By Emily Jump, Crooked Trails South America Programs Director
Everyone who comes to Peru flies through Lima, and most visitors are in a rush to head straight to Cusco. When planning a trip, I always encourage our travelers to slow down and take a day or two to explore Lima, Peru’s sprawling capital by the sea. Lima is a place full of chaos and contradictions, a place where you’ll find a fantastic old Republican-era mansion right next door to a gleaming, modern high rise that would look right at home in Miami. Lima offers the chance to put your finger on the pulse of modern Peru and experience the seductive mix of old and new in this bustling metropolis.
Because it can be a bit overwhelming at first, we look for ways to make Lima feel more approachable, especially for travelers getting their bearings after a long flight. If you’ve met Jorge Riveros, you know he’s the guy to talk to about Lima, and all things Peru. He makes a stroll through his neighborhood of Barranco feel like you’re on a walk in your own hometown – every few steps, he greets a friend or acquaintance. With Jorge, you get to go straight from feeling like an outsider in big city Lima to being one of the locals in little Barranco.
Lucky for us, Jorge has begun putting his knowledge of the neighborhood to work in a remarkable way, combining his love of Peruvian food with his special insight into Barranco. Over the course of five hours, we had the opportunity to dine at several huariques, small restaurants that specialize in home-style Peruvian cooking. Just as no two huariques are the same, each tour Jorge guides is uniquely tailored to the tastes of its participants. Joined by two Crooked Trails travelers, we visited a string of restaurants you won’t find in any guidebook over the course of a lazy and delicious afternoon.
These are the places the residents of Barranco know and love, and return to for comfort dishes like crab soup or roasted rabbit. Short of having your own Peruvian grandmother to make you warm soup on a chilly day, it does not get any more genuine than this. Plenty of Peruvians seem to agree, and in most restaurants, we were the only out-of-towners in sight.
Each dish and drink was magnificent, but the best part about this moveable feast was that, through the slow progression of our day, we got to share so much more than food. The secret spice to this experience is the pleasure of sharing in conversation as hearty as each dish. As our time together unfolded, with the help of a sip of pisco here and a glass of cold beer there, we got to know each other as friends. As we finished up our day with a dish of fresh gelato, I felt relaxed and happy, and ready to discover what else Peru had in store for me.
Get in touch with Emily for all the delicious details and tips to savor Peru on your next trip!
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