Sleeping on the heating mat really helped me. My fatigue was pretty much gone and felt like I was ready to travel around. I didn’t think I was going to be able to walk around for breakfast on the first day so I had asked for breakfast. My first meal in Lima. Korean food. But it was really good Korea good. The owner of the hostel was a great chef. There were about 6 side dishes, including a meat dish, and soup and rice. Perfect Korean breakfast.
After breakfast, I walked to the main street, Av. Jose Pardo to exchange USD to Sol. The owner told me that there are several money exchange places on that street so I went to check them out. The walk wasn’t too bad and I felt very safe. There were lots of people on the streets, tourists and locals.
After walking for several minutes, I found 4 money exchange places, all next to each other. I ended up going to Western Union because it was something I was familiar with and all the stores around it had the same rate. The rate I was given was 3.3 Sol to 1 USD. At the airport, it was 3 Sol to 1 USD so I was getting some more.
After the money exchange, I met up with a friend and planned on getting some local foods. We both wanted to try the ceviche and I really wanted to try Chez Wong‘s restaurant because Anthony Bordain had recommended it. We took an Uber to the location was it was closed until 1pm. We decided to walk around the area and wait. We walked to the local market, Mercado Cooperativo Balconcillo. It wasn’t a super big market but it had all the essentials. Fruits, veggies, meats, fish, flowers, clothes, toys, and more. They had small food stalls for chicken soup, sandwiches, fresh fruit juice, and desserts.
My friend really wanted to try the fried dough. This was the only food stall that had a long line. So we got in line and tried it out. We really wanted to save our belly for the ceviche so we asked for 2. Or we used are fingers to say 2. As in 2 pieces. But we ended up getting 2 soles worth of it, about 12 pieces. They were pretty good and very filling. We also got some guava and eat it while walking around the area.
At 1pm, we walked back to the restaurant, only to find out they don’t take walk in customers at all! Only reservation. When we got there, the restaurant was completely empty but still no. We were so sad but had to move on. Anthony Bordain, I will be back again to try your recommendation.
While walking down the street and talking about what to do, we found another ceviche restaurant called Puro Tumbes. The restaurant was bustling with people so we checked the Google reviews and found it had great rating so we decided to check it out. And what a great choice! Their menu was pretty extensive. They don’t have an English menu but there are lots of pictures that can help. We ended up getting the Ceviche Nando (mix) and Picante de langostinos.
Everything on the ceviche was great. The octopus and the fish were my favorites. The flavors are on point with the lemon and herbs. And I thought the langostinos would be spicy but it wasn’t. I saw picante = hot, but it was more… 5/10 spicy level, closer to curry. It paired perfectly with rice. It was on the pricier side but still cheap using US standards. It was a great first meal for both me and my friend.
After the meal, we Uber-ed to Historic Lima, the Old Town. From my list, I knew I wanted to see the Basillica y Convento de San Francisco (catacomb), Palacio de Gobierno del Peru, Catedral de Lima, Plaza de Armas, and Santa Domingo Priory. One great thing is that these are all walking distance from each other and there are a lot of other things to see around here.
I really wanted to see the catacomb since I’ve never seen one before but there was a huge line when we got there. I believe a tour company came with a large group and I couldn’t even get to the ticket booth. We had gotten to Old Town later than I expected so I had to pass on seeing catacombs 😦 We took pictures in front of Basillica y Convento de San Francisco and walked over to Plaza de Armas. The street leading to the Plaza was really pretty. There were lots of old architecture with iron work and small shops and cafes to visit.
We ended up doing a quick visit to the choco museum and grabbing some chocolate dessert. We walked to the front of the Catedral de Lima, sat on the stairs, ate our chocolate dessert, and people watched everyone visiting the Plaza. It was so peaceful. I heard Old Town could be dangerous but there were so many people here, including guards and police everywhere. I was carrying both the camera and my phone and I still felt very safe. Of course, this is during when the sun was still up. It may be different during the night.
After seeing the other buildings nears the Plaza, we moved to Santa Domingo Priory and it was so pretty! Pink! I was satisfied with just taking pictures from the outside and I didn’t even know there was a tour. But when we got inside, the tour guide told me that he was going to do the last tour in English so I was sold. The entrance was 10 soles and the tour would be of the Bell Tower and the museum. It is 100% worth it! The Bell Tower provides an amazing aerial view of the city and also there is a lot to see inside. The garden, the library, the tower, the cloister, and more. Come early to see all the museum as to offer.
Old Town was so beautiful and full of charm. I didn’t get to see everything in the area but what I saw was amazing. I do wish I could have spent more time at each location rather than just stop and go. I would recommend a full day or even seeing it for 2 days if you have time.