Day number 3 and I have 2 more excellent places to visit! The first is a very small area but well worth the stop for lunch and the second a day trip to escape the city.
I said in my previous posts, all of my recommendations are aimed at visitors to Lima and not to residents but it’s always nice to discover somewhere you haven’t been before even if it is in your own city!
Chinatown is located in the Cercado de Lima and is a great place to head for lunch or to shop for incense and stationery. When I go to Chinatown I love to stop for Chinese baked goods (pictured) which are available in the front of restaurants for take away. Also I like to buy a bag of really tasty,wrapped, chewy sweets called ‘white rabbit’ which are served with your bill in some restaurants. Buy a bag, you’ll want more!
There are plenty of options for places to eat from restaurants with menus, (Wa Lok is a great choice at Jiron Paruro 878) to all-you-can-eat buffets. Salon China in Calle Capon does a lunch buffet for around S/.30, with salads, appetizers including wontons and spring rolls, steamed buns, main dishes with different meats, veggies and rice, and all finished with a table of little desserts. After lunch stop by the indoor market with an entrance on Calle Capon (almost opposite Salon China) to buy incense (pictured), beads or little knick-knacks. Chinatown is also great for stationery, and you can buy sticker books and glitter for extremely cheap should you want to! Being an English teacher, I tend to get a lot of my supplies here!
My advice when coming to Chinatown is to get a safe taxi here, and stick to the pedestrianised Calle Capon starting from the Chinatown gate down to Jiron Paruro, and to the street Jiron Paruro between Calle Capon and Jiron Miro Quesada. These have a number of good restaurants and shops on and the little indoor market is tucked between the two streets, with entrances on both. Obviously feel free to explore further if you wish!!
If you can’t manage to get to Chinatown, there are many excellent Chifas and Chinese restaurants throughout Lima, even a couple of the restaurants in Chinatown have branches elsewhere. Wa Lok has a branch in Miraflores (I have only been to their Chinatown restaurant so I cannot advise on this branch) and San Joy Lao has branch in Surco on Camino Del Inca (I have visited here often and the duck and the wontons are excellent. I have not, however, been to their Chinatown branch).
NOTE: Be extremely careful in this area, as well as the rest of the Cercado de Lima, due to this area being popular with gangs of pickpockets. Do not bring anything you do not need to, do not bring valuables, jewellery or a lot of money, and keep an eye on your pockets and bags at all times. Sometimes it can be better not to bring a bag at all and do not use the back pockets of your trousers! I don’t want to worry you, I just want you to be aware.
Pachacamac is a perfect destination for a day trip outside the city. There is a sprawling archeological complex with views of the Pacific on one side and foothills of the Andes on the other, about 40km from the centre of Lima (about Km31 on the Pan Americana).
It is a complex of ruins, which started being constructed from around 200AD and is named after a hugely important god. Pachacamac translates from the Quechan language as ‘creator of the world’. (Peru this Week) Up until, and including, the Inca’s arrival, the complex has been added to by different cultures over the years.
The site contains temples, tombs and other adobe structures, and on some walls you can still see the original paintwork preserved (see picture below). There is also a museum at the entrance to the site which will give you more information about what you will be seeing, including giving you a history of the site, and allows you to see some of the artefacts too.
To get to the archeological site you will need to have transportation. Your hotel or tour operator should be able to help you get a safe taxi out there or perhaps a tour, although if you have a car already that’s perfect. It is a long walk round so wear something comfortable and take sunscreen and a hat, because even with grey skies the sun over Lima is very strong.
EXTRA: if you have time and the transportation there are good walking trails on the other side of the town. I have walked in the reserve of Lomas de Lúcumo and it has a beautiful walk, especially during Lima’s winter when the dust and rock is transformed into a lush green hillside, and it is not too challenging either. The website here will give you all the information you need.