We arrived in Lima around 10:30pm. We took a 15-minute, 13 soles taxi from the Cruz del Sur bus station to Backpackers Family House, our home for the night. We checked in to our double room with a shared bathroom ($32 per night on hostelworld.com) and then played a game of foosball (Katie won).
Our room was simple, containing a desk with a stool, bed, and some hooks to hang things on. However, the bed was pretty comfortable and had a nice fluffy comforter. There were two shared bathrooms on the second floor. One of these two was almost always open when we needed it.
We woke up around 8:30am, ate the provided breakfast of rolls, jam, butter, tea, coffee, and juice, and packed up our bags one last time. We left them in a common area at the hostel (the lockers are too small for any sort of significant backpack), played a couple of games of foosball (split 1-1) and went out to explore Lima for the day.
We started by walking a couple of blocks from our hostel to the beach. After enjoying the view for a while (including watching the early surfers), we went back to the hostel to inquire about how to get downtown. We were told we could walk to Arequipa street and then take a collective to close to Plaza San Martin in about 30 minutes for just 1.5 soles a person. We were told to listen for “todos Arequipa” being yelled from a bus. Along the way to Arequipa Street, we stopped by a grocery store to get some snacks – yogurt, fruit, plantain chips and pastries. We intentionally overshot Arequipa Street and went to the nearby post office to buy postage and mail postcards (6 soles each for postage to the US).
Once downtown, we did the Lonely Planet walking tour. Among other stops, we saw the Plaza de Armas and went inside the Lima Cathedral (10 soles per person). The Lima Cathedral was nicely presented, with guides available for a tip or a helpful, language-specific (we got English) information sheet available for free. Katie thought the catacombs were neat, as she had never seen anything like them before in a cathedral. The central market was also interesting, as it contained everything from dozens of shoe shops to dozens of stalls featuring dead chickens and pigs to a dozen or so juice shops. We also visited Lima’s small Chinatown district, where we got ice cream.
Around 4:30pm we took another collective back to the Miraflores area. Specifically, we got off the collective at Lacromar Mall and walked along the walkway at the top of the cliffs. We saw multiple parks, including the love park with the infinite embrace statue and another park with an old lighthouse.
Shortly after sunset we went to eat at Costazul, a great ceviche restaurant close to our hostel. The restaurant didn’t look like much from the outside, but the owner greeted us shortly after we arrived and told us what people generally like. We ordered a large order of seafood empanadas (35 soles) and a large order of sea bass ceviche (30 soles). JT also had a pisco sour (18 soles). The empanadas came with three delicious sauces – lemon, sweet, and guacamole. All three were absolutely delicious. Then the ceviche came out – it was served in little seashells with sea bass, onions, spices, and lemon juice mixed. This was also excellent. We finished our meal with a slice of tres leches cake (10 soles), and then our server gave us some free Anis shots. Overall, a great last meal in Peru!
After dinner we went back to Backpackers Family House, where we relaxed for 2.5 hours until we left for the airport at 11pm. JT used some of the extra soles we had to buy beer for himself (5s for 650 ml bottle) and juice for Katie (3s for 1 liter). The hostel made and served free (and strong!) pisco sours to everyone in the common areas around 9:30pm. By the time we left at 11pm, the hostel had gone through about 3.5 bottles of pisco – and there were only about 15-20 people drinking! Everyone was happy and the alcohol made it conducive for people to chat. JT met a guy from Frankfurt Germany, a gal from Barcelona Spain, a dude living in California now but from Idaho and more. One guy put on an impromptu concert using an instrument that looked like – and sounded like – an inverted-metal drum (think Caribbean beaches). Pretty cool night!
The hostel called us a taxi to pick us up at 11pm. The arranged fare was as expected: 55 soles. It was a nice Kia taxi with a well-dressed driver. Like most taxi drivers in Peru, he had little respect for the traffic laws, but we arrived safely to the airport in about 40 minutes.
It took forever to check-in for our Delta flight to Atlanta. One guy ahead of us took over 20 minutes to check in, while a girl in front of us still had to come back after taking 35 minutes at the desk. However, we eventually got our backpacks checked without a problem. Katie has been using the Cathy’s Cleaners dry cleaning bag as a protective cover for bus and plane transport. JT originally used a huge laundry bag to protect his bag, but we lost it in Cusco when we sent our dirty laundry to the laundry service in it. Hence, in Lima we bought a huge, durable, zipper-close transport bag for 7 soles at the local market – cheaper than wrapping the bag with cellophane at the airport just once!
Once we cleared security (a pain in the butt this time due to the miniscule amount of metal in JT’s shoes setting off the metal detector), our goal was to spend the remaining 20.50 soles ($7-8) in change we had left. Unfortunately, nothing was sensibly priced – even magnets were 29.95 soles. So, we kept the coins ‘for next time’.
We both fell asleep on the plane to Atlanta before take-off (maybe before we even pushed back) and did not wake up until the first forced-upon-you meal service (around 2:30 am?), which was a chicken and cheese sandwich with a chocolate wafer. We quickly fell back asleep until the next meal service, which was fruit, a croissant and either an omelet or french toast. Katie did not sleep great though, as there was a little kid in the seat behind her that kept hitting the touch screen in the back of her seat unnecessary hard. JT woke up on and off and didn’t feel like he got enough sleep between meal services.
Our room at Backpackers Family House in Miraflores
The Pacific Ocean, only a few blocks from Backpackers Family House.
Walking on a sidewalk in the middle of the road in Miraflores.
On the Arequipa street collective
The collective’s driver reading the newspaper at a stoplight
Lima’s Plaza de Armas
Inside the Lima Cathedral
Brightly colored homes in a district near Lima
The meat section in Lima’s Central Market
A young boy temporarily manning a drink stand outside the Central Market (where JT bought a bag that is similar to the blue one at the bottom of this picture to protect his backpack on the flight home).
Lima’s Plaza de Armas
It seemed like they were setting up a 10K run in the Miraflores area.
Pacific Ocean views in Miraflores
The famous ‘Infinite Embrace’ in the Love Park
Lighthouse in a park near the Love Park
Sea bass ceviche at Costazul
Tres leches cake at Costazul
Dining area at Costazul
Departures board at the Lima airport