Our next stop after Huaraz was Lima, the Peruvian capital. We had booked ourselves a shared room at a hostel in Miraflores, but unfortunately because Dan came down with a nasty bug in Huaraz we had to push our booking by a few days. I had emailed the hostel to request a date change, but unfortunately I received no response from them, so we boarded our bus at the station in Huaraz feeling a little concerned that we might no longer have a booking. However, as the bus was due to arrive at about 5pm we thought it wouldn’t be that much of an issue – even if our hostel didn’t have a room for us, it was still early enough for us to find somewhere else to stay.
But of course, we hadn’t considered the fact that this was a Peruvian bus journey, so obviously we were never going to arrive on time. First we made an hour long stop for lunch, where much to our annoyance they made us get off the bus (we had brought our own food so would have much rather waited on the bus rather than outside in the blazing sunshine) and wait while the two drivers went into a restaurant for a sit down meal. Funnily enough, it was all the gringos who were stuck waiting outside as all of us had brought our own food for the journey!
Then we arrived on the outskirts of Lima just in time for rush hour traffic. As our scheduled 5pm arrival time came and went, our concerns about our hostel reservation started to grow. By the time we finally pulled into the bus station at around 8.30pm we were all feeling pretty dejected, especially as we still had a half hour taxi ride across town to get to our destination. Suddenly Dan had a burst of inspiration, and quickly went into the terminal to use the wifi while Michelle and I retrieved the bags. He came back with a huge grin on his face – there was a room available at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Miraflores, which he had just booked for us using his hotel points. A free stay at a nice hotel! It was music to our ears and exactly what we needed to hear in that moment.
We arrived at the hotel by taxi a little while later, where we were sat down and treated to free champagne as our bags were put on a trolley. The concierge was even kind enough to let Michelle join us in the room for free – usually there is a charge for extra guests. We were then shown to our room and ordered some room service, marveling at the readily available hot water in the shower and huge comfy beds while we waited for our food to arrive. It was a perfect first night in the city, and exactly what we needed after Dan being unwell in Huaraz and our super long bus journey.
The next day we went out on a free walking tour of the city. After our somewhat disastrous walking tour experience in Cuenca we all felt a little apprehensive, but luckily we had a much more pleasant experience in Lima! We booked a tour with Free Walking Tour Peru, a company that runs tours in Lima, Arequipa and Cusco, and the tour itself includes free coffee, pisco (the signature liquor of Peru) and craft beer tastings, plus a special discount at a local restaurant for lunch afterwards. It was a good tour overall and we got to see a lot of the city, but the extremely large group size made it difficult at times, especially when we all had to get the very busy metro from Miraflores to the centre of town.
On our second day we went for a walk along the waterfront, which has been transformed by an array of shops and restaurants, and stopped at the incredible La Lucha for lunch. La Lucha is a Peruvian fast food sandwich chain, and the sandwiches there are not to be missed – I tried the chicken and pineapple sandwich, while Dan had pork, red onion and sweet potato.
The following day we were catching an overnight bus to Arequipa, but we couldn’t leave Lima without trying some ceviche at the infamous La Casa Del Ceviche in Miraflores. The portions here are huge and delicious, and we were lucky to get a table – shortly after our arrival the place was completely packed. Michelle and I tried the langoustine ceviche, while Dan had a mixed plate that included black mussels and several other different types of fish. All of our food was so tasty – but as the plates were so huge, after a while the distinctive flavour got a little overwhelming and none of us manage to finish our meals. For anyone thinking of visiting we recommend sharing plates, unless you’re very hungry and absolutely love ceviche!
Although we only had a brief stay in Lima we all enjoyed our visit, and agreed that it would be a great place to live for a few months if you wanted to stay somewhere in South America for a while. Dan and I would certainly like to go back at some point! However our Machu Picchu booking was drawing ever closer, so it was time for us to move on to our next stop: Arequipa.