Quito: The Colonial Heart of the Andes (Pictures)

The colonial heart of Quito Ecuador may be the most impressive concentration of historical buildings in the entire Western Hemisphere. Nestled between the snowcapped Andes, hundreds of years of history are packed into the narrow cobblestoned streets, the chaotic plazas and the aging churches of this Latin gem. The old town contains enough sights to occupy a few weeks of your time, but the real joy of Quito is to simply wander and let the city guide you. Stop for a canelazo, a warm cinnamon and citrus alcoholic drink, somewhere along a cobble stoned back alley, or sit in the numerous plazas and just watch 500 years of Ecuadorian life pass you by. Markedly more developed than most South American capital cities, Quito provides to perfect mix of history, Latin grit and international sophistication. Besides being a fascinating city unto itself, Quito provides a perfect base for exploring the pint sized Ecuador.

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.

Camping in Southern Chile (Pictures)

Southern Chile is simply stunning. Nestled between the snowcapped volcanos and the Pacific Ocean, this region of South America is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. One of the best places to appreciate what this region has to offer is the El Cañi Sanctuary, a 1,500 acre reserve containing some of the oldest trees in the world, as well as spectacular trekking with views of the surrounding volcanoes. We spent three days camping and trekking here, sleeping under the night skies and appreciating the best of nature.

 

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.

Santiago, Chile (Pictures)

By Walker Dawson

Santiago has come a long way in the last 25 years. It was once considered a rather drab, conservative city, known more for its dictatorial oppression and smog than anything else. Today, however, the Chilean capital is in the midst of a renaissance. On sunny summer afternoons, Santiago’s parks attract musicians, joggers, painters, and tourists.

Santiago is a city of diverse neighborhoods. There is Barrio Brasil and Barrio Yungay, two bohemian neighborhoods west of downtown where improv Salsa classes take place on the art covered streets. East of downtown is Barrio Lastarria, an upscale neighborhood full of narrow streets, small apartments, classy restaurants and bars and a magnificent hill, Cerro Santa Lucia, will views of downtown. And the list of incredible neighborhoods keeps going on, from artsy and gritty to historical and low key, Santiago has it all.

Most residents of Santiago are shocked when a foreigner actually likes their city (local opinion is that Santiago is a necessary evil, a place you must come to make money, but not a place to enjoy). With easy weekend trips to the Pacific or the snowcapped Andes, it’s easy to see why Santiago is becoming one of Latin America’s hottest cities.

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.

 

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.

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.

The Definitive Guide to the Road Less Traveled

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