Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








I’m not sure why but I was a bit apprehensive about coming to Peru. I think it was because although I had done my research I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got there. Would I like it? Would I regret my decision to come here? Those questions would be answered quickly once I finally got to Lima.

My flight out of Houston was delayed for 3 and half hours due to mechanical difficulties with the plane so instead of arriving in Lima at 11 PM it was 2:30 AM when I got here. I breezed through customs, picked up my bags, and headed out to the airport lobby where I grabbed some soles from the bank machine. I had thought about arranging for the hotel to have someone pick me up at the airport but instead opted just to take a cab from the airport. The cabs from the airport are expensive. They charge $28 US for the 15 minute ride to Miraflores. That was the bad part. The good part is that the cab driver spoke English well so the ride was enjoyable. I had him stop at a convenience store so I could grab some bottled water and I learned my first lesson about Peru. Water is sold as either “sin gas” or “con gas” so you need to pay attention to what bottles of water that you grab. The water con gas is like club soda. Being blerry-eyed at 3 AM I didn’t notice that but my driver was nice enough to point out the difference so I got what I wanted.

We arrived at my hotel, the Residencial Las Americas, around 3:30 AM. My driver Hector gave me his number for future use and was on his way. As with all things new to me I was nervous about the hotel. I booked it online using go2peru.com and had reserved a suite for $50/night. This deal seemed too good to be true considering the price on the hotels website is $109/night. It should be noted that $50/night is still “expensive” for Lima where you can find many places for under $20/night. I checked in and headed up to my room on the 10th floor. The room was more than I expected. It had a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and a bathroom and was far larger than I imagined. A room like this in Las Vegas would easily be $300/night but this isn’t Vegas. (It’s much better) I unpacked my things and finally settled into bed around 4:30 AM.

The currency in Peru is the neuvo sole (new sun) and the exchange rate while I was there was around 3.25 soles to $1 US. US dollars are accepted everywhere but I find it easier to use the local currency when travelling abroad. Most ATM machines dispense either US dollars or soles so there is no reason to bring much cash with you. My ATM card worked everywhere with the exception of ScotiaBank. There are money changers everywhere in Lima if you don't want to use a bank machine. They are hard to miss since they wear smocks with big $ signs on them. Personally, I never used one but I understand that they don't charge much for their services. The paper money is slightly smaller in size than US currency and the coins can be a bit confusing. There are 1, 2, and 5 sole coins as well as 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 centimo coins. The 2 and 5 sole coins look identical except that the 5 sole coin is slightly larger than the 2. Since most cab rides are under 10 soles you tend to use these a lot. Trying to tell the difference between the 2 at night in a dark cab is difficult to say the least...



View From My Hotel

El Commercio

Neuvos Soles

Soles Are Small

Some Coins

Soccer Field Across The Street
I awoke on Saturday around 10 AM and decided to walk around and get my bearings on the city. Miraflores is a fabulous area of town. It’s clean, it’s safe, and there are hundreds of shops, restaurants, parks, etc. within a 5-minute walk from the hotel. After cruising around for a while I decided to head to the ocean. Across the street from the Marriot on a cliff overlooking the Pacific is a small mall (Larco Mar) with some shops and restaurants. I decided to eat lunch there, enjoy the ocean views, and watch the parasailers glide over the ocean.

As you can see from the sign in the picture below, many of the parks in Lima have free wireless internet access. If the parks had power outlets I would have worked there during the day since the weather was perfect. I don't know how much work I would have gotten done, however, since another beautiful woman walks by every 30 seconds or so.



View From My Hotel

Parque Kennedy

Parque Kennedy

Free Wireless In The Park

Local Church

The "Mirabus"
Larco Mar is probably one of the most photographed places in Lima and for good reason. Simply put, it's beautiful. The mall is very nice albeit high-priced. The views from the restaurants are fabulous. The waters were calm while I was there but from what I understand the waves get quite large and surfing is very popular here. Larco Mar is also a popular spot for parasailing.


Pacific Coast

Parasailing

Larco Mar

The Beach

Parasailing

Parasailing

The Beach

The Beach

Larco Mar

Nice View

Nice View

Larco Mar Plaza
The pictures below are from random spots around Miraflores. I have to say I walked EVERYWHERE in Miraflores, San Isidro, and Lince and didn't have a single problem even at night. I walk a lot wherever I go but usually only during the day and only in certain neighborhoods. After a couple of days in Lima I felt no danger whatsoever. I was still careful but I never once had a concern for my safety. One thing I didn't do in Lima was ride the bus. The bus system is private and confusing. Every bus has a guy on it that hangs out the door yelling at you as they drive by trying to get you to take their bus. From what I understand they are cheap and reliable but I took a pass on them this trip.

Pizza Alley was right across the street from my hotel. It's a pedestrian walkway that is lined with restaurants, discos, and bars. This place hops until 4 or 5 in the morning every night of the week.



Lima Busses

Pizza Alley

Pizza Alley

Marriot Plaza

Marriot Plaza

Money Changers

Miraflores

Miraflores

Lima Lion
Every meal I had in Lima wasn't just served to me, it was presented to me. My burrito and coke in the photo below cost a total of 9 soles or just under $3 yet the meal was still prepared with style. I found that to be the case everywhere I ate in Lima. At more than 1 place the food looked so perfect when it arrived that I felt guilty messing it up by eating it. Well, not that guilty...


Even Diet Coke Is Fancy Here

$3 Lunch


Click Here For Lima At Night


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