Lima’s Top 5 Neighborhoods

The Top 5 Neighborhoods of Lima, Peru

By Walker Dawson

Lima is intimidating at first glance. It’s gigantic, noisy, and crowded; understandably most travelers want to leave the second they arrive. But if you know where to go and what to see, Lima can be one of South America’s best kept secrets. Let Breaking Borders take you through our top 5 favorite neighborhoods of Lima.


#5 Pueblo Libre

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Pueblo Libre’s backstreets at night.

Pueblo Libre is an up and coming middle class neighborhood located a few miles west of downtown. The neighborhood is centered around Plaza Bolivar, with numerous lively bars and restaurants around it. A Limeño classic is Antigua Taberna Queirolo, a 135 year old bar that’s famous for it’s pisco sour with ginger ale and it’s old world charms. This is a great neighborhood for a night out on the town with Peru’s bohemian middle class. The famous Museo Larco and the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, both featuring pre-Columbian art and artifacts, are located in the neighborhood as well.


#4 La Victoria

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Classic Ceviche from Barra Cevichera Jose y Juanita in La Victoria made with raw corvina (sea bass) marinated in key lime and served with corn and sweet potato.

At first glance, La Victoria seems sketchy and run down, but give it a chance and you can find some truly authentic Limeño experiences here. La Victoria is one of the easiest places in Lima to get inexpensive ceviche. In the blocks surrounding the massive Polvos Azules market, street stands serve up some of the most delicious ceviche for as little as $3 USD. A man named Jose has upgraded his street cart to a restaurant, turning a rough corner of La Victoria into a foodie mecca. Barra Cevichera Jose y Juanita offers some of the freshest and spiciest food at bargain prices, it’s a must. Also located in La Victoria is Gamarra, a giant section of the city that has been turned into an open air market. Play it safe in La Victoria and you might find yourself returning again and again.


#3 Miraflores

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Miraflores is one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Lima, and is filled with an array of great restaurants, bookstores and ocean views.

Miraflores is the most touristy neighborhood in Lima. It’s a nondescript, upscale shopping district. With that being said there are some great things to see and do. No lunch in Miraflores is complete until you’ve eaten at El Enano, a Miami style outdoor sandwich shop which serves up incredible toasted Chicharrón sandwiches with a jar of fresh juice. Chicharrón sandwiches are made with chunks of fried pork shoulder, red onions, and slices of sweet potato with a Peruvian salsa on a crispy french roll. La Lucha Sanguicheria right next to Plaza Kennedy also serves up a mean Chicharrón sandwich. The sweet chicha morada drink is a great compliment. Chicha morada is a traditional Peruvian drink made from blue corn with pineapple, cinnamon, clove, and sugar. Monolo’s is a Miraflores classic, where old men discuss life and politics over espressos and warm, dulce de leche filled churros. A few blocks away is El Virrey, a modern bookstore that would be right at home on Rodeo Drive, where you could easily spend an afternoon browsing over books. Ultimately, Miraflores is about the Pacific Ocean. Spend some time strolling along the cliff banks at sunset and you might begin to consider moving to Lima.

Manolo's is a classic spot in Miraflores that has been serving up tasty sandwiches and churros since 1968. The crispy, sugary churros comes in three flavors, manjar blanco, chocolate and crema pastelera. They are all delicious, so get all three!
The crispy,sugary churros comes in three flavors, manjar blanco, chocolate and crema pastelera. They are all delicious, so get all three!

#2 Centro/Barrio Chino

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Lima’s Plaza de Armas lit up at night. Many of the buildings surrounding the plaza were built over 400 years ago during the rule of the Spanish.

Centro is the beating heart of old Lima. While many of the big businesses fled to Miraflores decades ago, Centro has an energy unmatched anywhere in the city. Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin anchor Centro, with the former containing government buildings, beautiful architecture and plenty of history. Be sure to poke your head inside Galería Municipal de Arte Pancho Fierro for cutting edge contemporary art and photography exhibitions highlighting local Limeño artists, great stuff. Following Lima’s main pedestrian street, Jiron de la Union, you end up in Plaza San Martin, a Parisian style plaza where political rallies usually taking place. Many say the famous pisco sour was invented at El Bolivarcito, it would be a shame to miss it.

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The backstreets of Centro come alive with traditional costumes and contemporary graffiti.

However, the most interesting area of Centro is Quilca, a long street with old school bars, graffiti covered walls, underground punk venues and character-filled record shops and more radical bookstores than you can count. Start off your Quilca adventure with a drink and some food at Bar Queirolo, a place where college students and political activists rub shoulders and discuss the worlds problems. In a somewhat conservative city, Quillca shows Lima’s more radical and underground side. Another part of Centro worth visiting is Barrio Chino, Lima’s 170 year old Chinatown.


