I have often said that the day I started biking in Toronto was the day I fell in love with the city.
This has held true for pretty much every city I have visited and subsequently explored on two wheels. Lima was no exception.
I had low expectations for Lima. When researching for the trip I never came across anyone who has really sung its praises. Not wanting to miss out on a chance to explore the city for ourselves, but with a jam-packed itinerary ahead of us, we heeded the advice of a friend who had lived in Lima several months prior and sought out Jose, bike-tour operator extraordinaire.
I am a big believer that biking tours are the best way to make the most out of a few precious days in a new city. They can offer up the same dose of fun facts and historical tidbits as a walking tour, but while covering more ground in less time and in a way that feels more connected to the pulse of the city. Not on a tight schedule? Hop on a bike tour early during your stay in order to get a sense of places you might like to re-visit and explore further. Many a favourite sight, meal, or watering hole has been either spotted a la bike-tour or recommended by our trusty guide.
Jose did not disappoint. His demeanor matched the vibrant blue and orange exterior of his bike shop, and we felt at home as soon as we walked in the door. The bike shop was located in the heart of Miraflores, Lima’s posh beachfront neighborhood, only a few blocks from our hostel. We hopped on our bikes and took off to explore the city.
First stop was Barranco, Lima’s artistic cliff top community that boasts stunning views the Pacific coast (even through the veil of clouds that had settled over the city for the day).
We paid a visit to El Parque del Amor, designed by Victor Delfin as a place for citizens to come celebrate their love. The mosaic-tiled walls bearing romatic quotes reminded me of Antoni Gaudi’s Parc Güell, but the larger than life statue of two lovers making out was unlike anything I had ever seen.
We stopped for lunch at Piselli, a cute little bar, sharing sandwiches and Inca Cola (tastes kind of like crème soda), before heading farther down the coast towards Chorrillos to take in cliff side views of the bay.
Later that night, we went on the hunt for cerviche, the popular South American lime-cured seafood dish we had heard so much about. We were disappointed to learn that we were too late – cerviche is typically served at brunch or lunch while the morning’s catch is freshest. We opted instead to try lomo saltado, a savory beef stir fry-like dish that turned out to be my favourite. To top things off, we indulged in our first pisco sour of the trip, quickly realizing why Jose had cautioned us, “only one…only ever one pisco sour…”
The perfect end to a perfect day of exploring!
PS. Nobody is too cool for a helmet…or sunscreen. Wear it.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR THE WANDERING SOUL
Jose’s bike tours can be found here. We did the Lima ‘Bay Tour’, which costs 75 sols (approx. $28 CND) and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
We stayed in Pariwana hostel and booked through the trusty Hostelworld.com. Situated in the heart of Miraflores, this is a great place to meet other young travelers on the backpacker trail while getting your Pisco Sour-induced party on. Quiet, it is not.
Arriving at the Lima airport can be chaotic, and we were wary of who we accepted a ride from.The 35 minutes taxi ride from Lima to Miraflores cost us around 40-50 sols (15-18 CND). We were cautious to only go with registered taxi companies (such as Green Taxi, identified by their green sign). Outside the airport limits you can find a ride for much cheaper (~25 sols) but at a higher risk for theft.
What’s your favourite city to explore on two wheels?
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