On my most recent trip, my girlfriend and I ended up doing a Lima city tour. It was never part of the plan. My girlfriend and I got stranded in Eastern Canada for 5 days because of the poor airport management by Toronto Pearson. Out of desperation to find a way out of Eastern Canada and resume our trip to our intended destination of Chile, we found a flight going to Peru. We decided to take it because it was better than getting stuck in Eastern Canada and wasting our entire vacation time. My girlfriend and I ended up going to Lima during the most recent 2022-2023 Civil Unrest in Peru. Lucky for us, the unrest was isolated to small pockets in the countryside and the capital is completely safe for tourists to visit. We ended up staying two nights in Lima before continuing on our journey to Chile.
VIDEO – Lima City Tour – My Experience Exploring the Capital City of Peru
We booked our accommodation on booking.com with a company called Lima Airport Hostel. The hostel offered free airport pickup. Airport dropoff is not included and costs an additional 35 Soles.
I communicated with one of the staff working for the hostel for our airport pickup. His name is Coco and he used Whatsapp to coordinate with my girlfriend and me to get picked up.
We arrived at 4 am and felt dead tired so we passed out upon arrival at the hostel and waited until waking up before making any plans.
Lunch in Lima
Upon waking up, I contacted the owner of the hostel to see if he knows how we can book a city tour of Lima. Carlos, the owner, told us that he actually owned a tour company and we can book with him. He recommended the Lima City of Kings tour which costs $35 USD per person for half a day tour. We accepted his offer but asked him if we could grab something to eat beforehand.
Carlos happily grabbed my girlfriend and me and took us to eat “menu” which is a local style of lunch. We ended up eating with his super fit wife and daughter who loves Jurassic Park.
The food was amazing and consisted of an appetizer (soup or salad), an entree (chicken or beef), and dessert.
Lima city tour begins
After lunch, we started the city tour and proceeded towards the historical city center.
We started the tour by visiting a souvenir shop and trying some local liquor. Karen and I don’t normally buy souvenirs because we travel backpacker style and we try to travel as lightly as possible. We also don’t drink alcohol but we tried some of the local liquor. The pisco sour was our favourite.
After the souvenir store, Carlos took us to a guy where we exchanged our USD for Peruvian Soles.
Historical Center of Lima
Upon arriving in the historical center of Lima, we happily took many pictures and videos and soaked in the surroundings.
Our next stop located in the historical city center is the catacombs.
Catacombs of San Francisco de Asis Church
The Catacombs of San Francisco de Asis were a neat place to visit.
If anything, I thought it was funny that you’re not supposed to take pictures but no one really followed the rules and took pictures anyways.
Apparently, the catacombs are not real catacombs as explained to us by Carlos.
After exiting the catacombs, Carlos informed us that the area outside is not safe at night and he never goes there after it gets dark.
On our way back to the car, we took pictures with the local favourite roasted chicken.
The local police are pretty chill and are happy to take pictures with tourists.
We told Carlos we don’t remember if we tried Inca Cola before so he got us some to try.
Carlos was raving about how good Inca Cola was. It tastes like cream soda and it’s not my first choice of pop if I had to pick one. I know it’s sacrilege to say that because a lot of Peruvians love it but it’s way too sweet for my liking.
Our next destination is Huaca Pucllana which is an ancient ruin located within the city. Unfortunately, you can only look from the outside which makes it not so cool. I thought we would be able to go in and explore the place.
The Love Park
Our last stop is Love Park where many couples go for a date.
It also has a fantastic view of the Lima coastline. You can actually see people surfing here. According to Carlos, it’s not a comfortable beach because the ground is pebbly. It’s not the soft sand that people are used to on a typical beach.
Back to our accommodation and flying out
After the tour was finished, Carlos took us to a local chicken place to get takeout to eat at the accommodation. We said goodbye to Carlos after an interesting tour where I learned a lot about Lima.
The traffic to go to the airport was horrendous the next day. It’s even crazy that it took so long to get inside the airport even though the accommodation is right beside it. Traffic in Lima is no joke.
Going through the Lima airport went smoothly and before long, we were on our way to Chile.
What made the tour fantastic is learning from Carlos about Lima. Besides taking us to the sites, he also shared what life is like in the country and the struggle the locals have. He also shared the problem with the government and how Peru managed the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’d definitely go back and stay at his accommodation. And I can definitely see myself connecting through Lima in my future travel in South America.