#1 Barranco

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Street art adorns the walls of Barranco.

Ah, Barrnaco! This is one of the coolest neighborhoods not only in Peru, but in all of South America. Once home to the famous Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Barranco is a wonderful neighborhood full of cobblestoned streets, beautiful ocean views, and sophisticated restaurants experimenting with Peru’s new gastronomic boom. Barranco is a little slice of the Mediterranean in the heart of Lima, No trip to Peru would be complete without spending a day and night here. Start off the morning at Bisettis, a cool cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in the Mission District or Williamsburg. Have lunch at El Chinito, quite possibly the best Chicharrón sandwich shop in Lima. For dinner try Burrito Bar, a British owned Mexican restaurant which serves up tasty tacos and burritos; it’s surprisingly delicious. However, if you’ve come to Peru to spend some money on food, your money would be very well spent in one of the more upscale restaurants. To finish the night off head to Ayahuasca Bar, which was once a Barranco mansion and now has been turned into a labyrinth of different bars and lounges, with each room out-styling the next. This is where Lima’s rich and fabulous come to play, and a night out here is guaranteed to be a good time. Try one of the Ayahusca sours, which contain mashed coca leaves from the high Andes mixed with tropical fruits from the Amazon.

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Ayahuasca is an upscale bar in an old converted mansion in Barranco.

 

Lima: South America’s Culinary Capital (Pictures)

South America’s Culinary Gem

by Walker Dawson


In the eyes of foreigners, Lima often plays second fiddle to Cusco. Sure it has horrendous traffic, and it’s unsafe in parts, but most Limeños (people from Lima) love their city. And what’s not to like? Bohemian neighborhoods that once housed Peruvian writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa are perched on rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, spring like weather occurs all year around, and welcoming locals will quickly become your best friend. Ultimately, when it comes to singing Lima’s praises, it’s all about the food. Spicy, fresh, organic and raw, Lima’s cuisine is one of the best in the world. It’s gastronomy is a synthesis of everything that is Peru; it takes its ingredients from the Amazon jungle, the high Andes and the Pacific, blending it together with Peru’s multi ethnic make up. The largest number of Asians in Latin America reside in Peru, adding to the flavor of many dishes; Afro-Peruvians, Quechua and Aymara natives, Spanish, Italian and Germans have contributed as well. If you come for one thing, come for the food. 

Most tourists give Lima a day, maybe two. They see the somewhat uninspiring streets of Miraflores and then they leave, claiming that Lima ‘isn’t that interesting’ or ‘it’s just a big city’. But that’s their loss. Lima is hot, chaotic and in your face, but it’s also beautiful, cosmopolitan and incredibly diverse. Skipping Lima for the tourist shops of Cusco or the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu would be to miss arguably the most important part of the country; it would be missing Peru at its most sophisticated, contemporary and progressive. While Cusco and Machu Picchu look towards Peru’s past, Lima looks towards its future.

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

From Lima to Rio: The Transoceanic Highway (Pictures)

These are series of photographs from my journey on a section of the Transoceanic Highway from Lima to Brazil.  All told I traveled for 58 hours straight and covering over 1,300 miles of land. The highway, which spans three time zones, and is the first to cross all of South America, is being called one of the biggest projects since the construction of the Panama Canal. The highway itself has raised Peru’s GDP by 1.5% every year. However, the construction of the highway has its set backs as well. Peru’s once remote section of the Amazon was once 5 to 7 days away from Cusco by truck, now the trip takes less than 9 hours. Illegal gold mining and logging has increased exponentially in the last 5 years since the highway opened. Residents in Puerto Maldonado, a dusty, boom town, expressed their concern about the highway. 

I asked Malena, a women who working at the Tarapoto Hostel how the highway has changed the town. “It hasn’t brought more jobs, it’s actually taken them away,” she replied. “Miners and other people like that just come here, take everything away, and distort the nature we have here,” Malena added. “The highway has also brought in a lot more delinquency and crime.”

The impact of the highway is being felt especially hard in the remote regions of the Amazon where 15 tribes have been displaced. The Highway now runs through the heart of their homeland, bringing diseases and disrupting wildlife. The Amazon, one of the worlds great ecosystems, is still as rich and plentiful, but for how much longer will it remain this way?

10582904_10152710407396469_4292822206649074376_oBorn and raised in San Francisco, Walker then majored in International Relations and Chinese at the New School University in NYC. He began traveling during a high school exchange to Argentina, and hasn’t stopped since. Walker has always sought out the more unusual and off the beaten path locations and is combining his love for photography and travel to kickstart a career as a journalist, striving to redefine the profession in rapidly changing world.

