malibu. Both hoist trendy restaurants just above a crowd of wetsuit-clad surfers, and are known for serving the best sundowners. But instead of kombucha-infused cocktails, the locals will be sipping Pisco Sours, a drink made from the indigenous Pisco grapes. Winding further south down the coastal route into Miraflores, you’ll be greeted by modernist white apartment buildings and wood-paneled juice bars. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we were back in California.
We didn’t have much money when we got into Miraflores, due to an unfortunate incident in Chancay the night before. We spent our first day wandering around the city, and successfully convinced a few art museums to let us in at the student rates. A few days later and after sorting out our money situation, we embarked on a celebratory food and beer tour. During our art and food expeditions, I found myself pointing out apartments I liked. We’ll see, I may come back here and settle down.
A Treasure Map for Miraflores and Barranca in Lima, Peru
We marked the spots of our favorite places around Miraflores and Barranco.
Our first stop on our walking tour was the contemporary art museum. Although there was only one exhibition open, we enjoyed reading about the local artists. Plus, admission was free. We saw event staff setting up for an evening concert featuring Donavon Frankenreiter. Check the event calendar on their website before visiting the museum.
Cost. Free or 10 soles per person, depending on the number of exhibitions open.
Galería Lucía de la Puente
This contemporary art gallery is across the street from a seaside urban park. We just walked right in, and weren’t asked to pay. The featured work was the kind that makes you feel sad about contemporary art. The kind that’s purely conceptual, and lacks any semblance of technical skill. The kind that is described in flowery terms, grossly overstating the significance of a few dots on canvas. But entrance is free and the exhibitions seem to change frequently.
Mario Testino, a world-renowned fashion photographer, founded the MATE in his hometown of Lima a few years ago. The gallery showcases his photographs, which stand out for their ability to capture the ultra-famous at their most intimate moments. Although I’ve always thought the high fashion industry to be comically extravagant, I have to admit I did enjoy his striking photography. Even though he did have Karlie Kloss (a European model) made up to look Asian, and—I kid you not— actually had her pose in front of the Great Wall.
The guest artist, Dr. Lakra, was incredible. He had all these intricate mini totem poles, consisting of a hodgepodge of Reese’s-eating aliens, religious icons and lone body parts.
Cost. 10 soles per person.
Cost for students. 5 soles per person with a student ID card. The docents told us showing them a school email inbox on your phone would also suffice.
A Walking Food Tour of Miraflores
Casa de Ceviche or Punto Picante
It’s not hard to find good ceviche in Peru, and this place with two names doesn’t disappoint. We accidentally ordered a giant plate of mussels filled with ceviche and were pretty satisfied with our mistake They add a bit of picante to their seafood dishes which balances the saltiness perfectly.
This old school themed sandwich joint usually has a line of patrons worked up during peak hours. Choose from a variety of sandwiches served on their ciabatta rolls: sliced roast beef, steak, or gravy-soaked chicken. Don’t forget to stipulate which sauces you want–you can have as many as you want. I always go for the weird ones, so I tried the olive sauce. They also have a great selection of juices and milkshakes. There’s a couple locations in Miraflores, but the original is next to Parque Kennedy. The line’s longer here, but the menu offers a superior selection.
Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar
Nuevo Mundo is one of the most popular breweries in Lima’s burgeoning craft beer scene. The Draft Bar is a small, second story tasting room slash restaurant across the street from Parque Kennedy. Founded by two Frenchman, the brewery offers a variety of styles that were previously difficult to find in Lima. On any given night, you can sample various Belgian’s, California style IPA’s, and Peruvian influenced stouts on draft. The Draft Bar also has guest taps from other Peruvian craft breweries like Sierra Andina and Del Valle.
Between cervezas you can munch on Nuevo Mundo’s take on traditional pub food á la wings and burgers. The staff is very welcoming and can help you pick the right beer without snobby disregard.