Life in Lima: Erotic Art, Pisco Sours & Dead Bodies

As the 5th largest city in South America you’d think Lima would get a little more respect. Before arriving in Peru’s capital, all I heard was that Lima is a boring pass-through metropolis that you could experience in 4 days on your way to Machu Picchu.

Not one to listen to other’s travel reviews, I decided to spend 3 weeks in the city to scratch the surface on my Peruvian townie mission: Learn to cook like a Peruvian chef.

While searching for cooking classes in Lima, I spent my time enjoying the coastline in Miraflores, scavenging through the massive street markets downtown, devouring traditional Peruvian dishes and I even taking the time to check out some pretty impressive historical stuff.

After almost a month in Lima, I can say with confidence that this is a city that I’d definitely like to spend more time in. The people are friendly, the food is delicious and I had a blast.

It just goes to show you that it’s up to you to define a place. Welcome the advice and suggestions but don’t let it impact your travel experiences.

When someone tells you they’re bored, it’s usually because they are boring.

Here are some visual highlights of what made Lima great for me…

Erotic Artifacts at the Larco Museum in Lima Peru
Dear Other Museums, Suck it. Love the Erotic Artifacts at the Larco Museum in Lima Peru

Larco Museum – As you all know by now I’m not usually a big museum buff, but the Larco Museum in Lima was definitely an exception. Not only due to their ridiculous amount of erotic artifacts, but also because they have an incredibly extensive collection of Inca and pre-Inca artifacts.

The Miraflores Coastline in Lima Peru
The Miraflores Coastline in Lima, Peru

Miraflores View – The Peruvian coastline in Lima is absolutely stunning. In Miraflores, the most wealthy district, The steep cliffs are topped with luxurious high-rises, the sky is filled with parasails and the water is packed with surfers. For a sure thing, take a date for a stroll along the coast at sunset.

Colorful Trinkets at the Markets in Lima Peru
Colorful Trinkets at the Markets in Lima, Peru

Markets – Lima has a ton of markets all across the city, from high-end artisen setups to sketchy downtown black markets where you can re-buy your stolen camera at a discount.

Pisco Sours at El Bolivarcito La Catedral del Pisco in Lima Peru
Crushing Pisco Sours at El Bolivarcito "La Catedral del Pisco" in Lima, Peru

Pisco – If you’re going to drink in Lima, there’s a strong chance you’re drinking Pisco. It’s strong and tasty and gives me a bad hangover. While I’m not going to get into the big Peru vs Chile Pisco battle, I will say that I enjoy Chilcanos (Pisco, Ginger Ale, Lemon) over Pisco Sours.

Plaza de Armas Lima Peru
Plaza de Armas in Lima, Peru

People Watching Points – Like most South American cities, plazas and parks are quintessential pieces of  latin culture. Lima understands the need to people hawk and they pack the city with beautiful landscapes to sit, watch and enjoy life. Favorite city parks/plazas: Plaza de Armas (above), main plaza in Barranco, Parque Kennedy in Miraflores and Parque Reserva downtown.

Decorating for Christmas in Lima Peru
Decorating for Christmas in Lima Peru

Holiday Spirit – I’m a big fan of big cities and big celebrations. Living in Buenos Aires was a little disappointing around the winter holidays because there wasn’t much excitement or effort put into christmas decorations. Lima does a much better job making you feel all warm and fussy even though they’re missing the snow.

The Caverns at the San Francisco Monastery in Lima Peru
I see dead people! At the Catacombs below the San Francisco Monastery in Lima

Dead People – So you’re not supposed to take pictures of the catacombs below the San Francisco Monastery in Lima, but I couldn’t help it… look at all these dead people! I guess the great thing about all these skeletons is the history behind the bones. There are over 25,000 buried bodies under this beautiful church.

Circuito Magico del Agua in Lima Peru
Circuito Magico del Agua in Lima, Peru

Water Fountains – If for some reason you can’t score at the sunset stroll along the Miraflores coast, take your date down to the magic water fountain and light show. It’s pretty impressive and all those eruptions will definitely get the juices flowing.

Fresh Seafood in Lima Peru
The Freshest Seafood in Lima Peru

Fresh Seafood – The Little Mermaid would hate Lima, Peru. There is a ton of fresh seafood. The above shot is taken from a local market where my cooking mentors took me to pick out ingredients for our lesson.

Traditional Peruvian Cuisine - Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp Stew)
Diving into Chupe de Camarones (that I helped make)

Peruvian Cuisine – It’s delicious, nutritious and I learned how to make some of it (like the chupe above). Much more on Peruvian Cuisine coming soon featuring a new video of me learning to cook 2 traditional Peruvian dishes on my quest to cook like a Peruvian chef.  Favorite Peruvian Eateries: Punto Azul for a traditional lunch and La Lucha for great sandwiches and smoothies.

New Friends in Lima
Party People in the Place to Be

Living People – A lot more fun than the people you find below the San Francisco church are the people living in Lima. I met some great new friends who showed me around the city like a local and introduced me to the Lima lifestyle. I also had the opportunity to attended my first Couch Surfing event, which proved to be a lot cooler than expected.

Thanks for the memories Lima, see ya soon.

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!


    1. I honestly had a great time and would definitely recommend getting to know the city, even if it’s only for the food!

  1. I am fond of places that have a significant past and Lima is one of them. Its a good thing that you found time to discover these places and shared it to us. Miraflores looks interesting and so colorful. If I were to tour Lima, how much would you think is the budget?

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  2. It’s so great to see a tourist experience the best of Peru – there is so much to learn and love from the locals, and most people just go to Machu Picchu and sit in the expensive restaurants around Miraflores! Great to see the photos of Circuito del Magico de Agua – one of the best (and definitely the best value for money) things to do in Lima, and the chupe soup is a cuisine highlight of Peru! Well done.

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