Pan Pipes and Ping Pong

Sampling a Traditional Peruvian Meal

by Nick Neumann 


LIMA, PERU

We met a friendly Limeña while watching the 49ers game at an American sports bar in Lima’s upscale neighborhood of Miraflores. After chatting for a while, Yirka invited us over to her house on the weekend for a traditional Peruvian lunch. So on Saturday morning we met at her house in the outskirts of Lima and headed off to the local market to buy ingredients for Papa a la Huancaína, while grandma prepared the cuy (guinea pig).

Lima Lunch 6 We started off by buying Queso fresco, yellow pepper for the Huancaína sauce and lots of potatoes, of course, followed by onions, tomatoes, and avocados for the salad.  Produce in Lima is always extremely fresh and delicious, grown on small family farms in the highlands or in the jungle. There were many jungle fruits that neither of us had ever tried before. The friendly fruit vender let us sample a grenadine (a delicious, sweet passionfruit), a dragon fruit and a juicy golden pineapple.

IMG_7214After a quick juice break, we took a detour to the shamanistic section of the market. There are lots of weird things for sale in this part, including dried llama fetuses, dead frogs and snakes, hallucinogenic cacti and piles of coca leaves. The llama fetuses are buried under the foundations of many Peruvian houses as a sacred offering to the goddess Pachamama. 

IMG_7374We arrived back at the house and Yirka began preparing the Huancaína sauce and cooking the potatoes. Although the dishes name is derived from Huancayo, a city in the Peruvian highlands, it has become a staple throughout the country. 
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 The cuy, a traditional food of Peruvian Andean people, was in the oven. Grandma had prepared it simply with a stuffing of various Andean herbs and put it in the oven for about six hours. There isn’t much meat on their tiny bones, and their giant buck teeth are a bit off putting, but they are pretty tasty.
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After thoroughly enjoying lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon playing the pan pipes and ping pong with her family.

nick2 copyGrowing up in downtown San Francisco surrounded by tourists, hobos and crackheads gave Nick a unique perspective on inner city living. His diverse upbringing conditioned him for a globetrotting life of urban adventure. After traveling extensively through South Asia, he kicked it with Maasai warriors during a four month stay in Tanzania, majored in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and recently spent seven months backpacking around South America making documentaries.

Tanzania’s Water Crisis (Video)

Katuma: River of Contradiction

Tanzania’s Water Crisis is caused by a convoluted mix of corruption and climate change, and heighten by competition between an exploding population and the dwindling wildlife.

Directed, filmed, and edited by Nick Neumann



In Tanzania water is not just a basic human need, it is a most vital resource that permeates every facet of society. Water ties people, communities, industry and wildlife together within a complex interconnected network. More than any other resource it determines the livelihood and well being of families, villages and entire regions; as such the inextricable link between water access and poverty is more visible here than almost anywhere else in the world. The relationship is complex, but at the same time simple tounderstand, boiling down to the fact that access to adequate amounts of clean water is essential for maintaining good health and access to water for agriculture is essential for food production.

In recent years in Mpanda, Tanzania access to water has actually been decreasing despite decades of national and international efforts to improve it. This can be attributed to various human factors and environmental changes. As Mpanda’s population continues to increase and investment into water infrastructure remains minimal at best, it appears as if the situation will only get worse.

This will have devastating ramifications for the majority of Mpanda residents who rely on crop production to support their family. It is also bad news for the women and children who already spend many hours each day collecting water for use in the home. Water collection and water born diseases contribute greatly to the loss of manpower on the farm and children unwillingly forgoing their education.

Furthermore, diminishing water levels could also spell a sharp decline in tourists, and the money they inject into the local economy. The fatal effects on the wildlife in neighboring Katavi National Park are clear to see, especially in the declining population of hippos, the key attraction of the park.

Poverty can be a result of political instability and ethnic conflict, but in peaceful Tanzania the greatest cause of poverty is the lack of access to water. This video follows the Katuma River,  the lifeline of the region, from its source along downstream past Mpanda town to the entrance of Katavi National Park. It explores the dynamic role of water in Tanzanian society with regard to poverty through interviews with villagers, officials and experts that were conducted while studying abroad with the School of International Training. Ultimately, I hope to draw attention to the importance of water in the development of societies and garner support to a region that desperately needs it.

nick2 copyGrowing up in downtown San Francisco surrounded by tourists, the homeless and crackheads gave Nick a unique perspective on inner city living. His diverse upbringing conditioned him for a globetrotting life of urban adventure. After traveling extensively through South Asia, he kicked it with Maasai warriors during a four month stay in Tanzania, majored in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College and recently spent seven months backpacking around South America producing documentaries.
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