My husband (Steve), son (Justin), and I recently went on vacation to Peru. We’ve traveled quite a bit with our son and on our own, and I have to say that Peru was the country that surprised me the most. The people were so friendly, the food was amazing, and the scenery was breathtaking.
I cannot begin to describe the feeling of seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. Since we went with a toddler, we had to skip a few things, so I am already looking forward to going back to get to what I missed.
Since we have taken my son on quite a few trips and flights, I’ll write a post on flying with babies and toddlers later.
We flew into Lima on a red eye and arrived Monday morning. We were lucky to arrive on a national holiday, so we did not have to experience the traffic. Apparently, it can be quite the trek to get across the city!
We stayed in the Miraflores district in Lima at the Sonesta Posada del Inca Hotel. The service at this hotel was wonderful. Breakfast was included. We were also in walking distance from parks, restaurants, shops, and cafes. The Miraflores district is one of the more upscale and affluent areas of Miraflores.
The first morning we arrived, we tried to rest in the hotel. A red eye flight is tough! Our son managed to sleep for most of it, but for my husband and I, the sleep we got was not quality! We were exhausted, to say the least. Alas, Justin was ready to go! We spent the morning in Kennedy Park, where there was a lovely playground and open space for Justin to get some energy out. There were artists selling paintings in the park and feral cats wandering around.
We also stopped at a local grocery market to pick up a few liters of bottled water. This is important for tourists to know: the water can make you sick. My coworker is Peruvian and told me to use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, washing sippy cups, and anything else that could result in getting sick! We even went so far as to stay away from uncooked vegetable and anything with ice. We were extra careful and were (mostly) unscathed.
After getting a midday nap in the hotel, we ventured out to Larcomar, the largest mall in Lima. It is right on the water and offers unmatched views of the Pacific Ocean. Paragliders were zooming overhead, much to my son’s delight. Since it was a holiday, the restaurants were very crowded, but we decided to try the famous rotisserie chicken at Pardo’s Chicken. It did not disappoint! The chicken is juicy and delicious and the service was excellent!
After walking around the mall a bit more, we headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest.
The next day, we had a full day on our own in Lima. We took a taxi to Museo Larco and saw their impressive collection of Pre-Incan artifacts. As a knitter and spinner, I was amazed to see the cotton, alpaca, and vicuna textiles that survived for hundreds of years! The museum’s cafe was also a delicious surprise. Since we arrived quite early, they only had sandwiches available, but the Criollo Sandwich was one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a long time!
After the museum, we called a taxi to take us to the Monastery of San Francisco. The Monastery contains catacombs, a library, and museum. The church and convent are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The library contained 25,000 volumes. The catacombs are the burial place of approximately 25,000 people. The bones are arranged in geometric figures.
To view the church, library, catacombs, and other areas of the monastery, you need to take a tour. My husband and I did not want to subject our son to an hour of standing around and listening to a guide, and we did not want to subject the other tourists to a restless toddler, so we took the tour separately while the other stayed in the lobby and waited. Justin also enjoyed to run around with the hundreds of pigeons in the church courtyard.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the historic section of Lima. We walked by the Government Palace, walked through Plaza Mayor, and saw some of the other historical buildings, before taking a taxi back to the hotel.
For dinner we ate at a lovely restaurant named Saqra. The Steak au Molle Pepper was delicious and cooked perfectly. And a trip to Peru is not complete without trying a Pisco Sour! And definitely save room for the chocolate truffles with banana creme brulee!
We had to fly out early the next morning so we called it a night!
To see part 2 of our trip, visit Peru – Part 2 – Cusco and the Sacred Valley